Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child’s first visit to the dentist occur by 12 months of age. This visit will enable the dentist to evaluate your child, formulate a preventive home care plan, review oral habits, trauma prevention and address growth and development issues.
A check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your pediatric dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.
Primary teeth, or “baby teeth,” are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt.
Fluoridated toothpaste should be introduced when a child is 3-4 years of age. Prior to that, parents should clean the child’s teeth with non-fluoridated toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush. When toothpaste is used after age 3-4, parents should supervise brushing and make sure the child uses no more than a pea-sized amount on the brush. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.
You are welcome to accompany your child into the treatment area during the initial exam and, if desired, during any subsequent appointments. This will give you the opportunity to see our staff in action and give our dentists the opportunity to discuss any dental findings and treatment directly with you.
A well-balanced diet is very important in preventing cavities and ensuring good general health. Cavities are not only the result of what children eat but also the frequency of meals. Frequent snacking without brushing leaves food on the teeth longer and increases the likelihood of a cavity developing. Additionally, frequent sipping on sugar-filled drinks like juice, soda and some sports drinks, whether in a baby bottle, sippy cup or a standard cup, can cause widespread dental cavities.
Sealants work by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years.
We can help you evaluate the fluoride level in your child’s primary source of drinking water with a test kit. After reviewing the test results, we will further discuss other possible sources of fluoride and then formulate a plan to ensure your child is receiving the optimal amount of fluoride.
Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own. If the habit persists past the age of 3-4, our office may take a more active role in helping to stop the habit. This may include simple encouragement, motivational charts or an intraoral habit appliance.
Soft plastic mouthguards can be used to protect a child’s teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sports-related injuries. A custom-fitted mouthguard developed by our office will protect your child from injuries to the teeth, face and even provide protection from severe injuries to the head.