What is a Pediatric Dentist?

A pediatric dentist is the pediatrician of dentistry. They receive an additional two or three years of specialized training beyond the four years of dental school. They are dedicated to the oral health of infants, children, adolescents and patients with special health care needs. Their specialization allows them to provide treatment for a wide variety of children’s dental problems such as dental decay, facial growth and development, as well as emergency care.

When Should Your Child First Visit the Dentist?

The Canadian Dental Association recommends that a child’s first dental visit should occur by his/her 1st birthday. This visit will enable Dr. A to meet your child and to discuss proper oral hygiene, diet, thumb/pacifier habits, tooth eruption, and fluoride. Many dental conditions can be avoided or reduced with early education and guidance.

How Often Should My Child Visit the Dentist?

The Canadian Dental Association recommends that most children visit the dentist at least twice a year. Some children need more frequent care because of increased risk of tooth decay, unusual growth patterns, or poor oral hygiene. Dr. A will help determine the best schedule for your child. Regular visits will help your child remain cavity-free and allow for ongoing assessment of changes in your child’s oral health.

Why are Primary Teeth important?

Although the first primary teeth are lost around 6 years of age, back molars remain until 11-12. Primary teeth are required for proper chewing, speech, esthetics, and to hold space for permanent teeth. Neglected cavities may lead to pain, infection, and space loss and affect the development of the permanent teeth.

How do I Prevent Cavities?

Good oral hygiene removes bacteria and the leftover food particles that combine to create cavities. For infants, use a wet washcloth to wipe the plaque from the gums and teeth. For older children, brush at least twice a day and limit sugary snacks. Flossing should begin once there is no longer space between your child’s teeth. Make sure your child gets enough fluoride through drinking water, fluoride products, or supplements if needed. Consult with your pediatric dentist as to the proper amount of fluoride needed. Have sealants applied to the chewing surfaces of the permanent back teeth. And finally, don’t forget that routine visits will start your child on a lifetime of good dental health.

What are Sealants?

A sealant is a clear or shaded plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces (grooves) of the back teeth (premolars and molars), where four out of five cavities in children are found. Permanent molars are most susceptible to cavities because of plaque accumulating in the grooves of the chewing surfaces. Sealants act as a barrier to food, plaque and acid, thus protecting the decay-prone areas of the teeth.

What if My Child Has a Dental Emergency?

If your child has an accident, please call our office as soon as possible. We will see your child immediately. If it is an after hours emergency our answering machine will connect you with Dr. A.

What is Nitrous Oxide?

Nitrous oxide (Laughing gas) is a safe effective way to calm a mildly anxious child during the restorative visit. Your child remains fully conscious and alert while breathing the laughing gas.

Are There Different Dental Needs for Special Needs Children?

Many times special children are more susceptible to tooth decay, gum disease, and facial growth abnormalities. Because of this, it is important that these children are seen early and started on a preventive oral health program which will address their special dental needs. Dr. A has received extensive training in the treatment of special needs children and understands that all children deserve a healthy, beautiful smile.

Why Are Mouth Guards Important?

Mouth guards are made of soft plastic and help protect the teeth, lips, cheeks and tongue from injury during sports. They also help reduce the risk of concussions and jaw fractures. A mouth guard should be worn anytime there is a risk of falls or head contact with other players or equipment. It is important to remember any mouth guard is better than no mouth guard. Many sports stores offer pre-formed or “boil and bite” mouth guards which offer protection but are often uncomfortable. Dr. A can make a customized mouth guard that is more comfortable and more effective at preventing injuries.

At what age is it appropriate to use toothpaste to clean my child’s teeth?

Once your child has a few teeth, you can start using toothpaste on the brush. Use only a tiny amount for each cleaning, and be sure to choose toothpaste without fluoride for children under two, because too much fluoride can be dangerous for very young children.

Always have your child rinse and spit out toothpaste after brushing, to begin a lifelong habit he or she will need after graduating to fluoride toothpaste. Children naturally want to swallow toothpaste after brushing, but swallowing too much fluoride toothpaste can cause teeth to stain. You should brush your child’s teeth until he or she is ready to take on that responsibility, which usually happens by age six or seven.

What causes cavities?

Certain types of bacteria live in our mouths. When these bacteria come into contact with sugary foods left behind on our teeth after eating, acids are produced. These acids attack the enamel on the exterior of the teeth, and eventually eat through the enamel to create holes in the teeth, which we call cavities.

How can I help my child avoid cavities?

Make sure your child brushes his or her teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Flossing daily is also important, because flossing can reach spots between the teeth that brushing can’t. Check with Dr. A about a fluoride supplement that helps tooth enamel become harder and more resistant to decay.

Avoid sugary foods and drinks, limit snacking, and maintain a healthy diet. And finally, make regular appointments so we can check the health of your child’s teeth and perform professional cleanings.

What should I do if my child sucks a thumb?

A large majority of children suck their thumbs or fingers as infants, and most grow out of it by the age of four without causing any permanent damage to teeth. If your child continues sucking after permanent teeth erupt, or he or she sucks aggressively, let us know and we can check to see if any problems may arise from the habit.