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 6 months from when the first tooth appears, at this is appointment the child is typically between 12-18 months of age
What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?
- A pediatric dentist has two to three years 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.
- A pediatric dentist offers everything from routine check-ups and cleaning to multiple sedation and anesthesia options as needed by the child.
How often does my child need to see the pediatric dentist?
- A check-up every six months is recommended in order 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.
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.
- One of the most common causes of missed school days for children is a toothache, issues like that can commonly be prevented by routine visits to your dental provider to catch problems with these baby teeth before they become painful.
Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use?
- The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. Parents should use a tiny smearof fluoride toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice) to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush.
- Once children are 3 to 6 years old, then the amount should be increased to a pea-size dollop and perform or assist your child’s tooth-brushing.
- Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush or floss their teeth effectively. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.
How do I make my child's diet safe for his teeth?
- Make sure your child has a balanced diet, including one serving each of: fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products, and meat fish and eggs.
- Limiting the servings of sugars and starches will also aid in protecting your child’s teeth from decay.
- You can also ask your pediatric dentist to help you select foods that protect your children’s teeth. The stickier the sugar type snacks the worse they are for your child’s teeth.
How do dental sealants work?
- Sealants work by filling in the deep grooves on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, which can lead to an increase in cavities.
- The application is fast and comfortable without the need of anesthetic and can effectively protect teeth for many years.
Are thumb sucking 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 into their preschool years, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist.
- Ideally the binky is removed between 18-24 months.
How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride?
- Have your pediatric dentist evaluate the fluoride level of your child’s primary source of drinking water. If your child is not getting enough fluoride internally through water (especially if the fluoride level is deficient or if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride), then your pediatric dentist may prescribe fluoride supplements.
How safe are dental X-rays?
- There is very little risk in dental X-rays. Pediatric dentists are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. Lead aprons and digital radiography are used to ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation.
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 a pediatric dentist will protect your child from injuries to the teeth, face and even provide protection from severe injuries to the head.
What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth?
- The most important thing to do 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 and take your child and the glass immediately to the pediatric dentist.