Pediatric Dental FAQ'S

Are thumb sucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child's teeth? How do I help them stop?

Generally, thumb sucking and pacifier habits only become harmful when they continue for a prolonged period of time. Most children will stop these habits on their own. If your child is still sucking their thumb or fingers when permanent teeth start to come in, a habit appliance may be recommended. We recommend that a pacifier is taken away no later than age three. These habits can cause development issues with your child's bite if they continue for a prolonged time. One way to help with the pacifier habit is to cut the tip off, this will decrease the sucking pleasure. Start small when you cut and gradually take off more if needed. The thumb and finger sucking is not as easy to stop. Try to use positive reinforcement for not sucking their finger or thumb. Place something over their hands while sleeping such as a bandage or sock.

How can I prevent decay caused by nursing or using a bottle?

When your child begins to get teeth, avoid nursing them to sleep. Avoid putting anything other than water in their bedtime bottle/sippy cup. Children should be weaned from a bottle around 12-14 months. There is a lot of sugar in breast milk, milk, juice, tea, sodas, etc. Putting your child to bed with anything other than water can cause tooth decay due to the amount of sugar sitting on their teeth overnight.

When should we begin using toothpaste and how much should we use?

Fluoridated toothpaste should be introduced when your child is 2-3 years old. Prior to that age, fluoride free toddler toothpaste should be used. Parents should brush their child's teeth with a soft bristled toothbrush. You do not need a lot of toothpaste, only a pea-sized amount is needed. Have your child spit out any excess toothpaste, do not swallow fluoridated toothpaste.

Why is fluoride recommended for my child?

Fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay by making your teeth more resistant to bacteria in the mouth. For children under 6 years old, fluoride aids in the development of permanent teeth. Many local areas have removed fluoride from their water making it more important that your child receives a fluoride treatment every 6 months to help keep their teeth healthy.

How safe are dental x-rays?

There is very little risk in dental x-rays. Our office takes digital x-rays which significantly reduce the amount of radiation that is present. We place a lead apron on each child to ad protection. The health and safety of your child is very important to us.

How does a pediatric dentist help with my child's dental anxiety?

Pediatric dentists receive special training to help anxious children feel more confident and secure during their treatment. Our office is designed for children; this makes them feel more comfortable. Staff members chose to work in a pediatric office because they enjoy working with children. To help children feel more comfortable, the dentist might demonstrate an instrument on your child's finger to show them what to expect.

How often should my child see the dentist?

It is recommended that children have dental check-ups at least twice a year. Some children will need to be seen more often due to increased tooth decay or poor oral hygiene. Our dentists will be able to discuss the best plan for your child at each visit.

Should I accompany my child into treatment?

Our goal is to develop a warm, trusting relationship with your child. The development of doctor-child relationships often happens faster and easier if the parents remain in the lobby. The doctor will discuss the completed treatment with you at the end of your child's appointment.

Below are charts showing the primary & permanent development of your child's teeth.