What is a pediatric dentist?
A children's specialist is a practitioner who, after becoming a general dentist, has completed additional years of post-doctoral training in the recognition and treatment of dental disease in children. This training includes special education in child psychology and the guidance of behavior, preventive techniques and the treatment of the chronically ill or handicapped child. A great deal of time is spent in studying growth and development, and this is applied to the interception of potential problems. Many parents choose a pediatric dentist for their child's needs. It is a misconception that a specialist's fees are automatically higher than a general practitioner's. Careful asking will show most pediatric dentists' fees are comparable with those of general dentists' fees for the same service.
When should a child be seen by a dentist?
Don't wait until he or she has a problem before you make a dental appointment. The child at 18 months is ready for a complete oral examination. By beginning as early as possible, we can minimize your child's dental problems and your dental bills. By introducing the child to dentistry when little or no work is needed, he or she comes away a better patient with a more positive attitude about dentistry.
But will my child be good?
The reason this office and its routine are different than most dental offices is that we make your child feel more comfortable and familiar with his or her new surroundings. Part of our concept is to undo the fears that parents often pass on to their children about going to the dentist.
It is normal for children to be afraid of anything new or strange. Most fear is fear of the unknown. We try to remove the unknown by proceeding at a reasonable pace for the child's age and explaining everything we do in terms the child can understand. Do not be upset if your child is anxious on the first appointment or perhaps even the second. This is a normal reaction for some children.
May I accompany my child?
Yes. We ask that one parent accompany the child in the treatment area. Please only ONE parent at a time. Our treatment area is small.
When you are in the treatment area, please remain a silent observer. If more than one person is talking or directing, the child tends to become confused. Cooperation and trust must be established directly with the child and not through the parent. The child must be treated as an individual, and dentistry with children especially demands concentration.
Why does my child need fluoride?
The tooth is made more resistant to decay by the use of fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral, like calcium or sodium that, when used on a tooth, makes the enamel more decay- resistant. The best way to do this is by fluoridating the drinking water.
Children who drink fluoridated water from birth have up to 65 percent less tooth decay. The benefits are lifelong. Fluoridation programs present the most dental benefits to children because fluoride is incorporated into the structure of the enamel as it is being formed.
Indirectly, fluoridation programs help to reduce the incidence of malocclusion (improper bite). Some malocclusion is the result of premature loss of primary teeth or tooth structure. With less decay, fewer first teeth are lost early. Fluoride also helps to protect the important permanent teeth.
Another way to obtain additional benefits of fluoride is through topical application in the dental office.
Why does my child need X-rays?
We feel that it is our obligation to give the patient the very best in dental care. To accomplish this goal, we must have at our command all
modern diagnostic aids, including X-rays.
Over 60 percent of dental decay is missed by looking at the teeth alone without X-rays. A tooth may even be abscessed without evidence of pain or swelling. Only an X-ray can show this to us. It can also show the condition, size and eruption path of the permanent teeth under the primary teeth.
There are over 200 diseases which occur in the mouth and jaws, some of which are life threatening, and which can be identified only by the use of an X-ray survey.
Thanks to modern X-ray techniques, there is no reason for concern by patients undergoing a dental X-ray examination. This is the opinion of the National Committee on Radiation Protection, U.S. Public Health Service, American Academy of Oral Radiology and the American Dental Association.
As far as safety, we utilize minimum radiation dosage, protective lead aprons and the most modern equipment available.
Why are baby teeth so important?
Often parents don't think primary (baby) teeth are important since they are lost anyway. But, primary teeth need the same care as permanent teeth.
Your child needs healthy primary teeth
- For chewing
- For good speech habits
- For appearance
- To preserve space for the permanent teeth
When will my child lose the primary teeth and when will the permanent teeth come in?
Following is a chart with average figures as a guide. Just because your child is slow in getting his or her teeth does not mean that the teeth will be stronger or weaker. Eruption varies from one child to another. Also, the lower teeth usually erupt before the corresponding upper teeth.
- Primary Teeth
Central Incisor (Front)
Lateral Incisor (Front)
First Molar (Back)
Cuspid (Eye Tooth)
Second Molar (Back)
5 to 7 years
6 to 8 years
8 to 10 years
9 to 11 years
11 to 13 years
- Permanent Teeth
5 to 7 years
6 to 7 years
6 to 8 years
8 to 11 years
11 to 13 years
What if my child injures his teeth?
If your child knocks out a permanent tooth, do not clean it! Rinse the tooth and place it back in the socket from which it was lost. This can usually be done with firm, even pressure. If you are unable to do this, place the tooth in a clean, wet cloth or milk.
In either case, bring your child and the tooth to our office at once. In many cases, the tooth can be re-implanted. Re-implantation must occur within one hour for best results. If a tooth is loosened or broken, it should be examined immediately to see if treatment is needed.
It is possible to prevent many accidental injuries to the teeth by the use of such measures as car seats and safety belts in automobiles and mouth protectors for everyone engaged in contact sports, particularly football. Children can avoid dental injuries by observing safety precautions in running, playing games, drinking water from water fountains and using playground equipment.
My mother has "soft teeth" and I have "soft teeth." Will my child have this also?
For all practical purposes, there is no such thing as "soft teeth" unless you have some rare, hereditary condition.
We don't inherit bad teeth, only bad habits.
There are three things needed for a cavity. A susceptible tooth, the right kind and number of bacteria or "germs" and the right kind of food.
My child doesn't drink milk. Will his or her teeth be weaker?
No. Calcium is, of course, one of the things needed to form good tooth structure. However, cheese, yogurt, almonds, mackerel and egg yolk are as good a source of calcium as milk.
Why shouldn't I put my child to sleep with a bottle or a sippy cup?
Nursing Bottle Syndrome, as the name implies, is produced by giving a child a bedtime or naptime bottle of sweetened liquid after the baby's teeth have erupted. The beverage could be apple juice, sweetened tea, a fruit drink, juice or even milk. Usually, these bottles are used as pacifiers.
The sweetened beverage flows all over the upper teeth and lower back teeth. When the child sleeps, the liquid pools around the teeth, forming continual contact between the sugary beverage and the teeth's bacterial plaque over long hours. This also happens with frequent sipping from a sippy cup during the day. These are perfect situations to cause decay.
What are canker sores?
A canker sore is usually a single, small ulcer in the lining of the mouth. It is probably caused by a virus. Such a sore may occur in the mouth of either a child or an adult. It usually heals within 8 to 10 days. But sometimes children's mouths become seriously infected. Then, gingivitis may develop.
We can treat canker sores to relieve pain associated with them. However, certain kinds tend to persist or come back in spite of any treatment now known.