As a parent or guardian to a young child, we know you have questions. We compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions. If you do not see your question here, please feel free to call or email us and we’d be happy to assist you!
1. What should I use to clean my child’s teeth?
- A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed for your child’s age, should be used at least once a day at bedtime.
2. When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?
- In order to prevent dental problems. your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday.
3. What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?
- Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years of specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.
4. Are baby teeth really that important to my child?
- Primary, or “baby” teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt.
5. What should I do if my child has a toothache?
- First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Come see us as soon as possible.
6. Are thumbsucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child’s teeth?
- Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, a mouth appliance may be recommended.
7. How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?
- Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bed-time bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child’s teeth. Take your child to a pediatric dentist regularly to have his/her teeth and gums checked. The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child’s first birthday.
8. How often does my child need to see the pediatric dentist?
- A check-up every six months is recommended in order to prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your pediatric dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.
9. How do I make my child’s diet safe for his/her teeth?
- Make sure your child has a balanced diet, including one serving each of: fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy prodcuts, and meat, fish and eggs. Limiting the servings of sugars and starches will also aid in protecting your child’s teeth from decay.
10. How do dental sealants work?
- Sealants work by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years.
11. How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride?
- We will evaluate the fluoride level of your child’s primary source of drinking water. If your child is not getting enough fluoride interally through water (especially if the fluoride level is deficient or if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride), then we may prescribe fluoride supplements.
12. What can I do to protect my child’s teeth during sporting events?
- Soft plastic mouthguards can be used to protect a child’s teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sport related injuries. A custom-fitted mouthguard developed by our dentist will protect your child from injuries to the teeth, face and even provide protection from severe injuries to the head.
13. What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth?
- The most important thing is to remain calm. Then, find the tooth. Hold it by the crown rather than the root and try to reinsert it in the socket. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk or your child’s saliva and bring it immediately to our office.
14. How can parents help prevent tooth decay?
- Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. Then, the dentist can recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing and other treatments for parents to supervise and teach to their children. These home treatment, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.