Frequently Asked Questions
- What is a pediatric dentist?
- When should I bring my child in for their 1st dental visit?
- Why are primary teeth so important?
- Why does my child need x-rays at the dentist?
- How can I help prevent cavities?
- What are sealants?
What is a pediatric dentist?
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.
When should I bring my child in for their 1st dental visit?
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), your child should visit the dentist by his/her 1st birthday. You can make the first visit the dentist enjoyable and positive. Your child should be informed of the visit and told that the dentist and her staff will explain all procedures and answer any questions. The less to-do concerning the appointment, the better. It is best if you refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as needle, pull, drill or hurt. Our office makes a practice of using words that convey the same message, but are pleasant and non-frightening to the child.
Why are primary teeth so important?
It is very important to maintain the health of primary teeth. Neglected cavities can and frequently do lead to problems which affect developing permanent teeth. Primary teeth, or baby teeth, are important for (1) proper chewing and eating, (2) providing space for the permanent teeth and guiding them into the correct position, and (3) permitting normal development of the jaw bones and muscles. Primary teeth also affect the development of speech and add to an attractive appearance. While the front 4 teeth last until 6 to 7 years of age, the back teeth (cuspids and molars) aren’t replaced until age 10 to 13.
Why does my child need x-rays at the dentist?
Radiographs (X-Rays) are a vital and necessary part of your child’s dental diagnostic process. Without them, certain conditions can and will be missed. Radiographs detect much more than cavities. For example, radiographs may be needed to survey erupting teeth, diagnose bone diseases, evaluate the results of an injury, or plan orthodontic treatment. Radiographs allow dentists to diagnose and treat health conditions that cannot be detected during a clinical examination. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care if more comfortable for your and more affordable for you. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends radiographs and examinations every six months for children with a high risk of tooth decay. Pediatric dentists are particularly careful to minimize the exposure of their patients to radiation. With contemporary safeguards, the amount of radiation in a dental X-Ray examination is extremely small. The risk is negligible. In face, the dental radiographs represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem. Lead body aprons and shields will protect your child. 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 receives a minimal amount of radiation exposure.
How can I help prevent cavities?
Good oral hygiene removes bacteria and the left over 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, watch the number of snacks containing sugar that you give your children. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends six month visits to the pediatric dentist beginning at your child’s first birthday. Routine visits will start your child on a lifetime of good dental health.
What are sealants?
A sealant is a white plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces (grooves) of the back teeth (premolars and molars), where four out five cavities in children are found. This sealant acts as a barrier to food, plaque and acid, thus protecting the decay-prone areas of the teeth.
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