Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
How should I care for my child’s new teeth?
If your child’s teeth haven’t come in yet, start by gently scrubbing your child’s gums with a piece of gauze or a soft, wet washcloth. Once their teeth have come in, use an appropriate size toothbrush and just a very small amount of toothpaste to clean the front and back of each tooth.
When should I schedule my child’s first dental checkup?
Your child’s first visit shouldn’t wait until he or she has a full set of baby teeth. Instead, their first visit should come the moment their first tooth comes in.
How are pediatric dentists and family dentists different?
A family dentist treats older children and adults, while a pediatric dentist must complete two or three more years of training beyond the four required for dental school. This extra training will equip the doctor to meet the specific needs of infants, children, and adolescents.
What are my options for finding a pediatric dentist where I live?
The Internet is a great resource for finding a pediatric dentist in your hometown. One simple way of finding a doctor who can care for your child is by going to Google, Bing, or another search engine and typing in the words “pediatric dentist,” plus the name of your city or town. You will also find a helpful link on the homepage for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
How important are baby teeth?
Baby teeth help children chew and speak properly, in addition to preparing the way for permanent teeth later on.
My child has a toothache. What should I do?
If your child is complaining of a toothache, we recommend flossing as a first step before anything else. Following that, try rinsing the area with warm water or a salt water combination. A cold compress or cold pack can alleviate swelling, if there is any. If the toothache persists, administer Tylenol, Advil, or apply a small amount of an over-the-counter anesthetic containing benzocaine. Be careful how much you administer, though, and avoid giving any to a child under two years old. You should never, under any circumstances, put aspirin directly on the tooth or the gums. This can cause soft tissue damage and even lead to a fatal disease known as Reye’s syndrome.
Will thumb sucking or pacifier use harm my child’s teeth?
Thumb sucking is a common, and very natural, habit among young children. Through thumb sucking, children gain a sense of security and start to become aware of themselves and the world around them. But, like other habits, sucking a thumb, finger, or pacifier can become problematic if it goes on for too long.
How can I nurse my child without increasing the risk of decay?
Avoid giving your child milk or juice at bedtime. Give him or her water to drink instead. Brushing your child’s teeth twice daily is also important, as are regular visits with a pediatric dentist.
How often should my child visit a pediatric dentist for care?
When children are just beginning to develop teeth, it’s sometimes recommended that they see a pediatric dentist every four months. In general, though, children should see a dentist as often as an adult does, which is about twice a year. If our pediatric dentist sees that your little one has an increased risk of decay or a growth pattern that needs to be closely monitored, more frequent visits may be recommended.
At what point should my child start using toothpaste, and how much is safe to use?
You should start using a toothbrush and tooth paste when your child’s first tooth emerges. You don’t need very much toothpaste, though. Just a small amount is enough.
How can a healthy diet help my child’s teeth?
Caring for your child’s teeth with brushing and (when he/she’s older) flossing is important, but it’s only part of what you need to do as a parent to help your child build strong, healthy teeth. Creating a balanced, nutritious diet for your little one is just as important. We recommend that your child receive one serving of the following each day: fruits, veggies, breads/cereals, milk/dairy, meat/fish/eggs.
What are dental sealants and how do they work?
Dental sealants physically protect teeth from bacteria and decay. They’re applied as a liquid and then dried to provide special protection that can last for years.
How can I tell if my child is getting enough fluoride?
Fluoride protects teeth by supplying the enamel with important nutrients and minerals. Our doctors can help you understand how much fluoride your child is getting with a regular oral exam and consultation. Toothpaste is one important source of fluoride, but many communities also add fluoride to their water supply.
What option do I have for protecting my child’s teeth during sporting events?
The best way to protect your child’s mouth during a sporting event is with a custom-made athletic mouthguard.
What steps should I take if my child loses a permanent tooth?
Retrieve the tooth, making sure to hold it by the crown instead of the root. Then, gently clean it with water, but don’t scrub it or use any soap on it—water is all you need. When the tooth is clean, try to reinsert it into the socket it came from. If that’s not possible, store it in a container of cool milk or water. Preserving the tooth in a safe but moist environment will increase the likelihood that it can be reattached. During this time, call your child’s pediatric dentist. Receiving care as soon as possible is important.
Are dental X-rays safe?
Dental x-rays pose very little risk for young patients. That’s because of the great care that pediatric dentists take to protect them. Lead aprons provide effective protection from radiation while high-speed film works quickly to collect the images we need. With digital dental X-rays, there is no film, and patients are exposed to an even lower amount of radiation than with traditional devices. All of which means that, when your child sees one of our Kidtastic pediatric dentists for care, you don’t have to worry about the effect of X-rays.
What role do parents have in preventing decay?
Bringing your child in for regular visits and teaching him or her how to brush at home are two of the most important things parents can do. Teaching your child about good nutrition can also help.