• General Questions


    How can I prepare my child for his or her first dental visit?
    The first step in preparing your child for the dentist is to forget about your own past experiences.  Visiting the dentist for children can be a very pleasant and confidence building experience.  The best possible way to prepare your child is to refrain from using words that might cause unnecessary fear, such as shots, needles, drilling, pulling or pain.  You can prepare your child by using phrases such as “go for a ride in the dental chair”, or the dentist will “count your teeth”, or “take pictures of your teeth (x-rays)”, etc. It is our practice to always be open and honest in order to build trust.  The main difference is that we use vocabulary that conveys the exact same message in a non-frightening way.  We welcome parents of children under three to accompany their child for the initial examination.  At the completion of dental exams, we welcome parents to the treatment/consult room for a discussion of findings and review of your child’s oral hygiene. 
    Do I stay with my child during their dental visits?
    This is ultimately your decision 100%.  However, we do ask that you allow your child to accompany our friendly staff through the dental experience.  We are highly experienced in helping children overcome anxiety.  The method allows our dental staff to build a closer rapport with your child when you are not present. Separation anxiety is not uncommon in children, so please try not to be too concerned if your child exhibits negative behavior.  This is normal and will soon diminish.  Our purpose is to gain your child’s confidence which will allow them to overcome apprehension.  Studies and experience have shown that most children over the age of three react more positively when permitted to experience the dental visit on their own and in an environment suited and designed specifically for children.  However, if you choose, you may come with your child to the treatment area.  For the safety and privacy of all patients, other children who are not being treated should remain in the reception room with a supervising adult. 


    Dental Related Questions:


    When will my baby start getting teeth?
    Babies typically begin teething at six months of age.  Usually the bottom lower front teeth erupt first, followed by the two upper front teeth.  Children have twenty teeth compared to adults that typically have 32.  In general, a child will have erupted all of their teeth by 2-3 years of age.
    When should I take my child to the dentist for his or her first visit?
    The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children should visit the dentist within six months after the first tooth appears or by the baby’s first birthday.  The first visit will usually include exam, cleaning, fluoride and a discussion about prevention, diet and homecare oral health guidance. 
    How often do I need to bring my child to the dentist?
    In general, check-ups/recall visits are recommended at a minimum of every six months in order to aid in prevention of cavities or other dental problems.  It is always better to diagnose a potential problem early on.  Every child has individual oral healthcare needs, therefore the frequency of dental visits will vary as the situation necessitates.  Regular visits keep children familiar with the dentist and his or her staff. These visits build confidence in children and are much more pleasant when the child is not forced to associate the dentist with emergency treatment due to tooth pain and dental neglect. Decay or breakdown of a tooth that is detected in the early stages is easier and less costly to treat.
    How important are baby teeth since they are going to fall out anyway?
    “Baby” teeth or primary teeth have three main functions.  First, they allow children to chew.  The importance of pain free feeding directly relates your child’s diet, nutrition and overall health.  Second, baby teeth are important for speech development.  Last, baby teeth provide a pathway for permanent teeth to erupt in a timely way.  Premature tooth loss from cavities/infection, allows for remaining teeth to move into the empty space and ultimately cause crowding. Cavities on baby teeth can cause permanent teeth to have higher cavity susceptibility.
    If my toddler has a cavity, should he or she get a filling?
    The earlier a cavity is diagnosed and treated, the less invasive the overall treatment will be.  Over time, cavities can spread if allowed and possibly lead to an infection.  It is important to evaluate each situation on and individual basis to determine what is best for the child at any given time in terms of the child’s ability to cope with a procedure.
    What are sealants and does my child need them?
    Sealants are a hard plastic-like material that is placed into the grooves of the chewing surfaces of teeth in order to help prevent cavities. They work by blocking out the sticky, sugary foods and liquids that tend to get caught in the teeth. The application is fast and pain free. Sealants are recommended based on the child’s diet, history of cavities (family’s history), and overall anatomy of the teeth deep (deep grooves).
    How safe are dental x-rays?
    Dental radiographs or x-rays are necessary for your child in receiving the highest standard of care. The diagnostic benefits far outweigh the minimal risks involved in the use of dental x-rays. Pediatric dentists are careful to limit the amount of radiation exposure for children by using lead aprons and digital radiography which reduces radiation substantially. Without the use of x-rays conditions which include cavities, missing or extra teeth and pathology/diseases will go undetected. Digital x-rays have minimal radiation, crystal-clear images and unbelievable speed. With digital x-rays, the patient’s images appear instantaneously on a nearby monitor, giving us a convenient chair-side image to analyze and refer to throughout the dental visit. We are pleased to offer this dental technology.
    What is the main difference between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist?
    A pediatric dentist has two to three years of advanced training following dental school that is specific to treating children as well as those with special needs. We are oral healthcare providers for infants, toddlers, adolescents, and teenagers. We also work closely with pediatricians to provide for children with special healthcare needs.


    Oral Healthcare At Home:


    What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?
    The use of a soft cloth, gauze or toothbrush for children 0-2 years will adequately remove plaque and bacteria that can lead to cavities. Caregivers should clean the teeth at least once a day (most importantly before bedtime following the last feeding). Infant non-fluoridated toothpaste can be used. Until your child is able to spit out the toothpaste without swallowing it, we recommend not to use fluoridated toothpaste.
    How can I prevent baby bottle tooth decay and early childhood cavities?
    First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and if swelling is present place a cold pack on the area. Over the counter Children’s Tylenol or Ibuprofen (Motrin) are recommended for any pain.  DO NOT place aspirin on the gums, this can cause harm to the tissue. Please, see a dentist or healthcare professional as soon as possible.
    Is fluoride toothpaste and fluoridated water good for my child?
    Use of fluoride for prevention of cavities is documented to be safe and effective in decreasing cavities by making teeth stronger when given in the correct dosage. If your water supply contains less than 0.6ppm (private wells), a dietary supplement may be recommended for your child (6 months to 16 years old).  If your child is unable to spit out the toothpaste, then it should be avoided.  It is acceptable to begin using toothpaste (pea-size amount) with children 2-3 years of age.  Prior to that, parents should clean the child’s teeth with water and a soft-bristled toothbrush.  It is important to contact a pediatric dentist to make sure you child is not receiving excessive or inadequate amounts of daily fluoride.
    If my child has tooth or mouth pain, what can I do to help?
    First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and if swelling is present place a cold pack on the area. Over the counter Children’s Tylenol or Ibuprofen (Motrin) are recommended for any pain.  DO NOT place aspirin on the gums, this can cause harm to the tissue. Please, see a dentist or healthcare professional as soon as possible.
    What can I do to stop my child’s thumb sucking and pacifier habits? Is it harming their teeth?
    Many oral habits such as thumb and pacifier sucking only become a problem if they persist for long periods of time.  This is very normal in infants and young children.  Most children stop these habits on their own by age three.  Generally, habit-breaking appliances are recommended and used for children who want to stop, but need an active reminder.  Long term oral habits such as thumb or finger sucking, mouth breathing, and tongue thrusting can produce dental and skeletal changes.  The amount of change is directly related to frequency, duration, intensity and direction of the forces applied.
    What should I do if my child has a tooth knocked out?
    First, remain calm.  Second, locate the tooth.  Always hold the tooth by the crown (not the root).  Third (if possible), determine whether it is a baby tooth or a permanent tooth.  If it is a baby tooth, do not replace the tooth into the socket.  For permanent teeth, re-implant by applying mild finger pressure. 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.