Pediatric FAQs




General FAQ

» What Is Fluoride And How Does It Work?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral and very effective at preventing tooth decay. It is added to toothpaste and many community water supplies to reduce the number of cavities in children and adults. It works by incorporating itself into the enamel of teeth as they grow, making them harder. For teeth already erupted and in the mouth, it promotes re-mineralization of weak spots caused by cavity forming bacteria. Most bottled water brands by the way do not contain fluoride unless specifically stated.

» Is My Child Getting Enough Fluoride?

Fluoride in the drinking water is the best and easiest way to get it, but to make sure your child is getting enough fluoride, have your well checked if not on town water, to see what the fluoride level is. If your child is not getting enough fluoride internally through water or if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride, your pediatric dentist or pediatrician may prescribe fluoride supplements.

» Is It Necessary To Floss My Child's Teeth?

Yes, flossing daily helps to remove food and plaque from between teeth. Also, minimizing sugary and acidic drinks such as soda, juice and gatorade, helps prevent cavities from starting between the molars. When the child’s molars come in and touch, typically around age three, it is a good time to introduce flossing. Feel free to ask the hygienist for some easy tips for getting in there on your young child.

» How Should I Clean My Baby's Teeth And When Should I Start Using Toothpaste?

A toothbrush with a small head and soft bristles is ideal and they make them specifically for infants and young children. Brush at least twice a day and preferably after breakfast and just before bedtime. Do not use fluoridated toothpaste until age 3 and after age 3, parents should continue brushing and use a small pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. Try not to allow your children to swallow excess toothpaste.

» What Is Nursing Decay Or Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

These are all forms of “early childhood cavities” that result when the child either sleeps with a bottle containing sugary liquids or is allowed to nurse continually. It does not happen in all children and often one sibling will get this while another will not. When it does occur, the cavities may appear suddenly and typically begin on the back side of the upper teeth where it is hard for a parent to see them.

» What Can You Do To Prevent Nursing Decay?

Avoid "at will" nursing or putting anything other than water in their bedtime bottle and encourage your child to transition to a cup as soon as they are able. Try not to allow your toddler to frequently use a bottle/sippy cup between meals containing sweetened liquids, juice or soda. Start cleaning your baby’s mouth by wiping your child’s gums with a clean washcloth after each feeding and when their first teeth erupt, start brushing them with a soft toothbrush.

» How Do We Treat Cavities In Children?

Tell-Show-Do is a method used to explain and prepare children for their dental treatment. First we explain what is to be done. Then we show how it is done, and finally we perform the procedure. Parents may accompany their child to the operatory for a dental procedure. Once the child is settled, if they are comfortable, feel free to return to the waiting area and when the procedure is completed, we will come and get you or bring your child out to you, give any necessary instructions, and answer any questions. If you feel more comfortable staying in the room, than we simply ask that you be more of a quiet partner and let the pediatric dentist establish a relationship with your child.

» When Will My Child Start Losing Baby Teeth?

The first baby tooth can be lost between the age of 5-7 and girls often lose teeth before boys.

» What Should I Do If My Child Knocks Out A Permanent Tooth?

If possible, find the tooth and hold it by the crown rather than the root. If it is clean, replace the tooth in the socket and hold it there with clean gauze or a washcloth. If you can't put the tooth back in the socket, place the tooth in a clean container with milk and take your child and the glass immediately to the pediatric dentist. The faster you act, the better your chances of saving the tooth.

» When Will My Child Have All His/Her Permanent Teeth?

Although there is an age range, most children will have a full set of permanent teeth by age 11-13.

» Can Thumb Sucking Be Harmful For My Child's Teeth?

Sucking on fingers, pacifiers or other object when children are young is completely normal and can provide a sense of security. Most children naturally outgrow this habit between two and four years old. Thumb and pacifier sucking habits that go on for a long period of time can create crowded, crooked teeth or bite problems. If they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers when the permanent teeth erupt, behavioral modification techniques or an intraoral appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist or orthodontist. Most children do stop these habits on their own.

» What Are Dental Sealants And How Do They Work?

Sealants are a tooth colored plastic material applied to the permanent molar teeth to help keep them cavity-free. Sealants fill in the grooved and pitted surfaces of the teeth, which are hard to clean, and shut out food particles that could get caught, causing cavities. Fast and comfortable to apply, sealants can effectively protect teeth for many years.

» If My Child Gets A Toothache, What Should I Do?

To comfort your child, rinse his/her mouth with warm salt water and apply a cold compress or ice wrapped in a cloth on your child's face if it is swollen. Do not put heat or aspirin on the sore area, but you may give the child acetaminophen for pain. See us as soon as possible.

» How Safe Are Dental X-Rays?

With contemporary safeguards, such as lead aprons and high-speed film, the amount of radiation received in a dental X-ray examination is extremely small. Even though there is very little risk, pediatric dentists are particularly careful to minimize the exposure of child patients to radiation. In fact, dental X-rays represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem.

» My Child Plays Sports. How Should I Protect My Child's Teeth?

A mouth guard should be a top priority on your child's list of sports equipment. Athletic mouth protectors, or mouth guards, are made of soft plastic and fit comfortably to the shape of the upper teeth. They protect a child's teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sports-related injuries. Any mouth guard works better than no mouth guard, but a custom-fitted mouth guard fitted by our doctor is your child's best protection against sports-related injuries.

» If My Child Gets A Cavity In A Baby Tooth, Should It Still Be Filled?

Primary, or "baby," teeth are important for many reasons. They help children speak and chew and also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt. The majority of “baby teeth” do not fall out until a child is approximately 12 years old. Also, because tooth decay is really an infection and will spread, decay on baby teeth can cause decay on adjacent permanent teeth.

» When Does A Child's First Tooth Come In?

On average, babies tend to show the two lower front teeth (central incisors) by 8 months of age but there is a wide range in which children can start a normal teething pattern. Some children will not get their first tooth until they are one year old. The remainder of the baby teeth appear during the next 18 to 24 months but not necessarily in an orderly sequence from front to back. By age 3, most children will have all of their 20 primary teeth. When the teeth to begin to erupt, it is normal for some babies to have sore gums. This discomfort can be eased for some children with teething rings and other similar things while some children require an over the counter pain medication such as tylenol or motrin. Most physicians do not feel teething itself causes fevers or diarrhea or rashes so if your child continues to be uncomfortable when teething for an excessive period of time, call your child’s physician to rule out other potential issues.

» What Age Should I Start Taking My Child To The Dentist?

We typically suggest age 3 because the local pediatricians and family practitioners do a very good job with infant oral health. However, children still nursing at night or sleeping with a bottle/sippy cup with anything beyond water, who are 18 months or older, should be seen. The goal of the first visit for these children is to evaluate their comprehensive oral health and provide guidance for the parents. And because children who develop nursing or bottle cries typically get these cavities behind the front teeth, the cavities are typically difficult for parents to detect until they have become quite large.

» Why Choose A Pediatric Dentist Instead Of Our Family Dentist?

Experience. Pediatric dentists train for an additional two to three years beyond dental school to become a pediatric specialist. We understand the unique needs and approaches to providing dental care for infants, children and adolescents as well as individuals with special health issues.

Special Needs FAQ

» Do Special Children Have Special Dental Needs?

Most do. Some special children are very susceptible to tooth decay, gum disease or oral trauma. Others require medication or diet detrimental to dental health. Still other children have physical difficulty with effective dental habits at home. The good news is, dental disease is preventable. If dental care is started early and followed conscientiously, every child can enjoy a healthy smile.

» How Can I Prevent Dental Problems For My Special Child?

A first dental visit by the first birthday will start your child on a lifetime of good dental health. The pediatric dentist will take a full medical history, gently examine your child's teeth and gums, then plan preventive care designed for your child's needs.

» Will Preventive Dentistry Benefit My Child?

Yes! Your child will benefit from the preventive approach recommended for all children- effective brushing and flossing, moderate snacking, adequate fluoride. Home care takes just minutes a day and prevents needless dental problems. Regular professional cleanings and fluoride treatments are also very beneficial. Sealants can prevent tooth decay on the chewing surfaces of molars where four out of five cavities occur.

» Are Pediatric Dentists Prepared To Care For Special Children?

Absolutely. Pediatric dentists have two or more years of advanced training beyond dental school. Their education as specialists focuses on care for children with special needs. In addition, pediatric dental offices are designed to be physically accessible for special patients. Pediatric dentists, because of their expertise, are often the clinicians of choice for the dental care of adults with special needs as well.

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