It's easy to think of a cosmetic dentist as someone who fixes cosmetic problems with your teeth – like chips, cracks, or stains – rather than as someone who prevents cosmetic problems from happening in the first place. But the truth is that taking your child to a cosmetic dentist early on can help ensure that their smile never needs to be fixed in the first place. Take a look at a few ways that your cosmetic dentist can help preserve your child's smile for the future.
Seal the Molars
One important thing that a cosmetic dentist can do for your child is seal their permanent molars when they come in. Children get their first set of permanent molars between the ages of five and seven years old, and their second set of permanent molars between the ages of 11 and 14. Molars are in the back and harder to brush and floss than front teeth – especially for children – and therefore need extra protection. Your cosmetic dentist may also recommend sealing front teeth if they have pits and grooves that indicate that they also need more protection.
To seal teeth, the dentist will clean and dry them and cover them with a thin plastic coating that will last for several years. This prevents germs from attacking those teeth and reduces the chances of decay. It will also keep decay from spreading if a sealed tooth already has a small cavity.
Get Tooth Alignment Checked
Currently, the American Association of Orthodontists recommend that children see an orthodontist for the first time around age seven. While not every child needs braces, early intervention can be very beneficial for children who have serious alignment issues, like a severe underbite. Getting orthodontic treatment early could help your child avoid surgery later. Even if no orthodontic treatment is needed, this is a good age to begin monitoring less severe alignment problems so that they can be dealt with at the proper time.
As straight teeth are partially a cosmetic issue, many cosmetic dentists provide orthodontic treatments as well as other types of dental treatments. Often, cosmetic dentists can offer orthodontic solutions like removable clear braces that are preferable for children who are self-conscious about the idea of metal braces.
Protect Teeth During Sports
Another thing a cosmetic dentist can do to help protect your child's teeth is to make them a custom mouth guard to use while participating in sports. If your child is active in sports – especially contact sports – they're at great risk of breaking or chipping a tooth while playing.
You can purchase mouth guards at sporting goods stores, but your child will get a better fit and more comfort if a cosmetic dentist designs a mouth guard specifically to fit your child's teeth. Furthermore, if your child has braces or wears another type of orthodontic device regularly, a customized mouth guard can be designed to fit comfortably around them.
Protecting your child's teeth now will have a big payoff later on. You'll save money on more extensive work later, and your child won't have to deal with the expense and inconvenience of fixing decay, misalignment, or damage as an adult. Talk to a cosmetic dentist in your area about ways to ensure that your child's smile stays healthy and whole.