Your Pediatric Dentist in Stockton, California
Gentle & Caring Pediatric Dentistry
Regular dental care for children is extremely important for setting a great foundation for a lifetime of good oral hygiene and a healthy smile. At Millennium Dental in Stockton, we provide dental care for the entire family, including infants, children, and adolescents. Dr. Lita Rodriguez focuses her dental practice on the needs of children and infants. Dr. Rodriguez strives to make these special little patients feel comfortable during their examinations and treatments.
Dr. Lita Rodriguez has been limiting her dental work to children of all ages. Dr. Rodriguez and her husband, Dr. Ramon Chicchon, established Millennium Dental in Stockton back in 2000 on West March Lane. While Dr. Chicchon sees the adults, Dr. Rodriguez enjoys making friends with her little patients and their parents while she cares for their oral health. Dr. Rodriguez is an ardent advocate for children's oral health. She helps to plan yearly initiatives such as Give Kids a Smile day with the team at the San Joaquin Dental Society.
We love our patients! Here is a picture of Dr. Lita with some of her little patients at a patient appreciation barbeque where we had some inflatable jumpers and a facepaint booth.
First Pediatric Dental Examination
Your child should have his or her first dental appointment with a pediatric dentist after the first tooth appears and before his or her first birthday. While children do lose their "baby" teeth, or primary teeth, these teeth are instrumental in helping children speak and chew properly. Additionally, these primary teeth create a path for their permanent adult teeth to follow when they erupt. Dental check-ups are also important opportunities to create a good foundation for ongoing oral hygiene and give parents the chance to ask any questions they have about a child's oral health.
The first pediatric dental visit will include scaling and polishing, fluoride treatment, a soft tissue examination, brushing and flossing instructions, a developmental examination, and nutritional counseling for maintaining good oral health.
Sealants, Fluoride, and Mouth Guards for Children
In addition to regular examinations and cleanings, Dr. Lita Rodriguez may recommend further services to protect your child's oral health. Other services provided in our Stockton office include sealants, fluoride, and mouth guards. Preventative sealants help to protect the teeth from decay. They are made of clear plastic and are applied to pits and grooves in the teeth. Before applying sealants, the tooth is cleaned and dried. Fluoride treatments are also essential to preventing tooth decay for both children and adults and are part of a regular dental examination and cleaning.
Mouth guards, "night guards," or athletic guards, may be recommended for children that constantly grind their teeth at night, clench their jaws, or are extremely active in sports. Mouth guards can protect the teeth from excessive wear and tear and can prevent severe dental trauma for kids that are highly active or athletic.
SAFE Oral Sedation
At Millennium Dental, Dr. Lita Rodriguez works with a specialized dental anesthesiologist to safely provide sedation to her pediatric patients. It is truly a team effort to ensure that this procedure is safely administered and that the children can be cared for in a timely and comfortable manner.
Pediatric Restorative Care
At Millennium Dental, we provide restorative dental services for children in addition to preventative care. Children can suffer cavities, broken teeth, or malformed teeth just like adults. Our Stockton dentist and staff are trained to provide restorative care to meet the specific needs of children while helping them to remain calm and comfortable.
This is a picture of Dr. Lita Rodriguez and her daughter, Andrea, teaching children the importance of oral health in a preschool outreach session in Stockton.
Keeping your Child's Teeth Clean and Healthy
Here are a few tips for brushing your child's teeth. Also, here is a fun little video nursery rhyme about brushing teeth for little children. Making brushing teeth fun can help your children to be excited about keeping their teeth clean!
Frequently Asked Questions about Pediatric Dentistry in Stockton, California:
Q:What is the best thing to use to clean my baby's teeth?
A: A soft bristled toothbrush (a brush specially made for infants is best) should be used at least once per day. It is especially important to brush right before bedtime.
Q: At what age should I first take my baby to the dentist?
A: It is best to bring your baby to a pediatric dentist as soon as you first see a tooth in your baby's mouth, or by their first birthday. (Whichever comes first)
Q: Are baby teeth really that important?
A: Baby teeth are important, not only for chewing, but they also help "set the stage" for your child's permanent teeth. This is why it is important to go to a pediatric dentist and keep your child's teeth well taken care of.
Q: How often should I take my child to see the pediatric dentist?
A: It is best to take your child every six months for regular check-ups. However, your dentist might recommend a more regular schedule if your child has any special dental needs or issues.
Q: What are sealants and how do they work?
A: Sealants are a filling material that is used to fill little crevices in your child's teeth. This can help to prevent bacteria from lodging in these crevices and causing cavities. The procedure is very simple and non-invasive.
Q: What are baby bottle cavities?
A: One aspect of pediatric dentistry that often shocks the parents of infants and very young children is the prevalence of cavities at such an early age. Childhood carries, often known as baby bottle or nursing cavities, are actually quite common amongst small children. The main cause of baby bottle cavities is, unfortunately, a very common occurrence: putting young children or babies to bed with a bottle filled with milk or juice.
When a child takes a bottle to bed, the liquid inside stays on his or her teeth, feeding the bacteria that naturally occurs in every person's mouth. These bacteria produce plaque, which then leads to decay. Common signs that a baby might be experiencing tooth decay or dental pain may include mealtime crying, trouble falling asleep, and abnormal crying when the child wakes up. In most cases, baby bottle cavities can be removed with a thorough professional cleaning. In some cases, when the cavities have progressed too far, a crown, filling, or even tooth extraction may be necessary, so if parents suspect these cavities are present they should consult a pediatric dentist as soon as possible.
The best way to prevent baby bottle or nursing cavities is to start preventive care and a good oral hygiene routine at an early age. Of course, it is best not to put children to bed with a bottle, but this can be a difficult habit to break. If your child needs a bottle to fall asleep, try substituting water or a non-sweetened beverage for milk or juice. Otherwise, a pacifier is fine to use for small children and babies. Another simple way to avoid baby bottle or nursing cavities is to ensure that your child's teeth and gums are clean. For infants, it is sufficient to gently cleanse the gums with a damp cloth. When your child's first teeth emerge, you should brush them gently with a baby sized toothbrush. For more information about nursing cavities and how to prevent them, contact your pediatric dentist.
Q: My child sucks their thumb. Should I worry about it?
A: Thumb sucking is a very normal natural action that is, for the most part, harmless to young children. Sucking is the first coordinated muscular action that babies learn-many babies even begin sucking their thumbs in the womb. Sucking helps to strengthen the muscles that allow a baby to eat.
More than 80 percent of babies and infants suck their thumbs, and this is perfectly healthy, even when baby teeth start to emerge. The damage is done when the child is over the age of four. When an older toddler or young child sucks his or her thumb, it can actually alter the shape of his or her jawbone or the roof of his mouth. This can lead to upper front teeth that protrude, lower teeth that tilt inward, or a cross bite. These problems do not occur with baby teeth, but only when the child's permanent teeth start to develop.
Your child sucks his thumb as a way to comfort, relax, or entertain himself. How do you get him to stop? The best way to get a little one to stop sucking his thumb is to offer a reward system for positive behavior. Figure out why he sucks, then provide a new item to replace the habit. For example, if your child sucks his thumb to comfort himself, see whether a stuffed animal or special blanket will present a suitable replacement. Some parents need to take more extreme steps, and put their children in mittens to prevent unconscious nighttime thumb sucking.
Only you know your child and what will work with him. The key to stopping the sucking is positive reinforcement, not scolding, shame, or stress. This is a difficult habit for kids and parents to break, but the benefit of a beautiful, healthy smile is well worth the work.
If you are looking for a pediatric dentist in Stockton, we would love to answer any questions you may have. Give us a call at 209.952.3951 to schedule an appointment for your child today. Hope to see you soon!