Frequently Asked Questions
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As recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday.
Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. 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.
Primary, or “baby”, teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children chew, smile, and speak, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt.
A preventive care visit 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.
A toothbrush will remove plaque that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used twice daily, most importantly at bedtime.
Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they continue 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 when the permanent teeth arrive, an appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist.
Avoid nursing children to sleep, and make sure to always clean your child’s teeth and gums prior to putting them to bed. Learn the proper way to brush and floss your child’s teeth, and 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.
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.
Sealants work by filling in the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, and safeguards the tooth from cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years.
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.
Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. The pediatric dentist can then recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing, and other treatments for parents to supervise and teach to their children. These home treatments, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.
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.
We invite you to stay with your child during their initial and routine preventative care visits. During future treatment appointments, we recommend allowing our qualified team to accompany your child through their dental experience while you remain in our reception area. Our specialized techniques will allow your child to gain confidence and overcome apprehension. We understand individual needs vary, and are committed to providing a calm and comfortable experience for your child.