Frequently Asked Questions
Why choose a pediatric dentist?
Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. Pediatric dentists have 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.
When should I take my child to the pediatric dentist and how often does my child need to see the pediatric dentist?
In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist no later than his or her first birthday. It is important to establish a comprehensive and accessible ongoing relationship between the dentist and patient – referring to this as the patient’s “dental home”. 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.
When should we begin using toothpaste and how much should we use?
Fluoridated toothpaste should be introduced as soon as the first tooth erupts. Prior to that, parents should clean the child’s gums with water and a cloth or a soft-bristled toothbrush. When the first tooth erupts, up until when the child can spit, parents should brush with a fluoride toothpaste the size of a grain of rice. Parents should supervise brushing, and when the child is able to spit and make sure the child uses no less than a pea-sized amount on the brush. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.
How can parents help prevent decay?
For younger children, avoid nursing to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bedtime bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child’s teeth. For older children, parents still must take an active role in teaching and supervising proper brushing and flossing techniques. Providing healthy balanced diets and taking your child to a pediatric dentist regularly to have his or her teeth and gums checked will help give your child a lifetime of healthy happy smiles.
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 when the permanent teeth arrive, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist.
What can I do to protect my child's teeth during sporting events?
Mouth guards can be used to protect a child’s teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sport related injuries. Mouth guards are recommended for organized sports that have the potential for contact even when it is not mandated.
Why should the baby teeth be filled, since they will be lost anyway?
Even though these primary teeth are called “baby teeth”, some of them must serve until the child is at least twelve years old, sometimes longer. Neglect of the baby teeth can result in pain, infection of the gums and jaws, impairment of general health, and premature loss of teeth, which is a major cause of orthodontic problems. Also, cavities tend to form in teeth that are next to other teeth with unfilled cavities, because decay is really an infection and will spread if left untreated. It is unwise to leave active decay in the mouth. Decay on baby teeth can cause decay on permanent teeth. Unfortunately, most children with untreated decay on baby teeth will develop decay on permanent teeth.
- Toothache: Clean the area of the affected tooth thoroughly. Rinse the mouth vigorously with warm water or use dental floss to dislodge impacted food or debris. If the pain still exists, contact your child’s pediatric dentist. DO NOT place aspirin on the gum or on the aching tooth. If the face is swollen apply cold compresses and contact your dentist immediately.
- Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek: Apply ice to bruised areas. If there is bleeding apply firm but gentle pressure with a gauze or cloth. If bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes or it cannot be controlled by simple pressure, take the child to hospital emergency room.
- Knocked Out Permanent Tooth: Find the tooth. Handle the tooth by the crown, not the root portion. You may rinse the tooth but DO NOT clean or handle the tooth unnecessarily. Inspect the tooth for fractures. If it is sound, try to reinsert it in the socket. Have the patient hold the tooth in place by biting on a gauze. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, transport the tooth in a cup containing the patient’s saliva or milk. If the patient is old enough, the tooth may also be carried in the patient’s mouth. The patient must see a dentist IMMEDIATELY! Time is a critical factor in saving the tooth.