IF I WANT TO CLEAN MY CHILDREN’S BABY TEETH, WHAT SHOULD I USE?
Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head at bedtime. There are toothbrushes are specifically designed for both infants and young children.
WHAT SHOULD I DO IF MY CHILD HAS A TOOTHACHE?
First, check with your physician regarding allergies to pain medications. Then, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on your child’s face if it is swollen. You can give acetaminophen for pain, but avoid placing aspirin directly on the teeth or gums. See your dentist immediately.
HOW TO FLOSS PROPERLY:
- Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss free between them.
- Using the thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert it between the teeth and slide it back and forth in a sawing motion.
- Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gum line. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
For those who might struggle with this process, we recommend floss holders.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO USE DENTAL FLOSS?
Brushing your teeth effectively removes plaque and food particles from tooth surfaces, but can’t properly clean the hard-to-reach areas between them. This leaves these areas highly susceptible to decay and periodontal disease (gum disease). Daily flossing corrects this problem by cleaning between the teeth and under the gum line, disrupting the build up of plaque colonies and helping to prevent damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
Plaque is an invisible film of living bacteria combined with food debris and saliva. It produces the toxins that cause cavities and irritate the gums. When left in place, it hardens and turns into tartar (known as calculus) which further irritates and inflames the gums while slowly eating away at the dental bone structure, marking the beginning of periodontal disease.\
IS THUMB SUCKING A PROBLEM FOR DENTAL HEALTH?
Thumb sucking is normal for infants and will have no negative effect on their dentition as most children stop doing it by age 2. Discourage thumb sucking after age 4 as it can create crowded, crooked teeth and bite problems. If needed, we can suggest ways to break the habit.
YOU CAN PREVENT THIS BY FOLLOWING A FEW SIMPLE GUIDELINES:
- Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, breast milk, fruit juices, or any sweetened liquids.
- Never give your baby a pacifier dipped in sugar or honey.
- Only allow water in bottles and sippy cups used for grazing.
- Wipe your baby’s gums with a clean gauze pad after each feeding, and begin brushing with water as soon as the first tooth appears.
- Encourage children to drink from a regular cup by their first birthday.
WHAT IS BABY BOTTLE TOOTH DECAY?
Also known as Early Childhood Caries or Nursing Caries, Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is caused by over exposure to sugary liquids. It is usually caused by putting a baby to bed with a bottle containing milk, juice, or pop, nursing babies on demand through the night, or allowing toddlers to graze with a sippy cup. This condition often destroys primary teeth, creating a need for major dental treatment. In addition, it will eventually damage your child’s permanent teeth if left untreated.
You can prevent this by following a few simple guidelines:
Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, breast milk, fruit juices, or any sweetened liquids.
Never give your baby a pacifier dipped in sugar or honey.
Only allow water in bottles and sippy cups used for grazing.
Wipe your baby’s gums with a clean gauze pad after each feeding, and begin brushing with water as soon as the first tooth appears.
Encourage children to drink from a regular cup by their first birthday.
WHY ARE BABY TEETH (OR “PRIMARY” TEETH) SO IMPORTANT?
Healthy primary teeth are important for many reasons:
- They facilitate proper chewing, enabling good nutrition. Research shows that children with numerous cavities are often underweight because eating begins to hurt. As a result, they limit food choices, disrupting proper nutrition.
- We are often asked, “Why put fillings in baby teeth when they will fall out anyway?” Unfortunately, neglected cavities create problems that affect the development of permanent teeth. Neglected cavities progress to the core of the tooth and eat away at the nerve. The tooth becomes painful and the nerve becomes inflamed, eventually dying. This creates an abscess that often results in the loss of the tooth and serious damage to the permanent tooth growing below. Some severe cases require emergency hospitalization.
- Children learn to talk using their primary dentition. Research shows that, because most speech skills are already formed by the age of seven, children who lose their primary front teeth too early often need speech therapy.
- Brown or missing teeth often affect the development of self-esteem. A beautiful smile enhances self confidence regardless of age.
WHEN SHOULD MY CHILD HAVE HIS OR HER FIRST DENTAL VISIT, AND WHAT CAN I EXPECT?
Your child should visit the dentist by his or her first birthday. Be sure to inform your child of the visit and its purpose, but take care in how you present it. Avoid using words that cause fear such as “needle”, “pull”, “drill”, or “hurt.” The first visit rarely requires such things, and, even should they be necessary at some point, keep in mind that pediatric dentists are trained to convey the information in a non-threatening way, helping to keep your child calm and comfortable.
WHAT IS A PEDIATRIC DENTIST?
A pediatric dentist takes two additional years of specialized training that focuses on children. This gives pediatric dentists the skills they need to build strong and trusting relationships with children from infants to young adults and an understanding of their unique dental health needs.
WHEN SHOULD I BRING MY CHILD TO THE DENTIST?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child’s first dental visit should occur when their first tooth appears or by their first birthday, whichever comes first. This may seem early, but it is important to establish good dental habits and catch any potential issues early on.
If your child has any dental problems or concerns, such as tooth pain, sensitivity, or discoloration, you should schedule a dental visit as soon as possible. Additionally, if your child has any accidents or injuries that affect their teeth or gums, they should see a dentist immediately.
It is important to remember that early dental care can help prevent more serious dental problems down the road, so it is best to establish a regular dental routine for your child as soon as possible.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR CHILDREN TO SEE A PEDIATRIC DENTIST?
It is important for children to see a pediatric dentist because they have specialized training and expertise in working with children’s dental needs. Pediatric dentists understand the unique dental issues and concerns that children face at different stages of development, and they are able to provide age-appropriate care and treatment.
Children’s dental needs are different from those of adults, and their teeth and gums are still developing. A pediatric dentist is able to provide preventative care, early intervention, and monitoring of a child’s dental growth and development to ensure that any potential issues are caught and treated early.
Additionally, pediatric dentists are trained to create a fun and welcoming environment for children, which can help reduce fear and anxiety and make dental visits more comfortable and positive experiences. This can help establish good oral hygiene habits and a positive attitude towards dental care that can last a lifetime.
WHAT SERVICES DO YOU OFFER FOR CHILDREN?
We offer a range of services specifically tailored to the needs of children, including dental exams and cleanings, fluoride treatments, sealants, fillings, extractions, and orthodontic evaluations. We also offer education and guidance on good oral hygiene habits and proper nutrition for healthy teeth and gums.
HOW CAN I PREPARE MY CHILD FOR THEIR DENTAL VISIT?
Talk to your child: Explain to your child what to expect during the dental visit. Use simple and positive language to describe what the dentist will do, such as “the dentist will count your teeth and make them shiny and clean.”
Read books or watch videos: There are many children’s books and videos that are designed to help kids understand what to expect during a dental visit. Reading or watching these together with your child can help them feel more comfortable and familiar with the experience.
Role-play: You can role-play a dental visit with your child to help them understand what will happen. Use a toothbrush or a mirror to show them how the dentist will look at their teeth and make them clean.
Be positive: Encourage your child to have a positive attitude towards the dental visit. Let them know that going to the dentist is important for their health and that it can be a fun and enjoyable experience.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD MY CHILD SEE THE DENTIST?
We recommend that children see a pediatric dentist every six months for a dental exam and cleaning. However, the frequency of visits may vary depending on your child’s individual dental needs and risk factors.
WHAT IF MY CHILD IS AFRAID OF THE DENTIST?
We understand that many children may be nervous or anxious about going to the dentist, and we work hard to create a safe and comfortable environment for our young patients. Our team is specially trained to work with children and help them feel at ease during their visit. We also offer sedation options for children who may require additional support.
WHAT PAYMENT OPTIONS DO YOU OFFER?
We accept a variety of payment options, including most major dental insurance plans. We also offer flexible payment plans and financing options to help make dental care affordable for all families.
WHAT SETS YOUR PEDIATRIC DENTAL OFFICE APART FROM OTHERS?
At Smile First, we are dedicated to providing the highest quality dental care in a fun and friendly environment. Our team is specially trained to work with children and we offer a range of services specifically tailored to the needs of young patients. We also prioritize patient education and strive to empower parents to help their children achieve optimal dental health.