What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a general/family dentist?

With two additional years of training, a pediatric dentist is a specialist dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy through the teenage years. Our office is entirely kid-centric; children are our only patients, and all our training is devoted to meeting their specialized needs. Our treatment rooms, equipment, and tools are created, arranged and decorated with your child in mind. This makes the unique tools less frightening and easier to explain. Our kid-friendly environment, with games, toys, TV’s and video games helps your child acclimate to the new surroundings quickly and keeps your child occupied during uncomfortable procedures.

In addition to learning the most up-to-date treatments available for a wide variety of children’s dental problems, we’ve also learned how to deal with their fears and behaviors. Our kid-savvy staff knows how to make your child comfortable during treatment and to make the experience pleasant, not fearful!

Additionally, we are well qualified to treat special needs and medically compromised patients. Preventive health care and habit counseling for children ensures that as your child grows, his/her teeth grow correctly as well. We are specially trained to meet children’s unique needs. Age-appropriate and consistent dental care is essential to maintaining excellent oral health throughout childhood and the rest of life.

What if my child has two rows of teeth?

Some kids develop two rows of teeth ”often called shark’s teeth” when the permanent teeth come through before the baby teeth have fallen out. A loose tooth can be stubborn, sometimes hanging by a thread for weeks. Is it okay for my child to wiggle it free? Yes, encourage your child to wiggle the tooth out on his/her own. Have your child push the loose tooth toward the back of the mouth for ten seconds, holding firm pressure. Then push firmly toward the lips for ten seconds. Repeat several times. Once the tooth is extremely loose, take a tissue and try to rotate the tooth. If there’s no root left, it should come out easily. Once the baby tooth comes out, the tongue will push the permanent tooth in place.

At what age can my child start brushing their teeth unsupervised?

The average age is 7, but keep in mind that all children master fine-motor skills at different developmental stages. A good indicator is when a child can tie their shoes by themselves and write their name in cursive.

Should I worry about thumb and finger sucking?

Thumb/finger sucking is perfectly normal for infants; many stop by the age of two. Prolonged sucking can create crooked teeth or bite problems. If the habit continues beyond the age of three, a professional evaluation is recommended. Ask for our handout for suggestions to address a prolonged sucking habit.

Can bacteria responsible for causing cavities be transmitted from the parent or caregiver to a child?

YES!! Caries is a transmissible infectious disease which can be passed from the caregiver to the child via saliva.

Your child and cheese

Recent research shows cheese is one of the healthiest snacks for your child’s teeth. In addition to providing large amounts of much-needed calcium, cheese also does its part to fight cavities. Cheddar, Swiss, Mozzarella, and Monterey Jack all stimulate the body’s salivary glands to clear the mouth of debris and protect them from acids that weaken them. This means cheese disrupts the development of cavities, especially when eaten as a snack or at the end of a meal. Calcium and phosphorous found in cheese reduce or prevent decreases in the plaque’s ph level and work to re-mineralize the enamel of your child’s teeth. Reference: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

Don’t forget the mouth guard

When a child begins to participate in recreational activities and organized sports, injuries can occur. A properly fitted mouth guard, or mouth protector, is an essential piece of athletic gear that can help protect your child’s smile and should be used during any activity that could result in a blow to the face or mouth. Mouth guards help prevent broken teeth, and injuries to the lips, tongue, face or jaw. A properly fitted mouth guard will stay in place while your child is wearing it, making it easy for them to talk and breathe.