When should my child first see a dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that the first dental visit occur at the time of the eruption of the first tooth or by age one in an effort to help prevent dental problems.

What is the best way to prevent cavities?

Ensure that children:

  • Brush at least two times a day and floss every night
  • Visit the dentist every 6 months starting with the eruption of the first tooth or by age one
  • Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables
  • Drink Fluoridated water (most tap water contains fluoride)
  • Brush teeth after breastfeeding and/or bottle-feeding at night before bed.
  • Use fluoridated toothpaste (for children under 2 years old use a smear of tooth paste; for children 2-5 years old use a tiny pea sized amount)
  • Don’t eat a lot of candy, sweets, crackers, cookies, or snack frequently throughout the day
  • Don’t drink a lot of juice or milk frequently throughout the day or night (AAPD and AAP recommend only 4 oz. of juice a day)
  • Don’t drink soda or sports drinks
  • Don’t sleep with milk or juice in a bottle or sippy cup.

Why is it important to treat baby teeth that have cavities instead of just pulling (extracting) them or letting them fall out on their own?

The front primary (baby) teeth typically don’t start falling out until age six or seven and the molars in the back don’t fall out until 9, 10, 11, sometimes even as late as 12 years old. The primary teeth help hold the space for the permanent teeth and guide them in as they erupt. If a primary tooth is lost early, the teeth in front and in back of that space can tip/move into the space leaving insufficient room for the permanent tooth to erupt.

Typically if a tooth with a cavity remains untreated, the cavity will continue to grow and eventually will reach the nerve of the tooth. Once the cavity has reached the nerve, pain may develop and over time the nerve will die and the tooth will become infected. Infections can spread from the inside to the outside of the tooth, into the surrounding bone. Eventually, if bad enough, the infection can spread to other parts of the face and body causing facial swellings, fevers, etc. In severe cases dental infections can even become life threatening.

For all of the above reasons, it is important to treat primary teeth that have cavities in an effort to prevent pain, infection, space loss, and to promote overall good health.

Why are X-rays important?

Dental x-rays are used to detect cavities, signs of trauma and/or infection, pathology, and monitor overall growth and development, among various other reasons. Cavities between the teeth start out very small and cannot be seen without x-rays until they become much larger. Therefore, once the teeth are in contact/touching (usually by age 3 or 4), it is important to start taking x-rays to check for cavities between the teeth.

What do I do if my child falls and hits his/her mouth?

Whenever a dental trauma occurs you should immediately call your dentist (unless there is loss of consciousness, in which case you should immediately call 911.) If there is bleeding in and around the mouth/teeth some gauze or a moist towel can be used to put light pressure on the area of the wound to help stop the bleeding. If a permanent tooth is knocked out you should try to place it back into the socket. If you are unable to do so, you should immediately place it in a cup of milk and get to your dentist’s office ASAP. As a reminder we are on call 24 hours a day and can be reached in case of an emergency.

Am I allowed to accompany my child into the treatment room?

All parents are welcome and encouraged to accompany their child into the treatment room.