A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime.
Pediatric Dental Issues
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.
What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?
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 health needs.
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.
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.
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, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist.
Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bed-time bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child’s teeth. Take your child to a pediatric dentist regularly to have his/her teeth and gums checked. The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child’s first birthday.
A check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your pediatric dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.
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 2 to 5 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.
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. You can also ask your pediatric dentist to help you select foods that protect your children’s teeth.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Parents should take their children to the 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.
It doesn’t have to hurt. Usually it hurts if you try to get your tooth to fall out before it is ready. Sometimes the dentist has to pull your baby tooth out so the adult tooth can grow in. Kids are sometimes scared that this will hurt, but dentists do a great job to make sure that it doesn’t hurt. The strange feeling you feel when your tooth falls out can sometimes be scary, but it doesn’t have to hurt. Just be patient, and the tooth will fall out.
- Singing a song while brushing their teeth
- Letting them play with the toothbrush in order to get used to it in their mouth
- If you are brushing your child’s teeth have them lie on a couch or the floor with their head in your lap
- Incorporate it into your morning and night time routines
- Brush your teeth together
- Use a favorite stuffed animal to “model” brushing, or even have the stuffed animal be the one to hold the toothbrush
- Have them roar like a lion, dinosaur, or bear to get them to open wide
At least twice a day.
The average age for the first tooth to erupt in infants is 6 months. This tooth is the bottom central incisor. Your child should have 20 primary (baby) teeth by 2 ½ to 3 years of age. The first permanent molars, or 6 year molars, come in around the age of 6 and they erupt behind all of the primary teeth. Your child should lose their first tooth (lower central incisor) around the age of 6-7 years. The average age for a child to lose their last baby tooth is 12 years of age.
Sore gums when teeth erupt are part of the normal eruption process. The discomfort is eased for some children by use of a teething biscuit, a piece of toast or a frozen teething ring. Your pharmacy should also have medications that can be rubbed on the gums to reduce the discomfort.
Usually, the space will close in the next few years as the other front teeth erupt. We can determine whether there is cause for concern
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.
We invite you to stay with your child during the initial examination. During future appointments, we suggest you allow your child to accompany our staff through the dental experience. We can usually establish a closer rapport with your child when you are not present. Our purpose is to gain your child’s confidence and overcome apprehension. However, if you choose, you may come with your child to the treatment room. For the safety and privacy of all patients, other children who are not being treated should remain in the reception room with a supervising adult.
The office attempts to schedule appointments at your convenience and when time is available. Preschool children should be seen in the morning because they are fresher and we can work more slowly with them for their comfort. School children with a lot of work to be done should be seen in the morning for the same reason. Dental appointments are an excused absence. Missing school can be kept to a minimum when regular dental care is continued. Since appointed times are reserved exclusively for each patient we ask that you please notify our office 24 hours in advance of your scheduled appointment time if you are unable to keep your appointment. Another patient, who needs our care, could be scheduled if we have sufficient time to notify them. We realize that unexpected things can happen, but we ask for your assistance in this regard.
We try to help your child feel good about visiting the dentist. Our main concern is what is best for your child. For mildly anxious or nervous children, nitrous oxide, or “laughing gas”, can be very effective. If a child is especially fearful or suffers from extreme situational anxiety, we may recommend sedation of general anesthesia in order to ensure the safest delivery of the best possible treatment for your child in a more controlled environment.
Payment for professional services is due at the time dental treatment is provided. Every effort will be made to provide a treatment plan which fits your timetable and budget, and gives your child the best possible care. We accept cash, personal checks, debit cards and most major credit cards.