FAQ's

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Q:

When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?

A:

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.


Q:

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?

A:

Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has specialty training 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.


Q:

Are baby teeth really that important to my child?

A:

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.


Q:

How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?

A:

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.


Q:

Do I really need to floss my child's teeth?

A: Generally, you need to floss your child's teeth when the teeth are touching each other weather they are in the front or the back.  Once the teeth are in contact brushing alone is not going to reach the areas in between the teeth.


Q:

How do I make my child's diet safe for his teeth?

A:

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.


Q:

How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride?

A:

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 application.


Q:

How do dental sealants work?

A:

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.


Q: What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?
A: A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime.


Q: Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use?
A: Fluoridated toothpaste should be introduced when a child is 2-3 years of age. Prior to that, parents should clean the child's teeth with water and a soft-bristled toothbrush. When toothpaste is used after age 2-3, parents should supervise brushing and make sure the child uses no more than a pea-sized amount on the brush. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.


Q: What can I do to protect my child's teeth during sporting events?
A: 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.


Q: What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth?
A: 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.


Q: How safe are dental X-rays?
A: 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 high-speed film are used to ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation.


Q: When will my baby start getting teeth?

A: Usually the two lower front teeth (central incisors) erupt at about six months of age, followed shortly by the two upper central incisors. During the next 18 to 24 months, the rest of the baby teeth appear, although not in orderly sequence from front to back. All of these 20 primary teeth should be present at two to three years of age. However, there is a normal range and these are averages. Some children get their teeth earlier and some later.


Q: Do I need to clean my baby's mouth if there are no teeth yet?

A: Yes. Begin cleaning the baby's mouth during the first few days after birth. After every feeding, wipe the baby's gums with a damp gauze pad to remove plaque. This establishes at an early age the importance of oral hygiene and the feel of having clean teeth and gums.


Q: Baby teeth aren't permanent; why do they need special care?

A: Although they don't last as long as permanent teeth, your child's first teeth play an important role in his development. While they're in place, these primary teeth help your little one speak, smile and chew properly. They also hold space in the jaw for permanent teeth. If a child loses a tooth too early – due to damage or decay – nearby teeth may encroach on that space, which can result in crooked or misplaced permanent teeth. Also, your child's general health is affected by the oral health of the teeth and gums.


Q: What causes cavities?

A: Certain types of bacteria live in our mouths. When these bacteria come into contact with sugary foods left behind on our teeth after eating, acids are produced. These acids attack the enamel on the exterior of the teeth, eventually eating through the enamel and creating holes in the teeth, which we call cavities.


Q: How can I help my child avoid cavities?

A: Be sure that your child brushes his teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Flossing daily is also important, as flossing can reach spots between the teeth that brushing can't. Check with your pediatric dentist about a fluoride supplement which helps tooth enamel be harder and more resistant to decay. Avoid sugary foods and drinks, limit snacking, and maintain a healthy diet. And finally, make regular appointments so that we can check the health of your child's teeth and provide professional cleanings.


Q: What should I do if my child sucks his thumb?

A: Because persistent non-nutritive sucking habits may result in long-term problems, a professional evaluation for children beyond the age of three years should be carried out, with subsequent intervention to cease the habit if required

. If your child continues sucking after permanent teeth erupt, or sucks aggressively, let us know and we can check to see if any problems may have arisen from the habit.