• When should be the first dental visit for my child?
  • How do I prepare for my child’s first visit? What is to be expected?
  • How often are regular dental visits recommended?
  • What is the best time for orthodontic treatment?
  • What is a pediatric dentist?
  • What is early childhood caries (also known as “baby bottle tooth decay”)?
  • How can baby bottle tooth decay be prevented? Are primary (baby) teeth important?
  • When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?
  • When will my child’s teeth erupt?
  • How can I keep my child cavity free?
  • What should I do if my child’s baby tooth is knocked out or chipped?
  • What should I do if a permanent tooth is chipped or fractured?
  • Is it possible to get too much fluoride?
  • Is thumb sucking harmful?
  • How can I help my child to stop sucking?
  • My child’s permanent teeth are coming behind the baby teeth what should I do?
  • Do space maintainers require any special care?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the first visit to be at the time of your child’s first birthday. It may seem too early but Dr. Nora can make sure that you are using the right cleaning techniques and she can also determine if there are any problems with your child’s primary teeth.
Prepare for your child’s first visit by taking a positive approach. For very young children there are excellent children’s stories, which describe a visit to the dentist. Convey good feelings about dental visits being part of growing up. It is best if you refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as “needle”, “shot”, “pull”, “drill” or “hurt”. The office makes a practice of using words that convey the same message, but are pleasant and non-frightening to the child.
You will be allowed to be with your child during the initial examination. We ask, however, that you remain a “silent partner” since it is difficult for a child to pay attention to more than one person at a time. Please understand that crying is a normal reaction for young children.
Usually, after the initial visit we ask that you allow your child to accompany our staff through the appointment. We can usually establish a closer rapport with your child when you are not present, especially since our office has an environment designed for children.
Our purpose is to gain your child’s confidence and overcome apprehension. We have consistently enjoyed a very high rate of success and you should feel assured and confident in your child’s dental care. Every child is different. Each young patient will be able to form their own preferences about their dental process with us. We will work with you to decide the best method to give your child a positive experience at our office.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a dental check-up at least twice a year for most children. They help your child stay cavity free. The visits include teeth cleanings which remove debris that builds up on the teeth, irritate the gums and cause decay and also Fluoride treatments to renew the fluoride content of the enamel, strengthening the teeth and preventing cavities. Cavities are caused by bacteria and food that are left on the teeth after eating. When these are not brushed away, acid collects on the tooth, softening its enamel until a hole forms. Regular use of fluoride toughens the enamel, making it more difficult for acid to penetrate.
Developing malocclusions, or bad bites, can be recognized as early as 2-3 years of age. Often, early steps can be taken to reduce the need for major orthodontic treatment at a later age.
Stage I – Early Treatment: This period of treatment encompasses ages 2 to 6 years. At this young age, we are concerned with underdeveloped dental arches, the premature loss of primary teeth, and harmful habits such as finger or thumb sucking. Treatment initiated in this stage of development is often very successful and many times, though not always, can eliminate the need for future orthodontic/orthopedic treatment.
Stage II – Mixed Dentition: This period covers the ages of 6 to 12 years, with the eruption of the permanent incisor (front) teeth and 6 year molars. Treatment concerns deal with jaw malrelationships and dental realignment problems. This is an excellent stage to start treatment, when indicated, as your child’s hard and soft tissues are usually very responsive to orthodontic or orthopedic forces.
Stage III – Adolescent Dentition: This stage deals with the permanent teeth and the development of the final bite relationship.
The pediatric dentist has an extra two to three years of specialized training after dental school, and is dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy through the teenage years. The very young, pre-teens, and teenagers all need different approaches in dealing with their behavior, guiding their dental growth and development, and helping them avoid future dental problems. The pediatric dentist is best qualified to meet these needs.
Baby bottle tooth decay is a dental condition that can cause a lot of pain and suffering in small children. It is a condition that destroys the teeth of an infant or young child. This condition can be caused by the frequent exposure of a child’s teeth for long periods of time to liquids containing sugars. Among these are milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice, sodas and other sweetened liquids.
When a baby is put to bed with a bottle, the liquid drips into the mouth continuously. It collects around the teeth as long as the bottle is in the mouth. It is not what the children drink, but how often and for how long their teeth are exposed to decay-causing acids. That is why frequently offering your child a bottle containing sugary liquid as a pacifier, or allowing your child to fall asleep with a bottle during naps or at night can do serious harm to the teeth. The most likely teeth to be damaged are the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected.
Never let your baby fall asleep with a bottle containing sugary liquids or a pacifier dipped in sugar or honey. You can use a bottle with water if the child needs a comforter. Start cleaning the baby’s teeth early and wipe the gums with a clean gauze or a wet towel after each feeding. And check your child’s teeth regularly.
It should start as early as possible. You should begin cleaning your baby’s mouth on the first day of life. Wipe the mouth gently and massage the gum pads after each feeding before bedtime with a damp gauze pad wrapped around your finger or a damp wash cloth. Hold your baby so that his/her head rests comfortably in your lap, this will aid stability and provide better visibility. Then as the first tooth erupts a small soft brush should be used and later with the use of a small amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush. Avoid sending your child to bed with a baby bottle unless it is water only.
Teeth start forming inside the gums even before birth. As early as four months teeth can start erupting and the first ones to come in are the two lower anterior incisors (front teeth) then the two upper ones and then the twenty baby teeth continue to erupt almost till age three. The sequence and rate can vary with every child.The permanent teeth start appearing at the age of six, starting with the six year molars behind the baby molars and the lower front teeth. Adults have 28 teeth without the wisdom molars and a total of 32 with the wisdom teeth.
By brushing the teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. You should help brush and floss your child’s teeth at least once a day until he/she is capable of doing it alone around age seven or eight or once writing in cursive. By also making sure that your child is getting enough fluoride through water intake, fluoride products, and if necessary through fluoride supplements. Sealants should be placed on the chewing surfaces of the back permanent molars as soon as they come in, and your child should not snack more than twice a day with healthy snacks.
Contact your pediatric dentist as soon as possible. Baby teeth are usually not put back in the mouth but we should see your child to determine if any roots remain or any teeth or other structures have been injured.
Contact our office immediately. Quick action can save the tooth, prevent infections and can prevent extensive dental treatment. Rinse the mouth and apply cold compresses to reduce swelling. If you can find the fragment bring it with you to the office it can be bonded back to the tooth.
Of course. It is a condition that is called fluorosis. Dr. Nora can assess the amount of fluoride your child is receiving from drinking water, toothpastes, mouth rinses, and in-office fluoride treatments and see whether the child is in need for additional dietary fluoride supplements. The very small percentage of children that develop dental fluorosis consume over fluoridated water on a regular bases or eat their toothpaste.
Thumb sucking that persists beyond the eruption of the permanent teeth can lead to problems with the normal growth and development of the mouth and tooth alignment. And it all depends on the intensity of how the child is sucking. Children that rest their thumbs passively are less likely to develop problems. Children should stop sucking as soon as they can and no later than the time their front permanent teeth start erupting by age six.
By praising your child when he/she is not sucking and not by scolding him/her. By focusing on what is causing your child’s anxiety that is leading him/her to suck. By providing comfort to your child so he/she will feel less in need to suck for comfort. Reward your child when he/she is not sucking. Create a calendar and use a reward system with your child by keeping track of the days that he/she is sucking and the days he/she is not sucking. Try to remind your child of his/her habits by putting a glove on the hand or a band aid. There is also a thumb habit appliance that can be made at the dentist to discourage the use of the thumb.
50% of children have their teeth come behind the baby teeth. Let your child keep on wiggling the baby teeth until they become loose and fall out naturally. If after some time the baby teeth are not moving then contact Point Loma Children’s Dentistry to remove the primary teeth.
Avoid hard and sticky foods. Teeth should be brushed after each meal and the teeth with the bands especially. Once a day, a fluoride mouthwash should be used to help prevent decalcification of the teeth around the band and wire. Do not try to bend the wire for any reason with finger or tongue and if the bands come loose or the space maintainer is damaged in any way, contact our office.