For the first time in forty years, the CDC has reported a significant increase in the number of preschoolers with cavities. And we’re not talking about one or two cavities – we’re speaking of extensive decay of children’s baby teeth. Nationwide, dentists are reporting that they are seeing more and more children with six to 10 cavities or more! Often children require sedation (or anxiolysis) medication because they are either too young and incapable of sitting still for the required amount of time it takes to complete the fillings or may have a pre-existing condition such as autism or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. So it is not uncommon to use oral sedation (in the form of a pill or syrup) or nitrous oxide on kids who are afraid or have anxiety regarding their treatment.
In a recent response to a NY Times article, Preschoolers in Surgery for a Mouthful of Cavities , President Fern Ingber of the National Children’s Oral Health Foundation indicated the need for cooperation from both “families and communities in positive oral health activities.” Dr. Ingber was also quick to note that rampant dental disease affects the entire community. There seems to be multiple reasons for this unexpected increase in tooth decay in children after decades of decline, but all the theories involve an increase in both the amount and frequency of processed sugar in our kid’s diets.
Here in Michigan, in our daily practice at Mark W Langberg, DDS, MAGD, PC, we inform and educate both young children and their parents on the importance and the “how to” of good oral health. From two months to eighteen years of age, it is so important that every young patient gets the dental care they need for a long healthy life. And typically, if we can get the child to age 18 without having to do fillings by making wise diet decisions, good oral hygiene including flossing by the parents, topical fluorides and sealants, it is likely that they will not experience the need for crowns, root canals and restorative dentistry for the remainder of their lives! This is a huge savings in time, hassle and especially money over the course of a lifetime. And for those children who get decay and have dental anxiety, fear or other conditions that negatively impact their treatment, we always have the option to use pharmacology in the form of sedation or “anxiolysis” or referral to a pedodontist (a dentist who has advanced training and specializes in the treatment of children) to make the best care possible available to them.
The light sedation or anxiolysis dentistry option is very safe and does not put patients to sleep, but simply relaxes them without losing consciousness. We individually customize the administration of sedation/anxiolysis medications to the length of the appointment, health status and the specific needs of the child. Parents are informed beforehand and typically share in the decisions regarding the management of their child’s dental treatment. With the appropriate dosages, we can achieve safe and comfortable anxiolysis (anti-anxiety). And if needed, we are capable of making a referral to an expert competent and gentle specialist. Call our office today at 248-356-8790 and schedule an appointment for your child with one of our kind and caring hygienists and meet with me, Dr. Mark W Langberg , to discuss your child’s dental and oral health needs.
That is all for today!
Dr. Mark W. Langberg, DDS, MAGD
26206 West 12 Mile Road, Suite 303
Southfield, MI 48034