Got a question about your child's teeth? Well, you've come the right place! Find the answers you need with our list of Frequently Asked Questions below, from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry:
🔘 What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?
A toothbrush will remove carbohydrates in plaque that bacteria consume that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head. If your child’s adjacent teeth touch (Baume II), then those areas should be flossed. If there is space all around the tooth, the tooth brush will clean every surface.
🔘 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. The teeth erupt in their most vulnerable state. Some of the building blocks of the tooth (calcium, phosphate, and hydroxide ions) are missing, and over time will be incorporated from the saliva. Proper dental evaluation and advice is critical to prevent the infection that causes cavities (caries).
🔘 What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?
Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. Dr. John has two years of specialty training following four years of dental school (his general/family dentist training). Pediatric dentists are specialists in behavioral management, trauma management during the different developmental stages of primary and permanent teeth, and providing medications at appropriate doses for children of varying weight. Dr. John, with his double specialization in anesthesiology, is able to safely treat dental infections without psychological trauma to the patients and their families.
🔘 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’s most important is to remember the front 8 baby teeth don’t all fall out until around age 8, and the back 12 baby teeth don’t all fall out until around age 12. While true that “baby teeth fall out” we can’t wait for it to fall out if that wait time is years.
🔘 What should I do if my child has a toothache?
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 and ibuprofen for any pain if they regularly take those medications without issue, rather than placing aspirin on the teeth or gums. Call our office 929-324-1140 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss what medications may be indicated, especially if you are the caretaker of someone with several medical issues.
🔘 Are thumbsucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child's teeth?
Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three skeletal changes become much more likely. Early education, intervention, and prevention of harm is the best approach.
🔘 How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?
Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bed-time bottle. If babies go to sleep with carbohydrates (in all types of milk) on their teeth their risk of cavities is greatly increased. Schedule your first visit with Dr. John early and come in regularly discuss the physiology and biochemistry of the teeth and the things that effect them and proper oral hygiene techniques for you to use at home for decay prevention.
🔘 How often does my child need to see the pediatric dentist?
A check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, Dr. John can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.
🔘 Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use?
The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. 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.
🔘 How do I make my child's diet safe for his teeth?
The acid producing bacteria in your mouth (acidogenic) will always metabolize carbohydrates into lactic acid, the acid that makes you sore when you work out. These bacteria can’t tell if your sugars are from candy, juice, or bread. The key to preventing cavities is to remove the carbohydrate source quickly so that the bacteria don’t get to make acid that pulls apart the teeth (demineralize) for extended periods of time. This will give the building blocks (calcium and phosphate ions) in your spit a chance to build the tooth back up (remineralize).
🔘 How do dental sealants work?
Sealants work by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This 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.
🔘 How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride?
Have your pediatric dentist evaluate the fluoride level of your child's primary source of drinking water. If your child is not getting enough fluoride internally through water (especially if the fluoride level is deficient or if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride), then your pediatric dentist may prescribe fluoride supplements.
🔘 What can I do to protect my child's teeth during sporting events?
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.
🔘 What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth?
The most important thing to do is to remain calm. Then 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.
🔘 How safe are dental X-rays?
To put the safety of dental x-rays (radiographs) in perspective, people that work with radiation every day have a limit of 50,000 microseverts of radiation they can be exposed to a year. This number was chosen as a radiation level a radiation worker may safely receive every year (not a maximum). Eating a banana exposes you to 0.1 microseverts, sleeping next to someone exposes you to 0.4 microseverts, just being alive in the world exposes you to 10 microseverts of background radiation, and a round-trip flight from NYC to LA exposes you to 70 microseverts. Dental x-rays fall in the middle of these every day exposures: A dental x-ray exposes you to 5 microseverts for intraoral radiographs and 20 microseverts for panographs. X-rays are taken to establish a baseline assessment of the areas where the teeth touch, and can’t be visible appreciated (approximately 40 microseverts for all the radiographs). If a person has no cavities they can extend their time between X-rays up to 18 months.
🔘 How can parents help prevent tooth decay?
Parents should take their children to the pediatric dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. Then, the dentist can recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing, and other treatments for parents to supervise and teach to their children. These home treatments, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.
🔘 What is the best toothbrush for kids 9-13? Does the AAPD recommend the Sonic?
By the time your child reaches 9-10 years old, many adult teeth are now present and an adult toothbrush/toothpaste can be used. Any soft-bristled toothbrush should be used two times a day for two minutes.
"Because of Dr. John, I'm not afraid to go to the dentist anymore."
-Gariella, Age 7