FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


Get To Know Your Teeth

What is a pediatric dentist?
A pediatric dentist has two to three years specialty training following dental school and limits their 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 dentist for the first check-up?
In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday.

What should I use to clean my baby’s teeth?
A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime.

Are baby teeth really that important to my child?
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.

What causes cavities/tooth decay?
Four things are necessary for cavities to form: a tooth, bacteria, sugar or other carbohydrates and time. Dental plaque is a thin, sticky, colorless form of bacteria that constantly forms on 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.

How can I help prevent cavities?
Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. We will provide you with individualized instructions for brushing, flossing and other treatments as necessary. We will also teach parents how to supervise and teach their children how to properly care for their teeth at home. In-home treatments, regular dental visits and a balanced diet will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.

What foods are best for my child’s dental health?
Eating the right foods is essential to great dental health. Your child needs a balanced diet, including one serving each of fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, dairy and protein (meat, fish or eggs) each meal. Limit their intake of sugars and starches to help prevent decay. We discuss your child’s diet needs during your dental visit.

How safe are dental X-rays?
There is very little risk in dental X-rays. Pediatric dentists are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. Lead aprons and high-speed film are used to ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation.

What are dental sealants?
Sealants are a thin resin material placed in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. It shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years.

What should I do if my child knocks out a permanent tooth?
First, it’s important to remain calm. If possible, find the tooth and, holding it by the crown (top) rather than the root (where the tooth meets your gums), put it back it its socket. Hold the tooth in place with clean gauze or a washcloth. If you can’t put the tooth back in its socket, place the tooth in a clean container of milk and bring your child and the tooth to our office immediately. The faster you act, the better your chances of saving the tooth.

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