expand How should I clean my baby's mouth?

For an edentulous infant, a wet washcloth may be used to clean the gum tissue and allow your child to become accustomed to a daily oral hygiene regimen. Once teeth erupt, a small soft-bristled nylon toothbrush should be used twice daily, especially at bedtime. Brushing daily will remove plaque and bacteria that could lead to tooth decay.

expand At what age should my child have their first dental visit?

It is ideal your child see a pediatric dentist by their first birthday in order to screen, educate and review healthy home care habits as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

expand What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a regular family dentist?

Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. Following dental school, a pediatric dentist has two to three additional years of specialty training and limitS their practice to treating children. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special needs.

expand When do the first teeth start to erupt?

On average, the two lower front teeth (central incisors) begin to erupt around 6 months of age, followed by other six upper and lower incisors by 12 months. The remaining canines and molars appear during the following 18-24 months. Some children begin erupting teeth much earlier and some much later.

expand My child appears to be teething. What can I do?

Sore gums, unfortunately, are a normal part of the eruption process. The discomfort may be eased for some children with frozen washcloths, cold teething rings, cool soft foods or beverages or a wet silicone toothbrush. Acetaminophen or ibuprofen may be given if needed. If pain is severe or persistent, contact your pediatric dentist.

expand Are thumb sucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child’s teeth?

Sucking is a natural reflex that soothes and comforts babies and toddlers, but may cause changes to tooth position, mouth shape, speech or swallow pattern. Most children stop these habits on their own between two and four, but your pediatric dentist can evaluate oral changes and suggest habit cessation techniques when appropriate.

expand What type of toothpaste is recommended for my child?

A smear (apple-seed size) of fluoride toothpaste is recommended 1-2 times daily as soon as your child has teeth. Parents or caregivers should be the ones to apply the fluoride toothpaste and it should be kept out of your child’s reach to avoid accidental ingestion. If children are brushing on their own or additional times per day, a safe-to-swallow fluoride-free toothpaste may be used. Once a child can spit, a pea-sized dab of fluoride toothpaste is recommended. Avoid rinsing away toothpaste after brushing for maximal benefit.

expand What are dental sealants and why are they used?

Sealants are a clear resin material applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth with deep grooves, particularly molars, to help keep them cavity-free. Sealants work by filling in the grooved and pitted surfaces of teeth, which are difficult to clean well, and prevent food and bacteria from sitting in these crevices.

expand How can I help protect my child's teeth during sporting events?

Soft, plastic mouthguards should be a top priority on your child's list of sports equipment. Your pediatric dentist may recommend a stock or custom option.

expand How safe are dental x-rays?

With contemporary safeguards, the amount of radiation received in a dental x-ray examination is extremely small. Pediatric dentists are particularly careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. Our office also employs digital radiography, which offers more than 80% reduction in radiation levels.

expand 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, white deposit of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. When you eat, the sugars or starches in food cause bacteria in plaque to produce acids that dissolve tooth enamel. It takes the saliva time to neutralize these acids each time we sip or snack. With time and repeated acid attacks, the enamel breaks down and cavities form.

expand Do cavities in baby teeth need to be treated?

It is very important to maintain the health of primary or “baby” teeth. Primary teeth not only help children speak clearly and chew naturally, but they also aid in forming a path for permanent teeth to follow when they are ready to grow in and permit the normal development of jaw bones and musculature. Primary canines and molars may be necessary until a child is 12-years-old or longer. Neglected cavities may cause pain, infection, or orthodontic issues, and can lead to problems which affect to the developing permanent teeth underneath. Untreated cavities in primary teeth can also increase the risk of developing cavities in permanent teeth. Proper care and treatment of baby teeth is instrumental in enhancing the health of your child.