Do you have questions about your child’s dental visit? We have answers. Here are few of the questions parents ask most often. If you don’t see yours, or would like more information, please don’t hesitate to ask us in person. We’re here to help.
1. When should my child first visit the dentist?
You should bring your child in by his first birthday. A pleasant first visit puts your child at ease and fosters a trusting and confident relationship with his dentist which will continue throughout adulthood. Children who have their first dental visit by age one most often have far lower costs of necessary dentistry in the first five years. An early visit helps us identify potential issues and we can partner with you in helping your child achieve lifelong dental health.
2. How should I clean my baby’s teeth?
Using a soft cloth to wipe gums, and a soft-bristled infant toothbrush with a tiny bit of toothpaste is the best method. Be sure not to put your baby to bed with anything other than water in his bottle – acids and sugars from juice and milk can cause cavities in baby teeth and a loss of enamel.
3. How is a Pediatric Dentist different than a regular dentist?
A Pediatric Dentist has had years of additional specialized training specific to the unique needs of your child’s mouth. They are also trained to communicate with children in a way that makes kids confident and comfortable with any needed treatment or procedures.
4. Is thumb sucking harmful? What about pacifiers?
It can be, depending on the age of the child. Babies and toddlers often suck their thumb, and most parents wouldn’t even try to do without a pacifier. However, as your child begins to leave toddlerhood behind, serious consequences can occur from continued thumb sucking. Around age four is the suggested time to begin to address the subject. Stopping by this age reduces the chance of your child having long-term issues in terms of growth of his mouth and jaw. School age children may face derision from their peers as a result of thumb sucking. Pacifiers, while a great help for little ones, can also affect the permanent teeth as they come in. A pacifier dipped in any substance, for example honey, can cause tooth decay.
5. Which toothpaste is best for my child?
One designed specifically for children. They are non-abrasive, gentle formulas. We recommend toothpaste containing fluoride because Nevada County’s drinking water does is not treated with additional fluoride. In general, children do better with smaller tubes of toothpaste as they are easier for small hands to use.
6. What does fluoride do for my child’s teeth?
The use of fluoride offers three very important benefits:
a) Fluoride re-mineralizes the tooth. It will harden the enamel after the initial acid exposure and can reverse small cavities.
b) It causes Hypermineralization, which is hardening of the tooth to make it more resistant to acid attack.
c) Fluoride will inhibit bacterial growth on your child’s teeth
7. Why do you recommend sealants for my child and how do they work?
A sealant makes it less likely for your child to develop cavities in the pits and grooves of chewing surfaces. A resin-based sealant can reduce cavities by nearly 80%, and typically lasts around 3 years.
8. How often should my child see the dentist?
It varies from child to child. Dr. K will make recommendations based on your child’s unique dental health needs. Most kids see the dentist every 6 months, if they have a healthy mouth and good habits.
9. How does diet affect my child’s teeth?
Diet affects your child’s teeth in a profound way. Not only is good general health reflected in teeth, eyes, skin and hair, we find that the choice of between meal snacks is one that can make the difference between a mouth full of cavities and one that is cavity-free. It is also critical to try to keep your child on an eating and brushing routine. Children who frequently ‘graze’ are at a much higher risk for cavities than those who eat regular meals. On our ‘Just for Kids‘ page, you will find a great snack chart you may download and print for your child to help him stay on track.
10. If my child needs to have some baby teeth removed, will that affect the permanent teeth?
Baby teeth act as ‘placeholders’ for permanent teeth and removing them prematurely may affect the spacing of adult teeth. Baby teeth also help your child speak clearly and chew food more naturally. If Dr. K has recommended that your child have some baby teeth removed, she’ll discuss the reasons for that recommendation and the potential consequences with you.
11. My child’s baby teeth look crooked. Will she need braces?
It is certainly possible. Based on a number of long-term studies, if there is not enough room for baby teeth your child will very likely not have enough room for his permanent teeth. During what is called the ‘mixed dentition’ stage – where your child has both baby and permanent teeth in his mouth, it is common for teeth to look slightly crowded. As a part of your child’s routine examinations, Dr. K will keep a close watch on any changes to your child’s baby teeth and jaw to ensure that other issues aren’t a problem.
12. What do I do if my child knocks out a tooth?
Please see our Trauma section under ‘Services‘. Of course, call us right away. If the tooth is completely knocked out, try to return it to its socket and hold a soft cloth on it until you get to our office. If you cannot return the tooth to its socket, handle it by the crown, not the root, carefully rinse it in warm water and place it in a small container of milk until you arrive. If you act quickly enough, we can often save a permanent tooth. Most often, we don’t try to re-implant baby teeth that have been knocked out, but your child still needs an exam to ensure there is no damage to the adjoining teeth or jaw.
13. Why are cavities in baby teeth serious when they are going to lose these teeth anyway?
There are many reasons. Cavities left untreated in baby teeth can lead to serious infections. They can also cause your child great pain. Bacteria from poor dental hygiene and decay in baby teeth can cause cavities in permanent teeth. It is far easier (and less expensive overall) to treat baby teeth just as judiciously as permanent teeth.
14. What kind of filling material will you use on my child’s teeth?
In general, we recommend amalgam (metal) fillings for your child’s teeth. The amalgams last far longer and are much more durable than are resin-based composite fillings. For very small cavities, composite fillings may be fine. Dr. K will make a recommendation for your child based on the size and location of the decay.
15. How can I teach my child how to brush properly?
Thanks for asking! This is so important to your child’s lifelong oral health. On our Just for Kids page, we have a colorful tooth brushing chart you may download and print, which comes complete with instructions in child-friendly language. Your child will have fun and learn at the same time!
16. Are dental x-rays safe for my child?
We perform x-ray imaging when there is a clear need to do so and a benefit to your child. At times, x-rays are necessary to make a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. The amount of radiation your child receives with a dental x-ray is very small – he will get far more radiation on an airplane ride across the country.