What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?
A pediatric dentist is a specialist with two to three years of special training following dental school. They not only learn in depth about children’s oral health but also how to manage children’s behavior in the dental office setting. They know how to effectively reduce the anxiety in most children. Pediatric dentists are primary oral health care providers for infants, children, adolescents and teenagers, including kids with special needs. A pediatric dentist’s practice is limited to children only.
Why are the baby teeth so important?
Baby teeth serve multiple purposes for your child. Not only are they needed for proper chewing, but also they save the space needed for the permanent teeth that follow. Healthy baby teeth provide an environment for healthy permanent teeth. Infections caused by a large cavity on a baby tooth can be very dangerous. It can spread to the other facial structures and can also damage the tooth bud of a developing permanent tooth. Preventing cavities on baby teeth is important since loss of teeth cause adjacent teeth to migrate forward and in turn space is lost which creates orthodontic issues. I have provided a tooth chart that can help you determine the timing of your child’s baby teeth falling out.
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What is a good age to bring a child to a dentist and what should you expect during that visit?
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends age one as the child’s first visit. The visit is geared more towards educating the parents on how to prevent cavities. We would do a quick exam followed by a toothbrush and Fluoride varnish. Instruction on how to brush your child’s teeth is given. Healthy snack ideas are provided. We try to make your child’s first visit as pleasant as possible.
What is tooth decay?
Tooth decay/cavity forms when the bacteria destroy the enamel of the teeth leaving a hole on the tooth. This happens when sticky and sugary/carbohydrate foods stay on the teeth for a long period of time. This residue becomes food for the bacteria that in turn produces acids that destroy the tooth resulting in a cavity.
How can I prevent cavities?
*visiting your dentist every six months
*brushing your child’s teeth two times a day and floss once at night. Use fluoride rinses for older kids. Avoid swallowing the rinse. Children younger than 3 should get Fluoride free toothpaste.
*Not putting your baby to bed with a bottle filled with milk, juice, or any other sweet liquids.
*filling the Sippy cup with water only. Sipping on a sugary drink can cause cavities.
*feeding your child full balanced nutritious foods that lead to less snacking in between meals.
*limiting sugary drinks/soda/Gatorade. Encouraging drinking water in between meals or or sports.
*Chewing sugar free gums that contain Xylitol for older children. Xylitol is a sweetener that helps neutralize the acid in the mouth.
*Asking you dentist to apply Sealants onto chewing surfaces of the back teeth to protect against cavities.
What are dental sealants?
Dental Sealants are clear plastic/resin materials that are applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars to prevent the food from sticking into the grooves of the teeth. Sealants we use are BPA free and are safe to use in children to dramatically reduce the risks of cavities.