Frequently asked questions
Why see a Pediatric Dentist?
Much like how pediatricians go through extra training after medical school to specialize in caring for children, pediatric dentists go through 2 to 3 years of advanced training after dental school to specialize in treating children. They learn about the dental, medical and emotional needs specific to children and have limited their practices to exclusively treating children. Pediatric dental offices are also designed with children in mind and often have kids games and special child-sized dental equipment.
When should I bring my child for the first visit?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends that a child see the dentist when they get their first tooth or by their first birthday. This is important to help your child get comfortable with coming to the dentist at an early age for easy and routine visits. The dentist will also discuss brushing, nursing, diet, bottle use, pacifier use, thumb sucking and answer any questions you may have about your child’s oral health. By discussing and reinforcing good dental habits early on we can increase their chance of being cavity free.
How often should my child see a dentist?
Most children should have routine dental check-ups every 6 months. Children that are at higher risk for decay may benefit from more frequent visits in order to more closely monitor their dental health and habits.
When should I start using toothpaste?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends fluoridated toothpaste for children at high risk for decay. The key is limiting the amount ingested. The recommended amount from age 0-2 is a “smear” of fluoridated toothpaste. Age 3-5 a pea sized amount. Age 6 and up the same amount as an adult. This is assuming your child can spit. We will demonstrate the correct amount for your child at your first visit and answer any questions you might have about brushing your child’s teeth.
Why are baby teeth important?
Baby teeth not only help your child chew, eat and smile, but they are also important in guiding the permanent tooth into the proper position. Baby teeth that are lost prematurely can cause crowding or spacing issues that increase the likelihood of needing braces later on.
What are sealants?
Sealants are thin protective resins painted on the chewing surfaces of the teeth to prevent food and bacteria from getting trapped in the deep grooves that can be hard to keep clean. Sealants are a great way to help prevent cavities.
What is a stainless steel crown?
When decay is extensive or a large amount of tooth structure is lost, a stainless steel crown or cap may be the best treatment for your child. Crowns cover all surfaces of the tooth and prevent further decay and breakdown.
Why does my child need x-rays?
X-rays are necessary for the dentist to diagnose cavities that cannot be seen by the naked eye. Decay is often developing between teeth that are touching and cannot be detected visually. By the time the cavity is seen visually it is usually very extensive. Decay that has progressed can cause pain, infection and be more difficult to treat.
Is Fluoride safe?
In recommended doses fluoride is safe. Fluoride has been proven to be one of many factors in helping prevent cavities. Your dentist will discuss with you your child’s risk of dental decay and develop a fluoride regimen that you are comfortable with.
When should my child stop using a pacifier or sucking his/her thumb?
Most Pediatric Dentists recommend children stop using a pacifier or sucking their thumb by age 3 to reduce (but not prevent) the likelihood that your child will need braces down the road. We will discuss ways to help make that transition as easy as possible.
What should I do if my child has a toothache?
Dental pain should be evaluated for cause and severity as soon as possible. The dentist will provide treatment and prescribe medications as needed. Swelling, pain, redness, fever, lethargy and even death can result from untreated tooth decay. If you see any of these signs, contact a Pediatric Dentist or take your child to the emergency room immediately.
What should I do if my child falls and hurts his/her tooth?
If a tooth is broken or knocked out from a fall or sports injury it is important to call a Pediatric Dentist immediately. The dentist can help advise you on the next steps to support the best possible outcome for the tooth.
What is nitrous oxide or “laughing gas”?
Nitrous oxide (also known as “laughing gas”) is a very safe and effective form of sedation. It can help your child feel less anxious and make receiving dental treatment a more comfortable experience.
What is IV Sedation/General Anesthesia?
Sometimes nitrous oxide is not enough to help alleviate your child’s dental anxiety. In these cases, an anesthesiologist can help provide your child with the proper medications and monitoring, allowing the Pediatric Dentist to restore your child’s oral health in a safe and predictable manner.