FAQ

faq

How should I clean my baby's teeth?

Even before your baby's teeth erupt, use a soft, clean cloth to wipe his/her gums. Once teeth erupt, a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head is the best choice for infants. Brushing at least once a day, at bedtime, will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay.

At what age should my child have his/her first dental visit?

"First visit by first birthday" is the general rule. Plan your child's first dental visit within 6 months after the first tooth erupts, but no later than the first birthday. Consider it a "well baby checkup" for your child's teeth.

What is baby bottle tooth decay and how can I prevent it?

Baby bottle tooth decay is a pattern of rapid decay associated with prolonged nursing. It happens when a child goes to sleep while breast-feeding and/or bottle-feeding. During sleep, the flow of saliva is reduced and the natural self-cleansing action of the mouth is diminished. Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bedtime bottle. Encourage your child to drink from a cup as they approach their first birthday. He/she should be weaned from the bottle at 12-14 months of age.

Can thumbsucking be harmful for my child's teeth?

Thumb and pacifier sucking habits that go on for a long period of time can create crowded, crooked teeth or bite problems. If they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers when the permanent teeth arrive, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist. Most children stop these habits on their own.

What are dental sealants and how do they work?

Sealants are a plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the permanent molars and bicupids. Sealants form a barrier that protects teeth from plaque and acid attacks, and hold up well under the force of normal chewing.

When should my child start using toothpaste?

The American Dental Association recommends that children (over two years of age) and adults use a fluoride toothpaste displaying the ADA Seal of Acceptance or consult with a child's dentist if considering the use of toothpaste before age 2. For children 0-2 years of age, clean your child's teeth with water and a soft-bristled toothbrush. Parents should supervise children brushing. Use no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and make sure children do not swallow excess toothpaste.

If my child gets a toothache, what should I do?

You may give the child children's acetaminophen or children's ibuprofen for pain. Avoid extreme hot and cold foods (i.e. ice cream, soup, etc.) and sweets. Call our office to make an exam appointment.

Is my child getting enough fluoride?

Research has shown that fluoride reduces cavities in both children and adults. it also helps repair the early stages of tooth decay even before the decay becomes visible. Fluoride in the drinking water is the best and easiest way to get it. If your water comes from a public or community water suppy, contact the local water supplier to determine the fluoride level. You can also check yokur local county or state health department. In communities where the water district does not fluoridate the water or if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride, your pediatric dentist may prescribe fluoride supplements.

How safe are dental X-rays?

With contemporary safeguards, such as lead aprons and high-speed film, the amount of radiation received in a dental X-ray examination is extremely small. Even though there is very little risk, pediatric dentists are particularly careful to minimize the exposure of child patients to radiation. In fact, dental X-rays represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem.

My child plays sports. How should I protect my child's teeth?

A mouth guard should be a top priority on your child's list of sports equipment. Athletic mouth protectors, or mouth guards, are made of soft plastic and fit comfortably to the shape of the upper teeth. They protect a child's teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sports-related injuries. Any mouth guard works better than no mouth guard, but a custom-fitted mouth guard fitted by your dentist is your child's best protection against sports-related injuries.

When do the first teeth start to erupt?

At about 6 months, the two lower front teeth (central incisors) will erupt, followed shortly by the two upper central incisors. The remainder of the baby teeth appear during the next 18 to 24 months but not necessarily in an orderly sequence from front to back. At 2 to 3 years, all of these 20 primary teeth should be present.

What should I do if my child knocks out a permanent tooth?

First of all, remain calm. If possible, find the tooth and hold it by the crown rather than the root. Replace the tooth in the socket and hold it there with clean gauze or a washcloth. If you can't put the tooth back in the socket, place the tooth in a clean container with milk and take your child and the glass immediately to the pediatric dentist. The faster you act, the better your chances of saving the tooth.

How can I help my child through the teething stage?

Sore gums when teeth erupt are part of the normal eruption process. The discomfort is eased for some children by use of a teething biscuit, a piece of toast or a frozen teething ring. Your pharmacy should also have medications that can be rubbed on the gums to reduce the discomfort.

If my child gets a cavity in a baby tooth, should it still be filled?

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. Some of them are necessary until a child is 12 years old or longer. Pain, infection of the gums and jaws, impairment of general health and premature loss of teeth are just a few of the problems that can happen when baby teeth are neglected. Also, because tooth decay is really an infection and will spread, decay on baby teeth can cause decay on permanent teeth. Proper care of baby teeth is instrumental in enhancing the health of the your child.

What causes tooth decay?

Four things are necessary for cavities to form -- a tooth, bacteria, sugars or other carbohydrates and time. Dental plaque is a thin, sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria that constantly forms on everyone's teeth. When you eat, the sugars in your food cause the bacteria in plaque to produce acids that attack the tooth enamel. With time and repeated acid attacks, the enamel breaks down and a cavity forms.

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