Part of being a parent is being faced with questions you might have never considered before. Don’t worry! When it comes to your child’s dental health, we have the answers. We’ve put together the most commonly asked questions we hear about dentistry for kids. If you don’t see your question on this page, feel free to reach out to the Shaenfield Pediatric Dentistry team!
A pediatric dentist is a dentist who has completed an additional two to three years of training in children’s dental care after dental school. This specialized experience makes them uniquely qualified to help kids feel comfortable in a dental setting and to understand and treat the specific smile needs of children.
The easiest way to remember when you should take your child to the dentist is to remember the rule of firsts: Bring them in when they get their first tooth or by their first birthday.
When you bring your child in around his first birthday, followed by regular six-month visits, we will soon become part of your child’s circle of friends. This way they will be familiar with our kid-friendly office and experience less anxiety. For older children, make sure they are aware of the appointment in advance, so it isn’t a surprise. There are many good storybooks you can borrow from the library to help them understand a dentist office and how the dentist helps them keep their teeth healthy. For some children, it is helpful to “play dentist” and have a pretend visit at home so they know what to expect.
Just like with your own visits, your kid should see the dentist every six months for routine checkups to prevent cavities and to keep an eye on any dental problems that may have developed.
Baby teeth usually start falling out around age six or seven. The front teeth are the first to go. The molars at the back of the mouth are the last to fall out. Most children lose all of their baby teeth by the time they are around twelve years old. Read more about this important transition in our March 2020 blog.
Even though baby teeth eventually fall out, they’re still very important to your child’s dental development! Not only do healthy primary teeth help your child chew more easily and speak more clearly, but they also serve as guides for where permanent teeth should come in. If a baby tooth falls out too early, it can cause the permanent teeth to shift out of place.
Yes, dental X-rays are safe! According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the amount of radiation with dental X-rays is extremely small. At Shaenfield Pediatric Dentistry, your child’s safety is extremely important to us. Not only do we use digital X-rays that emit significantly less radiation than traditional X-rays, but we also do everything we can to minimize the amount of radiation exposure. We only take dental X-rays when absolutely necessary.
Both having too much fluoride and too little fluoride can be bad for your child’s teeth. Many kids already get the amount they need from their city’s water supply or toothpaste. If we see that your child needs more fluoride to have healthy teeth, we can provide safe and effective fluoride treatments at our dental office.
Cavities are a common occurrence, and if your child has one, we can treat it with a tooth filling. It’s important not to leave cavities untreated because they can eventually cause sensitivity or pain, or lead to a more serious infection. That’s also why even cavities on baby teeth that eventually fall out should be addressed.
Before your child has any teeth, you can clean their gums with a soft cloth and water. Once their teeth erupt, you can use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush them. For children under 2 years old, use a small smear of toothpaste, and for children between 2 and 5 years old, you can use a pea-sized amount.
There are a few important things to consider when choosing a toothpaste for your child. First, the toothpaste should be approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) so you know that it is safe and effective. Before any product gets the ADA Seal of Acceptance, it is scientifically tested by impartial experts and must meet strict standards. This link will take you to a list of ADA approved products. Next, choose a toothpaste that your child will use because if they don’t like the taste of the toothpaste, it will be a battle to get them to brush.
One rule of thumb is that your child can brush and floss their own teeth once they have good enough hand-eye coordination to tie their own shoes. This is usually around the age of 6 or 7.
It’s natural for young children to suck their thumb, but it can pose a problem if they’re still doing it once they get their permanent teeth in. The constant pressure can actually negatively affect the position and alignment of teeth. If your child has not stopped thumb sucking by the time their front teeth come in, contact our team for help breaking the habit.