As a family dentist in Columbus, GA, Dr. Albert Caves treats patients of all ages, including children starting at age 3. Families in and around Columbus, Georgia appreciate the convenience of flexibility that comes with having their children treated at the same dental office they visit. We also provide additional general dentistry services in Columbus, Georgia.
According to research, the most common chronic childhood disease in America is tooth decay, affecting 50 percent of first-graders and 80 percent of 17-year-olds. Early treatment prevents problems affecting a child’s health, well-being, self-image, and overall achievement.
The National Institute of Dental & Craniofacial Research estimates that children will miss 52 million hours of school each year due to oral health problems and about 12.5 million days of restricted activity every year from dental symptoms. Because there is such a significant loss in their academic performance, the Surgeon General has made children’s oral health a priority.
Parents and guardians are the keys to optimal pediatric dental health. Setting good examples at home and teaching habits early is important to long-term oral health. Establishing a routine that includes daily brushing and flossing and regular visits to the dentist.
The American Dental Hygiene Association states that a good oral hygiene routine for children includes:
Thoroughly cleaning your infant’s gums after each feeding with a water-soaked infant cloth. This stimulates the gum tissue and removes food.
Gently brush your baby’s erupted teeth with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and use a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
Teach your child at age 2 or 3 about proper brushing techniques and later teach them brushing and gentle flossing until 7 or 8 years old.
Regular visits with their dentist to check for cavities in the primary teeth and for possible developmental problems.
Encouraging your child to discuss any fears they may have about oral health visits, but not mentioning words like “pain” or “hurt,” since this may instill the possibility of pain in the child’s thought process.
Determining if the water supply that serves your home is fluoridated; if not, discuss supplement options with your pediatric dentist or hygienist.
Ask your hygienist or dentist about sealant applications to protect your child’s teeth-chewing surfaces and about bottle tooth decay, which occurs when teeth are frequently exposed to sugared liquids.
"Warm, welcoming, friendly...these are the words that come to mind when I think of Dr. Caves' office because this is how you are greeted as soon as you walk in the door. The office staff is absolutely wonderful. Dr. Caves is kind, professional and actually cares about his patients and the quality of care he provides them. It is so wonderful to feel that way when you're going to the dentist. Thank You to all of you and God Bless You!"Beatrice Columbus, GA
"I am especially appreciative of his high level of satisfaction and genuine care. Each time I am in the office, whether it be for a routine cleaning or a more serious matter, I am treated with kindness and priority. Dr. Caves is attentive and makes sure that I am comfortable and knowledgeable about my visit. So, to Dr. Caves and his friendly staff - thank you!"Rachel Columbus, GA
Children's Dentistry What to Expect
Dr. Caves treats all members of the family. We encourage parents to bring their children to the dentist early so that they can become familiar with the office. Our staff is trained to work with children and make them feel as comfortable as possible. Children look to parents for signs, so remaining calm and relaxed is the best thing you can do for your child.
Treatment for Pediatric Dental Concerns
The teeth, bones, and soft tissue of the mouth require a healthy, well-balanced diet. Various foods from the five food groups help minimize (and avoid) cavities and other dental problems. Most snacks that children eat cause cavities, so children should only receive healthy foods like vegetables, low-fat yogurt, and cheeses, which promote strong teeth.
Misaligned Teeth and Orthodontic Treatment
As children become teenagers, there may be orthodontic concerns. Very few smiles are naturally “straight,” and orthodontic treatment in adolescents is very common. We refer patients to Dr. Caves’ father, Dr. Sammy Caves, who has practiced orthodontics for over 25 years.
One of the best things a parent can do to prevent their child’s teeth is to insist on wearing a mouthguard during sports. Dr. Caves can custom-make a sports mouthguard that will fit comfortably and safely inside the mouth and prevent damaged or knocked-out teeth.
The third molars, or wisdom teeth, usually appear during the teenage years into the early twenties. These teeth are often painful and can cause problems with alignment if they do not have space to come in. Dr. Caves performs wisdom teeth removal.
Dental Care for Infants and Toddlers
Normally, the first tooth erupts between ages 6 to 12 months. Gums are sore, tender, and sometimes irritable until the age of 3. Rubbing sore gums gently with a clean finger, the back of a cold spoon, or a cold, wet cloth helps soothe the gums. Teething rings work well, but avoid teething biscuits—they contain sugar that is not good for baby teeth.
Infant’s New Teeth
The primary or “baby” teeth play a crucial role in dental development. Without them, a child cannot chew food properly and has difficulty speaking clearly. Primary teeth are vital to the development of the jaws and for guiding the permanent (secondary) teeth into place when they replace the primary teeth around age 6.
Since primary teeth guide the permanent teeth into place, infants with missing primary teeth or infants who prematurely lose primary teeth may require a space maintainer, a device used to hold the natural space open.
Without a maintainer, the teeth can tilt toward the empty space and cause permanent teeth to come in crooked. Missing teeth should always be mentioned to your family dentist. How your child cares for his/her primary teeth plays a critical role in how he/she treats permanent teeth.
Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Tooth decay in infants can be minimized or totally prevented by not allowing sleeping infants to breast or bottle-feed. Infants that need a bottle to comfortably fall asleep should be given a water-filled bottle or a pacifier. Our office is dedicated to fighting baby bottle tooth decay. Let us know if you notice any signs of decay or anything unusual in your child’s mouth.
Sucking is a natural reflex that relaxes and comforts babies and toddlers. Children usually cease thumb-sucking when the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. Typically, children stop between the ages of 2 and 4 years. Thumb sucking that persists beyond the eruption of primary teeth can cause improper growth of the mouth and misalignment of the teeth.
Some ways to help your child outgrow thumb sucking:
Don’t scold a child when they exhibit thumb-sucking behavior; instead, praise them when they don’t thumb-suck.
Focus on eliminating the cause of anxiety—thumb sucking is a comfort device that helps children cope with stress or discomfort.
Praise them when they refrain from the habit during difficult periods.
Place a bandage on the thumb or a sock on their hand at night.
Why choose Albert Caves DMD?
Dr. Albert Caves has served patients and families in the greater Columbus, GA area for over 20 years. A highly trained and experienced dentist, Dr. Caves works with patients of all ages to maintain, restore or enhance the beauty and function of their natural smile.
Dr. Caves is a leading local dentist for same-day dental restorations using advanced CAD/CAM technology. We can place a beautiful new crown or custom restoration during a single visit. Dr. Caves places all types of dental implants, helping patients with missing teeth or poorly fitting dentures to get back to smiling with confidence.