We've put together a list of the most frequently asked questions below.
At what age should my child have his/her first visit?
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics a child’s first dental visit should be at the presence of the first tooth and no later than age 1. Thefirst dental visit should be by his/her first birthday.
How should I clean my baby’s teeth?
You can use a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head, especially one designed for babies. Brushing at least once a day before bedtime, with a smear layer of fluoride toothpaste, will remove plaque that can lead to cavities.
When should my child start using toothpaste?
At the sight of the first baby tooth. A smear layer (about the size of a grain of rice) of fluoridated toothpaste for children under 2 is recommended and a pea- size amount from age 2-5. We don’t want the children swallowing an excess amount of toothpaste, so make sure that you are using the correct amount.
Why should my child see a pediatric dentist instead of my family dentist?
Pediatric Dentistry is a dental specialty that focuses on the oral health of infants, toddlers and adolescents. A pediatric dentist has 2-3 more years of specialty training in the unique needs of children. They also monitor growth and development of all children including those with special needs.
What is baby bottle caries and how can I prevent it?
Baby bottle caries is rapid decay of baby teeth associated with prolonged nursing and poor oral hygiene habits. It most commonly happens when a child goes to sleep while bottle-feeding and/or breast-feeding and is feeding on demand in the middle of the night. It can also happen with constant juice consumption throughout the day. Encourage your child to drink from a cup as they approach their first birthday. Your child should be weaned from the bottle at 12 months. To avoid Early childhood caries:
Try not to let your child walk around using a bottle of milk or juice as a pacifier.
Start to teach your child to drink from a cup as they approach their 1stbirthday
Don’t dip your child’s pacifier in any sugary substance
Stop nursing when your child is asleep or has stopped sucking on the bottle.
Can thumb sucking and pacifier use be harmful for my child’s teeth?
When these habits go on for a long period of time, they can create crowded, crooked teeth and/or bite problems. If they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers when their permanent teeth erupt, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist or orthodontist.
What are dental sealants?
Molars are rough with uneven surfaces. They have grooves and pits which is a favorite place for food and cavity-causing bacteria to hide. A dental sealant is a great way to help keep those chewing surfaces clean. A sealant is a tooth color protective coating which acts as a barrier to keep the chewing surfaces cavity free. They are fast and easy to apply. Sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars. They’re no substitute for brushing and flossing, but they can keep cavities from forming and even stop early stages of decay form becoming a large cavity.
How safe are dental x-rays?
At The Kids Dental Practice we have the latest technology with minimal radiation exposure and use lead aprons to protect your child. Even though there are minimal risks, we follow the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and only take x-rays when necessary. Dental x-rays represent a much smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem.
My child plays sports, how should I protect their teeth?
A mouth guard should be used by your child at all times during sports activities. They are made of soft plastic and fit comfortably to the shape of the upper teeth. We can also adapt them around braces. They protect your child’s teeth and gums from sports-related injuries. Any mouth guard works better than no mouth guard, but a custom fitted mouth guard by your doctor is your child’s best protection against sports related injuries.
If my child gets a toothache, what should I do?
If your child is experiencing severely painful throbbing, fatigue, or fever you should contact your pediatric dentist or go to the emergency room as soon as possible.
To comfort your child first clean his/her teeth from any large food particles. Next, take these steps to try and relieve your child’s pain until you can get to the dentist:
Rinse with warm salt water solution: mix ½ teaspoon of salt with a cup of warm water. Have your child swish or hold the salt water over the affected area
Apply a cold compress or ice pack wrapped in a cloth on your child’s face, especially if swelling is present, adjacent to the area of the pain. Hold the ice pack on and then off for a couple of minutes at a time, so as not to burn the cheeks with the ice.
Acetaminophen or ibuprofen can be given in a dose appropriate for their weight. for pain.
Do not put heat or aspirin in the sore area as this can cause a burn and end up creating more pain rather than reducing it.
What should I do if my child has a broken or knocked out tooth?
See the emergency section of our website for steps to follow.
At what age should my child first see the orthodontist?
This is one of the most common questions asked by parents. The American Academy of Orthodontics recommends all children have an initial evaluation with an orthodontist at the age of 7. Few youngsters will actually need braces at this age, but if your child shows certain bite or alignment problems, early intervention may be able to prevent or reduce the need for braces or more invasive procedures in the future. Some of the problems your orthodontist will be looking for are:
Crowded, crooked teeth, protruding or buck teeth
Difficulty in chewing or biting which can result from an overbite, under bite and open bite
Thumb sucking, finger sucking or pacifier use which can cause teeth to shirt or change the roof of the mouth.
Speech difficulty which can be caused by misaligned or crooked teeth
Mouth breathing: When we breathe through our noses, our tongues rest at the roof of our mouths which helps to correctly shape the palate. Mouth breathing places the tongue in the wrong position, which may change the growth pattern of the face, mouth, tongue and neck.
Jaw or teeth that are out of proportion
If your child does not need orthodontic treatment at this age the orthodontist will continue to monitor the growth and development of your child’s teeth and jaw as they grow.
My baby is teething, what can I do to comfort my child through this process?
We do not recommend the use of Orajel on babies for at home use. Instead, a chilled teething ring or cold wet cloth can comfort them. You may give them acetaminophen if needed.
My child grinds their teeth at night, what should I do?
Parents are often concerned about the nocturnal grinding of teeth (bruxism). Often, the first indication is the noise created by the child grinding on their teeth during sleep. Or, the parent may notice wear (teeth getting shorter) to the dentition. Bruxism is multifactorial. One theory as to the cause involved a psychological component. Stress due to a new environment, divorce, changes at school, etc can influence a child to grind their teeth. Another theory related to pressure in the inner ear at night. If there are pressure changes the child will grind by moving his jaw to relieve this pressure.
New studies have shown that there is a link between sleep apnea and teeth grinding. Sleep apnea frequently occurs when the soft tissues (tonsils, adenoids, soft palate, and tongue) at the back of the throat block the airway. Clenching or grinding teeth may be a way that the body subconsciously maintains an open airway.
The majority of cases of pediatric bruxism do not require any treatment. If excessive wear of the teeth is present, then a mouth guard may be indicated. The negatives to a mouth guard are the possibility of choking if the appliance becomes dislodged during sleep and it may interfere with growth of the jaws.
The good news is most children outgrow bruxism. The grinding decreases between the ages of 6-9 and children tend to stop grinding between ages 9-12.
We know there is a wealth of health information on the internet and it can be difficult to distinguish what is best for your child. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry is a reliable scientific based resource for more dental information.