FAQ

When will my child get his/her first teeth?

Children usually get their first teeth between six and eight months. However, some get them earlier and some later.

 

When should a child have his/her first dental appointment?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children visit the dentist by their first birthday. This will allow the dentist to diagnose any special oral conditions early.

 

How can I help prevent my child from getting cavities?

Good oral hygiene removes bacteria and the leftover food particles that combine to create cavities. For infants, use a wet gauze or clean washcloth to wipe the plaque from teeth and gums. Avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle filled with anything other than water. For older children, brush their teeth at least twice a day. Also, limit the number of sugary snacks they eat.The America Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends visits every six months beginning at your child’s first birthday. Routine visits will start your child on a lifetime of good dental health.Your dentist may recommend protective sealants or home fluoride treatments for your child. A sealant is a clear or shaded plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, where four out of five cavities in children are found.

 

Are baby teeth important?

Yes. Cavities in primary teeth often lead to problems which affect permanent teeth.Besides being necessary for proper chewing, primary teeth provide space for permanent teeth and guide them into the correct position. They allow for normal development of jaw bones and muscles. Finally, primary teeth affect your child’s ability to speak. Children usually have their primary teeth until anywhere from 10-13 years old. Caring for them is very important.

 

When and how do you brush baby teeth?

Begin daily brushing as soon as the child’s first tooth appears. Start by using a soft cloth and water. Do not use toothpaste before the child is one.From ages 1-3, use a soft toothbrush and a very small amount of non-fluoridated toothpaste. A pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste can be used after the child is old enough not to swallow it. By 4 or 5, children should be able to brush their own teeth twice a day.When teaching children to brush, place a soft-bristle toothbrush at a 45 degree angle and start along the gum line with a gentle circular motion. Brush the outer surfaces of each tooth, upper and lower. Use the same method on the inside surfaces and chewing surfaces of all the teeth. Finish by brushing the tongue to remove bacteria.

 

Is flossing important? How do you floss children’s teeth?

Flossing removes plaque between the teeth where a toothbrush cannot reach. Flossing should begin as soon as any two teeth touch. Use about 18 inches of floss, winding most of it around the middle fingers of both hands. Hold the floss lightly between the thumbs and forefingers. Use a gentle back and forth motion to guide the floss between the teeth. Curve the floss into a C-shape and slide it into the space between the gum and tooth until you feel resistance. Gently scrape the floss against the side of the tooth and repeat this procedure on each tooth.

 

When do children lose their teeth?

Most children start losing their front primary teeth around 6 or 7. The teeth in back are usually not replaced with adult teeth until the child is 10 to 13.

 

What is baby bottle decay?

This is a serious form of tooth decay among infants and young children. It’s caused by frequent exposure to liquids that contain sugar, such as milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice and other sweetened drinks.Putting a baby to bed with a bottle filled with anything but water can cause rapid tooth decay. Doing this allows sugary liquid to pool around the teeth, this nourishes bacteria that produce acids that attach to the tooth enamel.

If you must give the baby a bottle at bedtime, it should contain only water.

Be careful of sweet drinks in “sippy” cups, too. They can also cause sugary liquids to collect around your child’s teeth, producing harmful acids.

 

Do foods affect teeth?

Yes. Like the rest of the body, teeth, jawbones and the soft tissues of the mouth need a well-balanced diet.Most snacks children eat can lead to cavities. The more frequently a child snacks, the greater the chance for tooth decay. How long food remains in the mouth is also a factor. For example, hard candy and breath mints stay in the mouth a long time, leading to longer acid attacks on tooth enamel.

It’s wise to choose nutritious foods such as vegetables, low-fat yogurt or low-fat cheeses. These are better for children’s teeth.

 

Will thumb or pacifier sucking affect my child’s teeth?

It’s likely. Sucking a thumb or pacifier may result in crowded, crooked teeth that require braces in adolescence. If your child has a thumb- or pacifier-sucking habit it is important that you control it as soon as possible.

 

If my child gets sealants, does that mean she won’t get cavities?

A sealant is a clear or shaded plastic material applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where four out of five cavities in children are found. The sealant acts as a barrier to food, plaque and acid and helps protect the teeth. Of course, sealants are only part of the solution. Even with sealants, children must continue to brush, floss and eat a healthy diet to keep cavities away.

 

Are x-rays important? Are they safe?

Radiographs (x-rays) are a necessary part of the dental diagnostic process. X-rays may be needed to survey erupting teeth, diagnose bone diseases, evaluate the results of an injury, or explore potential orthodontic treatment.The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends children receive x-rays and examinations every six to 12 months. Dentists are particularly careful to minimize exposure to radiation. With modern safeguards, the amount of radiation received in a dental x-ray examination is extremely small. Today’s equipment filters out unnecessary x-rays and restricts the x-ray beam to the area of interest. High speed film and proper shielding assure that your child incurs only a minimal amount of exposure.

 

Are silver fillings safe?

Both silver fillings and composite (white) fillings are safe for your child.

 

When should my child get braces?

The American Association of Orthodontics recommends children see an orthodontist for an initial exam by age 7 in order to determine if, and when, treatment to correct issues with teeth alignment should begin.Orthodontics treatment is seldom undertaken before 10. More commonly, it begins after 13, when the permanent teeth are in and growth of the jaw is complete.