As a parent, you should be aware of all dental problems that can potentially affect your child. You should also know the early signs of dental infections and other dental problems, to be able to tell when you need to take your child to the dentist. Pediatric dentistry is a field of dentistry dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy through their teens. From the time a child first gets his or her baby teeth, they are susceptible to various dental issues. Just because your tot will eventually lose their baby teeth does not downplay the importance of proper dental care during this period, as dental problems during childhood can impact the underlying adult teeth. However, with proper guidance and care from a dentist, you can ward off your child’s dental issues. Let’s take a look at top 5 signs that your child needs immediate dental care.

1.    Toothache

A toothache can signify a variety of dental problems. However, in the case of infants, tooth decay caused by a baby bottle is a key reason for a toothache. It happens when the baby’s teeth are in continuous contact with sugars from baby food, fruit juice, and milk, resulting in the formation of bacteria in the mouth.

2.    Swollen Gums & White Spots

Bleeding or swollen gums is a red flag that your tot could have a case of gum disease. Excess plaque in the mouth leads to swollen gums that bleed if touched. Having healthy gums is critical. Children should learn from an early age key habits for maintaining proper oral hygiene. If your child doesn’t receive treatment for hardened plaque, it can consequently result in loss of teeth later in your child’s life, before the underlying adult teeth is ready to come out.

An appointment with the dentist should also be scheduled quickly at the earliest signs of white spots on the teeth, near the gum line. White spot lesions are one of the first visible indications of tooth decay.  Since initial tooth decay can occur without warning and advance pretty quickly, the sooner you can make the appointment, the better. Furthermore, regular dental appointments will help ward off and prevent tooth decay before it spirals out of control.

3.    Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages is a sign that your child might have a tooth cavity. The longer cavities go without getting filled, the more serious the discomfort and symptoms your child will experience.

4.    Clicking Jaw

If your child’s jaw makes a popping sound or clicks when he/she chews, this may be a sign that they need braces. Those sounds are usually an indication of jaw misalignment. In turn, this typically signifies that the child has an under bite or an overbite. A visit to a reputable dentist can assist you in determining if your child requires braces.

5.    Lip Sucking

Lip sucking is another habit that children pick up that can lead to the same problems caused by tongue thrusting, and thumb sucking, such as malocclusion, the misalignment of the teeth. However, it is important to note that malocclusion can also occur naturally as teeth develop, and could actually be the underlying cause behind your child’s lip sucking. If you see your child repeatedly lip sucking, it is instrumental to take them to a pediatric dentist, as early conditioning and counseling can help fix the malocclusion and/or assist the child in getting rid of the habit. Some signs of excessive lip sucking include swollen, irritated, and chapped lips, as well as irritated skin surrounding the lips.

You can schedule your child’s first visit to a pediatric dentist as soon as you see their first couple of teeth come in, but it should definitely be scheduled before he or she turns 2.