Q. When should a child first visit the dentist?
A. We recommend the first visit occur between the child’s first and second birthdays. Not all one year old babies have teeth, but this is no reason to delay planning their first visit. The first visit is a “get acquainted” opportunity at which time the dentist will discuss infant oral hygiene, suckling habits, diet and nutrition, and make recommendations for fluoride supplementation. Children are then typically seen on an annual basis until they’re ready for periodic hygiene and re-care visits.
Q. When should thumb sucking, pacifiers, and/or sippy cups be discontinued?
A. Non-nutritive suckling habits, such as finger sucking, pacifiers, or baby blankets, should be discouraged and/or discontinued by the age of two years. These external forces can have detrimental effects on the positioning of the developing primary teeth and jaws thereby requiring early intervention of bite problems. Beakered cups or sippy cups should be discontinued by two years with encouragement to transition to a regular cup or glass. All too often beakered cups contain sugared liquids, which promote decay formation due to the swallowing dynamics inherent with beakered containers.
Q. What should I do in case of a dental emergency?
A. An emergency is any condition or event which results in damage or pain to the teeth or jaws. If you feel your child has injured him/herself sufficiently to cause pain or structural damage to their mouths, a call to our office is warranted. If you observe redness, swelling, or pain associated with any of their teeth or gums, a call to our office is warranted. Our staff is trained to receive your call and direct your concern to the appropriate doctor or technical staff. Our emergency call service operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. For more information, please visit our Dental Emergencies page. We are here to attend to your child’s immediate needs.
Q. What can we expect during a visit to your office?
A. Thank you for your interest in visiting Pediatric Dentistry! To learn more about what you can expect, please visit the Your First Visit page.
Q. Why should my child see a pediatric dentist?
A. The pediatric dentist has two or three years of post-graduate training beyond dental school which prepares him or her for the special needs of children. Part of the educational emphasis of post-graduate training focuses on child psychology, growth and development, interceptive orthodontics, and dentistry for the child with disabilities. Just as pediatricians are specially trained to treat the medical needs of children, pediatric dentists provide children with the highest degree of dental expertise.
Q. Why should baby teeth be restored?
A. The obvious benefits of maintaining a healthy set of teeth range from enjoying a varied diet to presenting a beautiful smile. Basically, we need our teeth to promote a healthy life. The primary dentition (baby teeth) should not be neglected just because it will be replaced by the permanent dentition (adult teeth). Primary teeth are critical in facial, speech, and emotional development. Dental disease in the child can also be an impediment to proper learning. It’s been estimated that school children from 5 to 17 years of age miss nearly two million school days in a single year due to dental related problems.
Q. What is the difference between plastic and silver fillings?
A. Choosing between a white (plastic) or alloy (silver) filling to restore a decayed tooth can be confusing. Both types of fillings are composites. White fillings are a combination of resin, glass, and crystalline fillers. Alloy fillings are a combination of metals with silver and tin being most predominant. Obvious differences are their aesthetic character and strength. White fillings are aesthetically pleasing, often matching the tooth color perfectly, but have a distinct wear pattern which limits their longevity in the mouth. Alloy fillings are strong, typically durable for many years, but can be aesthetically displeasing when placed too close to the front of the mouth. One of the greatest advantages of white fillings is their inclusion of fluoride as a component of their composite nature. The fluoride in white fillings has been shown to “escape” into surrounding tooth structure thereby strengthening the tooth and improving its decay resistance. The proper restoration for your child will always be discussed with you prior to an operative visit.
Q. Are X-rays always necessary for my child?
A. X-rays are not routinely taken on any child. In fact, unless a dental condition exists warranting further investigation, radio graphs on children under five years of age are discouraged. Older children may receive X-rays to confirm decay, evaluate their dental development, or confirm the presence or absence of wisdom teeth. Feel free to discuss your concerns with the doctors at any time.
Q. Where can I access care for my special needs child?
A. Special needs children, those with mental and/or physical compromises, are a joy and privilege to serve. Our doctors are trained specialists in providing dental care to the medically compromised individual. Our facilities are wheelchair accessible, and your special child will be treated with the highest standard of care and the dignity they deserve. Please alert our staff if you or your child requires any specific attention.