Frequently Asked Questions


When should I take my child for their first check-up?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Medical Association, recommend that your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday.

When should bottle-feeding be stopped?

Between the ages of 12-14 months. After that, parents put their child at high risk for developing caries.

Are baby teeth really that important for 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 the permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt.

What causes cavities and decay?

Decay is caused by plaque -- a thin, sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria that constantly forms on everyone's teeth. When sugar is eaten, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack the tooth enamel. After repeated acid attacks, the enamel breaks down and a cavity or hole is formed in the tooth.

How can parents help prevent tooth decay?

Regular dental visits are an important part of helping your child stay cavity-free. The dentist can recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing and other treatments for parents to supervise and teach 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.

How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride?

Each child's intake can vary greatly. We recommend discussing this during your child's exam. If your child's fluoride intake is insufficient, we will often prescribe fluoride supplementation.

If my child had a lot of decay in his/her baby teeth, will he/she have the same problem with permanent teeth?

Generally, the health of your child's permanent teeth will be affected by the same conditions that affected the baby teeth. This is another reason why it is important for your child to visit our office on a regular basis.

Why should my child have flouride?

Fluoride has been shown to dramatically decrease the chance of getting cavities. Many adults who grew up with regular dental care and fluoride supplementation have few or no dental problems.

What toothpaste is best for my child?

Any fluoridated toothpaste that is recognized by the American Dental Association is recommended. (However, children under 3 should not generally use a fluoridated toothpaste -- they should use a non-fluoridated infant toothpaste or simply water.

Are thumbsucking and pacifier habits harmful?

Thumb and pacifier habits will generally become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children will stop these habits on their own by the time thet are 3yrs. We will monitor these habits during exams and help you determine if and when a thumb habit appliance may be recommended.

Are dental X-rays safe for my child?

There is very little risk in dental X-rays. Our state-of-the-art digital technology utilizes a fraction of the radiation used in other "film based" dental offices. We utilize lead aprons to ensure safety and minimize radiation. X-rays are highly valuable to find hidden decay, missing teeth, extra teeth, tumors and to help determine growth patters.

What if an adult tooth is coming in and the baby tooth is still in the mouth?

This is a very common problem, especially in the front lower incisors. If the teeth are loose, they may come out on their own within a few weeks. If the baby teeth are not loose, your dentist may need to extract the baby teeth. In either case, it is best to make an appointment with your dentist so that the situation can be analyzed and the best course of action taken for your child.

What are dental sealants?

A dental sealant is a protective, plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of teeth.

Should I protect my child's teeth during sports related activities?

Yes! We generally recommend that a soft plastic mouth guard should be used to protect a child's teeth, lips, and cheeks from injuries. If your child plays contact sports, we can create a custom fitted mouth guard for this purpose.

What should I do if my child knocks out a permanent tooth?

The most important thing to do is to remain calm. If you have the tooth, you should attempt to insert it back into its socket and then contact us immediately. If you have difficulty re-inserting the tooth, place it in a glass of milk and contact us immediately.

Why do my child's permanent teeth look more yellow than the baby teeth?

Permanent teeth are normally more yellow than primary teeth.

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist?

Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. Pediatric dentists have two to three years of specialty training following dental school. General dentists may limit their practice to see children, but they are not specialists. It's like the family doctor calling himself a pediatrician.

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