Dental Topics

Boy with Green Shirt - Pediatric Dentists in Lafayette, LA

For more information concerning pediatric dentistry, please visit the website for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

What Is A Pediatric Dentist?

The pediatric dentist has an extra two to three years of specialized training after dental school, and is dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy through the teenage years. The very young, pre-teens, and teenagers all need different approaches in dealing with their behavior, guiding their dental growth and development, and helping them avoid future dental problems. The pediatric dentist is best qualified to meet these needs.

Why Are The Primary Teeth Important?

It is very important to maintain the health of the primary teeth. Neglected cavities can and frequently do lead to problems which affect developing permanent teeth. Primary teeth, or baby teeth are important for (1) proper chewing and eating, (2) providing space for the permanent teeth and guiding them into the correct position, and (3) permitting normal development of the jaw bones and muscles. Primary teeth also affect the development of speech and add to an attractive appearance. While the front 4 teeth last until 6-7 years of age, the back teeth (cuspids and molars) aren’t replaced until age 10-13.


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Dental Emergencies

For any dental emergency, contact us! Our phones are answered 24 hours a day.
(337) 981-9242

Pediatric Dentist - Dental EmergenciesToothache: Clean the area of the affected tooth. Rinse the mouth thoroughly with warm water or use dental floss to dislodge any food that may be impacted. If the pain still exists, contact Dr. Keaty or Dr. Gouri. Do not place aspirin or heat on the gum or on the aching tooth. If the face is swollen, apply cold compresses and contact Dr. Keaty or Dr. Gouri immediately.

Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek: Apply ice to injured areas to help control swelling. If there is bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure with a gauze or cloth. If bleeding cannot be controlled by simple pressure, call a doctor or visit the hospital emergency room.

Knocked Out Permanent Tooth: If possible, find the tooth. Handle it by the crown, not by the root. You may rinse the tooth with water only. DO NOT clean with soap, scrub or handle the tooth unnecessarily. Inspect the tooth for fractures. If it is sound, try to reinsert it in the socket. Have the patient hold the tooth in place by biting on a gauze. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, transport the tooth in a cup containing the patient’s saliva or milk. If the patient is old enough, the tooth may also be carried in the patient’s mouth (beside the cheek). The patient must see a dentist IMMEDIATELY! Time is a critical factor in saving the tooth.

Knocked Out Baby Tooth: Contact Dr. Keaty or Dr. Gouri during business hours. This is not usually an emergency, and in most cases, no treatment is necessary.

Chipped or Fractured Permanent Tooth: Contact Dr. Keaty or Dr. Gouri immediately. Quick action can save the tooth, prevent infection and reduce the need for extensive dental treatment. Rinse the mouth with water and apply cold compresses to reduce swelling. If possible, locate and save any broken tooth fragments and bring them with you to the dentist.

Chipped or Fractured Baby Tooth: Contact Dr. Keaty or Dr. Gouri.

Severe Blow to the Head: Take your child to the nearest hospital emergency room immediately.

Possible Broken or Fractured Jaw: Keep the jaw from moving and take your child to the nearest hospital emergency room.

Dental Radiographs (X-Rays)

Radiographs (X-Rays) are a vital and necessary part of your child’s dental diagnostic process.

Pediatric Dentist - Dental Radiographs (X-Rays)

Radiographs detect much more than cavities. For example, radiographs may be needed to survey erupting teeth, diagnose bone diseases, evaluate the results of an injury, or plan orthodontic treatment. Radiographs allow dentists to diagnose and treat health conditions that cannot be detected during a clinical examination. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable for your child and more affordable for you.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends radiographs and examinations every six months for children with a high risk of tooth decay. On average, most pediatric dentists request radiographs approximately once a year. Approximately every 3 years, it is a good idea to obtain a complete set of radiographs, either a panoramic and bitewings or periapicals and bitewings.

Pediatric dentists are particularly careful to minimize the exposure of their patients to radiation. With contemporary safeguards, the amount of radiation received in a dental X-ray examination is extremely small. The risk is negligible. In fact, the dental radiographs represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem. Lead body aprons and shields will protect your child. Today’s equipment filters out unnecessary x-rays and restricts the x-ray beam to the area of interest. High-speed film and proper shielding assure that your child receives a minimal amount of radiation exposure.

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How will I know if my child will need braces?

Pediatric Dentist - Orthodontic TreatmentDrs. Keaty and Gouri will be able to closely monitor your child’s dental development and growth for any adverse patterns that would require orthodontics. Ensure that your child comes in regularly for their dental checkups, so that the doctor can refer your child to an orthodontist at the appropriate time.


Early Childhood Caries/Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Pediatric Dentist - Baby Bottle Tooth DecayA serious and common type of tooth decay among young children is “Baby bottle tooth decay” or early childhood cavities. Never put your child to bed with a bottle or sippy cup containing milk, formula, juice, or any sweetened liquid. Saliva levels in the mouth are very low during sleep, so residue leftover from food and drinks are not naturally washed away. With the exception of water, any unswallowed liquid left in the mouth at nighttime prolongs dental contact with sugars, leading to decay. At-will nighttime breast-feeding can also contribute to tooth decay. The toothbrush is the last thing that should be in your child’s mouth every night.

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Prevention

Practice Proper Oral Hygiene

As soon as your child’s teeth erupt, start brushing them with a wet, soft-bristled toothbrush. Drs. Keaty and Gouri understand that it is often no easy task to brush your child’s teeth. For young children, it is best to position your child’s head in your lap while brushing, which can help you better visualize all of the teeth and have more control if your child is resistant. For older children, parents should supervise or help their kids brush their teeth until the age of 8, to ensure it is done correctly. Children’s teeth should be brushed at least twice daily: once in the morning and once at night, right before bedtime. Children’s teeth should be flossed at least once a day, starting as soon as the spaces between their back teeth close (typically around age 3). Use a tiny “smear” of fluoridated toothpaste on your young child’s toothbrush. When they are old enough to spit out the toothpaste, a pea-sized amount may be used.

A Healthy Diet Leads to Healthy Teeth

Sugars and starches feed oral bacteria, which then produce acid that attacks tooth enamel, causing tooth decay. Repeated exposure to starchy foods, sweets, and sugary beverages like sports drinks, sodas, and juice (even 100% juice that has no added sugar), can therefore put your child at high risk for cavities. It is common to see children feeding from a bag of cereal and sipping from a cup of juice multiple times a day, increasing their overall exposure to sugars. These types of foods should be very limited, and not consumed with frequency. Children should instead drink plain milk (during the day) or water (day or night), and opt for healthy snack foods such as cheese, whole fruit, and yogurt for routine snacking.

Protect your Child’s Teeth from Injury

When a child begins to participate in recreational activities and organized sports, a properly fitted mouth guard is highly recommended. Mouth guards are important components of protective athletic gear, and help prevent injuries to the teeth and jaw that might cause them to become fracture or displacement.

Regular Checkups with a Pediatric Dentist are Very Important

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends visits to the pediatric dentist every 6 months, starting with their first birthday. Routine visits will start your child on a lifetime of good dental health. Drs. Keaty and Gouri take pride in practicing preventive dentistry, which includes dental sealants, fluoride treatments, cavity-risk assessments, and a whole a host of programs that can further protect your child’s smile from oral disease.

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