How Should I Clean My Baby’s Teeth?
A toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head is the ideal choice for infants. Brushing at least once a day—most importantly at bedtime—will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay.
At What Age Should My Child Have His/Her First Dental Visit?
“First visit by first birthday” is the general rule. To prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist six months after the eruption of the first tooth, or by their first birthday.
See our service page about first dental visits for more information.
Why Should My Child See a Pediatric Dentist Instead of Our Regular Family Dentist?
Pediatric dentistry is a dental specialty that focuses on the oral health of young people. Following dental school, a pediatric dentist has 2–3 years of additional specialty training in the unique needs of infants, children, and adolescents, making them far more qualified to help developing young teeth.
What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay and How Can I Prevent It?
Baby bottle tooth decay is a pattern of rapid decay associated with prolonged feeding. It happens when a child goes to sleep while breast-feeding and/or bottle-feeding. During sleep, the flow of saliva is reduced and the natural self-cleansing action of the mouth is diminished.
Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bedtime bottle. Encourage your child to drink from a cup as they approach their first birthday. For ideal dental health, they should be weaned from the bottle or breast at 12–14 months of age.
Can Thumb-Sucking Be Harmful for My Child’s Teeth?
Thumb and pacifier sucking habits that go on for a long period of time can create crowded, crooked teeth or bite problems. If they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers when the permanent teeth arrive, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist.
Most children stop these habits on their own, but it may be necessary to encourage them to stop before their permanent teeth begin to appear.
What Are Dental Sealants and How Do They Work?
Sealants are clear or shaded material applied to the teeth to help keep them cavity-free. Sealants fill in the grooved and pitted surfaces of the teeth—which can be hard to clean—and shut out food particles and bacteria that could get caught. They are fast and comfortable to apply, and can effectively protect teeth for many years.
When Should My Child Start Using Toothpaste?
Current guidelines recommend using a “grain-of-rice” sized dab of fluoridated toothpaste for children under age three. After age three, parents should still supervise brushing. Use no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and make sure children do not swallow excess toothpaste.
If My Child Gets a Toothache, What Should I Do?
Ibuprofen or Tylenol are usually the best medicines for dental pain. Some foods—especially cold, sweet foods—can cause additional pain and should be avoided until the pain is addressed. Any dental pain should receive prompt attention. See us as soon as possible to relieve that pain and get the underlying causes treated.
Is My Child Getting Enough Fluoride?
Fluoride has been shown to make teeth much stronger, thus dramatically decreasing a person’s chances of getting cavities. Fluoride in the drinking water is the easiest way to get it, but to make sure your child is getting enough fluoride, you can have us evaluate the fluoride level of your child’s primary source of water.
If your child is not getting enough fluoride internally through water, we may prescribe fluoride supplements. This might be especially necessary in communities where the water district does not fluoridate the water or if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride.
How Safe Are Dental X-Rays?
With contemporary safeguards, such as lead aprons and digital sensors, the amount of radiation received in a dental x-ray examination is extremely small. Even though there is very little risk, pediatric dentists are particularly careful to minimize the exposure of child patients to radiation.
This is especially true now that we have entered the digital age. Digital x-rays are safer than ever. In fact, dental x-rays represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem.
My Child Plays Sports. How Should I Protect My Child’s Teeth?
A mouthguard should be a top priority on your child’s list of sports equipment. Athletic mouth protectors, or mouthguards, are made of soft plastic and fit comfortably to the shape of the upper teeth. They protect a child’s teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums from sports-related injuries. Ask us about recommendations for a mouthguard specific to your child’s needs.
When Do the First Teeth Start To Erupt?
At about six months old, the two lower front teeth (central incisors) usually erupt, followed shortly by the two upper central incisors. The remainder of the baby teeth appear during the next 18–24 months, often in a somewhat random sequence. At 2–3 years old, all twenty primary teeth should be present.
What Should I Do if My Child Knocks Out a Permanent Tooth?
First of all, remain calm, and call us right away for an emergency dental appointment. While preparing for your appointment, follow these steps:
- If possible, find the tooth and hold it by the crown rather than the root.
- As gently as possible, rinse the tooth, replace it in the socket, and hold it there with clean gauze or a washcloth.
- If you can’t put the tooth back in the socket, place the tooth in a clean container with milk.
- Take your child and the glass immediately to our office.
The faster you act, the better your chances of saving the tooth!
How Can I Help My Child Through the Teething Stage?
Sore gums are part of the normal tooth 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.
I Noticed a Space Between My Child’s Two Upper Front Teeth. Is This Cause for Concern?
Usually, the space will close in the next few years as the permanent front teeth erupt. However, we can always take a look to determine whether there is cause for concern.
If My Child Gets a Cavity in a Baby Tooth, Should it Still Be Filled?
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.
In fact, some of them are necessary until a child is 12 years old or older. Twelve years is a long time to live with the pain, infection of the gums and jaws, impairment of general health, and premature loss of teeth that can happen when baby teeth are neglected.
Additionally, tooth decay is caused by an infection that will spread to other teeth—including the developing adult teeth—damaging them as well. Proper care of baby teeth is instrumental in enhancing the health of your child and their permanent teeth.
What Causes Tooth Decay?
Four things are necessary for cavities to form—a tooth, bacteria, sugars or other carbohydrates, and time.
Dental plaque is a thin, sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria that constantly forms on everyone’s teeth. When you eat, the sugars in your food cause the bacteria in plaque to produce acids that attack the tooth enamel. With time and repeated acid attacks, the enamel breaks down and a cavity forms.
Don’t See Your Question Here? Call Us Today!
We want you to always be comfortable and well-informed in our office. Call Christensen Pediatric Dental today with any other questions you may have about your child’s dental care, and we’ll be happy to help!