Frequently Asked Questions
A pediatric dentist is a dentist who has years of training in dental work in general and an additional two years of extensive in-depth training when it comes to how to diagnose and work with children in the dental and/or orthodontic setting. Pediatric dentists specialize in infancy through older teenage years until all the adult teeth have come in. The fact is infants and children need different techniques and have different health considerations when it comes to their teeth than adults and so a pediatric dentist is one who is skilled in offering that insight and advising on the proper treatment options for your child.
The answer will vary but the truth of the matter is that it can actually be beneficial to visit an orthodontic or pediatric dental office even before your child is born. That may sound strange but helping take care of oral needs happens long before your child even has their first tooth. Infants, even newborns, need to help maintain their oral health and while a pre-birth visit will be more for you than the child, ultimately learning how to take care of the gums and oral health needs of your newborn can help set them on the right path to a future of oral health success.
After that visit though, usually most children will visit their dentist around the time their first teeth begin to come in at about 6 months to 1 year. By beginning early, you offer your pediatric dental office the best opportunity at spotting any potential issues long before they can become expensive or distressing to your child.
Most offices and the American Dental Association all recommend that it is best for a child to visit their local pediatric orthodontic or dental office about twice a year for checkups and cleaning. Your dentist will be able to spot any soft spots before they become large cavities, and your child will have healthy teeth and gums.
While many adults have the idea that they only really need to start worrying about their child’s dental needs once adult teeth are coming in, nothing could be further from the truth as helping to protect the teeth of infants and children is an essential part of their health and well-being.
Cavities, even in baby teeth, can become infected and start to cause severe pain, lead to infections, and can also potentially cause issues with the adult teeth coming in. Also, making sure that children’s teeth fall out when they’re supposed to and the adult teeth come in appropriately is an essential aspect for your pediatric dental office and is an important reason why visits need to happen on a regular basis.
While your child may be fine without an x-ray, utilizing radiographs is the only way to ensure that there are no potential issues lying below the gum line. The fact is x-rays are a tried and true medical technology in use for over a century and without the use of x-rays, some important dental or orthodontic issues can be missed by a visual inspection.
X-rays allow an in-depth look at where cavities might start to develop below the gums and even help dentists catch cavities that have been missed. Dental x-rays are also useful for evaluating how teeth are developing, whether adult teeth are coming in at the correct angles, checking for trauma or injury, and overall help keep track of your child’s oral health development.
Also, modern x-rays are much safer than their older counterparts were. The radiation dose is a fraction of what it used to be. You can always ask for a lead apron to be used while the x-rays are being taken to lower the radiation dose even further.
Essentially these dental tools are materials that are applied to the chewing surfaces of a child’s teeth and they can help form an artificial barrier between foods, especially acidic foods, and your child’s teeth. They are essential in helping to prevent teeth decay in children for whom that is a concern. Utilizing sealants can help keep your child happy, healthy, and pain-free especially if developing cavities runs in your family.
A crown is just that – it is a cap made from either dental porcelain or metal that covers a tooth that may have had a chip or had a significant cavity in it. Crowns are often used over teeth that have had root canals performed on them. You might think that having a crown on a milk tooth is unnecessary, but it really isn’t. Though that tooth won’t be around for long, the adult tooth in the jaw below will be, and caring for the milk tooth will ensure that it stays healthy and no infection will start that could potentially spread.
Fillings come in two styles – amalgam and composite. The amalgam is a mix of metals that are often stronger than the composite resin materials, so they are better suited for bite surfaces or larger cavities. Composite resins can be matched to the color of the teeth so they blend in better and are often used on lower teeth as a result. Both provide protection for the tooth from any further damage caused by tooth decay.
The great news is that not only is there an option there are many options. Both tooth fillings and a false tooth can be shaded nearly any color to help match your child’s natural teeth. This can most often happen if there is a cavity in one of the adult teeth that is too large or goes too deep and reaches the nerve. In this case, either a crown, a filling, or a total replacement may be needed for the tooth in which case you will be able to take a look at the different color options available to ensure that your child gets a color that matches their natural beautiful smile.
Yes! It is essential that children’s oral discomfort be taken seriously. One of the best things that an individual can do if they have a toothache or soreness is to clean the area gently and then utilize a warm salt water to rinse and spit out any food that may have become lodged. It is important not to utilize gum or painkillers for an aching tooth. If the pain continues or the face begins to swell, schedule an emergency dental visit with your pediatric dentist.
If your child accidentally knocked out one of their permanent teeth, gently clean out the area with a little bit of warm salt water and put something cold like a bag of peas or ice wrapped in a towel on the outside of the injured area. If any portion of the tooth has been knocked out save those fragments by placing them in milk and reach out to our office for an emergency dental visit. The sooner you can get in, the better the chances of saving the tooth and being able to restore the area.