Patients often ask us the same questions. We have a thing for sharing knowledge and education (if you hadn’t noticed), so we’ve provided some of the most common inquiries—and our answers—below.
Anesthesia: Is it safe for my child?
When administered correctly, local anesthesia is safe for children. Our team is highly trained in anesthesia delivery, and we always communicate to children in an age appropriate manner, prior to administering the local anesthetic.
Appointments: What’s the best time to schedule them?
Although we do value and respect that many of our parents have a busy work schedule, we recommend morning appointments for preschool children. We find that they are generally more awake and in a better mood.
Appointments: What if I need to reschedule?
We understand things come up. If you need to reschedule, please notify us within 48 hours in advance of your scheduled appointment time if you need to reschedule. We will gladly schedule another appointment for you. A fee may apply for last minute cancellations.
Baby teeth: How important are they?
Healthy primary teeth are important for many reasons:
- They serve as space holders for the permanent teeth, forming a path for them to follow when they are ready to erupt. If a child loses a baby tooth too early (due to trauma or decay) the other teeth around them may shift, resulting in crooked or misplaced permanent teeth.
- They facilitate proper chewing, enabling good nutrition. Research shows that children with numerous cavities are often underweight because eating begins to hurt. As a result, they limit food choices, disrupting proper nutrition.
- Children learn to talk using their primary dentition. Research shows that, because most speech skills are already formed by the age of seven, children who lose their primary front teeth too early often need speech therapy.
Baby teeth: If my child has cavities, should I fill them?
- We are often asked, “Why put fillings in baby teeth when they will fall out anyway?” Unfortunately, neglected cavities create problems that affect the development of permanent teeth. Neglected cavities progress to the core of the tooth and eat away at the nerve. The tooth becomes painful and the nerve becomes inflamed, eventually dying. This creates an abscess that often results in the loss of the tooth and serious damage to the permanent tooth growing below. Some severe cases require emergency hospitalization.
- Brown or missing teeth often affect the development of self-esteem. A beautiful smile enhances self confidence regardless of age.
- Your child’s general health is affected by the health of their teeth and gums.
Cavities: What causes tooth decay?
Tooth decay is caused when bacteria in your mouth begin to digest sugars on your teeth. As they digest the sugars and food they release an acid that eats at your teeth and causes them to break down and decay.
Cavities: How can I help prevent them?
The best way to prevent cavities is to follow proper oral care. This includes brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and getting regular dental check up. These home treatments, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.
Dental visit: How old should my child be for their first visit?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children see a pediatric dentist as soon as the first tooth erupts or by age 1. The first visit is an informative visit where we will go over dietary considerations, oral hygiene, oral habits, dental development and most importantly get your child comfortable with coming to our office.
Dental visits: Can I stay with my child?
Yes, it’s often recommended that parents who can help keep their children calm and relaxed do stay with their child during appointments. This also allows the parent to ask any questions. After the first visit we suggest parents wait in the waiting room so that the child can form a relationship with the dental team.
Dental visits: How often should they be scheduled?
Patients should get regular cleanings twice a year, in addition to following a proper oral hygiene routine. If your child had significant dental treatment in the past, we will always let you know how often your child should visit based on their specific needs.
Diet and nutrition: What foods are best for my child’s dental health?
Make sure your child has a balanced diet, including one serving each of: fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products, and meat fish and eggs. Limiting the servings of sugars and starches will also aid in protecting your child’s teeth from decay.
Eruption: When do the first teeth start to come in?
Around 6 months old, the two lower front teeth (central incisors) will erupt, followed shortly thereafter by the two upper central incisors. The remainder of the baby teeth appear during the next 18 to 24 months in random order. Between the ages of 2 to 3 years old, you should see all the “baby” teeth. All 20 that is!
Family Dentist vs. Pediatric Dentist: Is there a difference?
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 healthcare needs.
Flossing: Is it necessary to floss between my child’s teeth?
Absolutely! Regular flossing is recommended as food can become impacted between there teeth potentially cause cavities. We recommend the use of floss threaders (Brands: Dentek, Oral B) in the shape of child-friendly characters to make it fun for your child. If your child is apprehensive on the first try, keep trying and before you know it they will be picking up those floss threaders on their own!
Fluoride supplements: Are they necessary?
On your first visit, we will evaluate the fluoride level of your child’s primary source of drinking water. If your child is not getting enough fluoride, we may prescribe fluoride supplements.
Grinding of Teeth (Bruxism): Is it common? How long does it last?
Bruxism is a common issue that most parents pick up on when they hear their child grinding in their sleep. Teeth may also appear shorter over time. Most children outgrow tooth grinding around 6 to 9 years old as the permanent dentition develop, and this habit usually stops by age 12 when baby teeth are gone.
Insurance: Which insurances do you accept?
We accept most private insurances. We are preferred providers for MetLife, Delta Dental, Cigna, Principal, United Healthcare, Anthem Blue Cross, and more. Your insurance may have a shared network with the aforementioned companies. If you have questions about whether we accept your plan, we would be happy to assist you.
Mouth guards: Should my child wear them while playing sports?
An effective mouth guard holds teeth in place, resists tearing, protects the jaws, and allows for normal speech and breathing. It should cover the teeth, and depending on the patient’s bite, also the gums. An orthodontist can recommend the best mouth guard for an athlete who wears braces. In fact, just by wearing a properly fitted mouth guard, many accidents and traumatic injuries could be prevented. The American Dental Association estimates that mouth guards prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries each year.
Nitrous Oxide: Is it safe for my child?
Nitrous oxide is very safe and most apprehensive children do quite well when used during treatment appointments. It is non-allergenic and absorbed rapidly, allowing for both rapid onset and recovery (two to three minutes). When breathing it, your child remains fully conscious, retaining all of their natural reflexes.
Nursing: How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?
Avoid nursing children to sleep at bedtime, or putting anything in their bottle other than water. If your child nurses at night, wash or wipe the teeth, gums and mouth prior to putting the child to bed.
Permanent teeth: What if one gets knocked out?
Stay calm and make an appointment with our office right away. If a permanent tooth is knocked out, place the tooth in a glass of milk. The first hour of the injury is most crucial as this can make a difference between allowing for the tooth to be saved by re-insertion with a splint or the need for a prosthetic.
Sealants: How do they work and do they contain BPA(Bisphenol-A)?
Sealants work by providing a layer of protection from cavity-causing agents such as cookies, crackers, chips and sticky foods. They are applied to the “back teeth” or molars which are the chewing surfaces where food most commonly accumulates. Our office uses BPA- free materials for sealants and all tooth-colored fillings.
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Spacing: Should I be concerned about the space between my child’s two upper front teeth?
It is very common for children to have a space between their teeth. If your child has a space, it will usually close within the next few years as the permanent front teeth erupt. We will take a look and help you determine whether there is cause for concern.
Teething: When does this occur?
Teething typically begins when a baby is between six and eight months old, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 to 14 months. The two bottom front teeth (lower incisors) usually come in first and next to grow in are usually the two top front teeth (upper incisors). Then, the other incisors, lower and upper molars, canines, and finally the upper and lower second molars typically grow.
Teething: How can I help my child get through this painful stage?
Give your baby a firm rubber teething ring to chew on. Avoid liquid-filled teething rings, or any plastic objects that might break. Gently rub the gums with a cool, wet washcloth. You may place the wet washcloth in the freezer first, but wash it before using it again. Feed your child cool, soft foods such as applesauce or yogurt. Topical pain relievers and medications that are rubbed on the gums are not necessary, or even useful, because they wash out of the baby’s mouth within minutes.
Thumb sucking: Is it bad?
Occasional thumb sucking is fine, but long-term thumb sucking can affect your child’s dental development and speech patterns. Additionally, thumb sucking can also impact your child’s nail growth on the thumb that they suck. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, a mouth appliance may be recommended.
Toothache: What should I do?
First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Give the child acetaminophen for any pain and contact our office as soon as possible.
Toothbrush: Safe for my baby’s teeth?
A toothbrush serves to remove bacteria and food that attaches to your child’s teeth causing decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with an age appropriate head will be safe on your baby’s teeth.
Toothpaste: When should I begin using it and how do I use?
The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or damp cloth. Parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Once children are 3 to 6 years old, then the amount should be increased to a pea-size dollop and perform or assist your child’s toothbrushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.
X-rays: Are they safe?
There is minimal risk at our office as we use digital X-rays. We only take X-rays as needed and are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. The lead aprons and digital sensors used ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation.