Frequently Asked Questions
We've provided answers to a number of commonly asked dental questions. If you have a question that is not addressed here, please call us at 1 (855) 974-5437 . We look forward to resolving all of your dental concerns.
Q: What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?
A: Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. They have an additional two to three years of training following dental school and limits his/ her practice to treating children. Pediatric dentists are the primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescents, including those with special health needs.
Q: What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?
A: Even before your baby's first tooth appears, we recommend you clean his gums after feedings with a damp, soft washcloth. As soon as his first tooth appears, you can start using a toothbrush. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. You can most likely find a toothbrush designed for infants at your local drugstore
Q: When should I take my child to their first dental appointment?
A: 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.
Q: Are baby teeth really that important?
A: Although they don't last as long as permanent teeth, your child's first teeth play an important role in his development. While they're in place, these primary teeth help your little one speak, smile and chew properly. They also hold space in the jaw for permanent teeth. If a child loses a tooth too early – due to damage or decay – nearby teeth may encroach on that space, which can result in crooked or misplaced permanent teeth. Also, your child's general health is affected by the oral health of the teeth and gums.
Q: How often does should my child see the pediatric dentist?
A: We generally recommend scheduling check-ups every six months. However every patient is different and depending on the circumstances of your child's oral health, we occasionally recommend more frequent appointments.
Q: How do I make my child's diet safe for his/her teeth ?
A: 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. Limit the amount of snacking your child does throughout the day. Finally, keep in mind that milk and juices also have sugar, please limit these drinks to meal time and consider diluting juices with water to cut down on the amount of sugars consumed.
Q: What should I do if my child has a toothache?
A: 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, rather than placing aspirin on the teeth or gums. Finally, see a dentist as soon as possible.
Q: Toothpaste: When should we begin using it and how much should we use?
A: The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice daily using non-fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Use a "smear" of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child less than 2 years of age. For the 2-5 year old, dispense a "pea-size" amount of fluoridated toothpaste and perform or assist your child while they brush. 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.
Q: How can I protect my child's teeth during sporting events?
A: Soft plastic mouthguards can be used to protect a child's teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sport related injuries. A custom-fitted mouthguard developed by a pediatric dentist will protect your child from injuries to the teeth, face and even provide protection from severe injuries to the head.
Q: How safe are dental x-rays and when should I first have them taken?
A: 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.
We recommend taking x-rays around the age of two or three. The first set consists of simple pictures of the front upper and lower teeth, which familiarizes your child with the process. Once the baby teeth in back are touching each other, then regular (at least yearly) x-rays are recommended. Permanent teeth start coming in around age six and x-rays help us make sure your child's teeth and jaw are healthy and properly aligned. If your child is at a high risk of dental problems, we may suggest having x-rays taken at an earlier age.
Q: What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a tooth?
A: The most important thing to do is remain calm.
f it is a primary or "baby" tooth apply direct pressure to the gum with a clean washcloth or rolled-up piece of gauze. If he's old enough to understand, have him bite down on it gently. Put the tooth in a small plastic bag because the dentist may still want to see it. Then call your dentist, depending on the injury they may simply advice you to put your child on a soft diet for the next 48-72 hours. They may also suggest that you bring your child in for an x ray. This will help him determine whether there's been damage to the nerve or to a secondary tooth, or whether there are missing tooth fragments, which can cause adult teeth to come in crooked. If a baby molar gets knocked out, the dentist may put in spacers to guide in future teeth.
If it is a permanent tooth that gets knocked out, find the tooth. Hold it by the crown rather than the root and try to reinsert it in the socket. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk and take your child and the glass immediately to the pediatric dentist.
Q: What should I do if my child sucks their thumb?
A: The large majority of children suck their thumbs or fingers as infants. Most grow out of it by the age of four without causing any permanent damage to their teeth. If you child continues sucking after permanent teeth erupt, or sucks aggressively, let us know and we can check to see if any problems may arise from the habit.