Pediatric Dentistry FAQs

The following are the most frequently asked questions from our Tots To Teens families regarding pediatric dental care for their children. If you have additional questions, please ask Dr. B, Dr. Lin, or contact our office team.

Q. What should I use to clean my baby’s teeth?baby

A. A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime.

Q. When should I take my child to the dentist for the first

A. In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday.

Q. What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?

A. Pediatric dentists, like Dr. B and Dr. Lin, are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Dr. B and Dr. Lin are your primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children from Tots To Teens & in-between and that includes those with special health needs.

Q. Are baby teeth really that important to my child?

A. Primary, or “baby,” teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt.

Q. What should I do if my child has a toothache?

A. First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Give the child acetaminophen for any pain, rather than placing aspirin on the teeth or gums. Finally, call our office for an appointment with Dr. B or Dr. Lin as soon as possible.

Q. Are thumb and lollipop sucking, and pacifier habits harmful for a child’s teeth?

A. Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of

Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, a mouth appliance may be recommended by our doctors.

Q. How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?

A. Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bed-time bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child’s teeth. Take your child to Tots To Teens regularly to have his/her teeth and gums checked. The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child’s first birthday.

Q. How often does my child need to see Dr. B or Dr. Lin?

A. A check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, our doctors will tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal
oral health.

Q. Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use?baby

A. The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Use a “smear” of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child less than 2 years of age.

For the 2-5 year old, dispense a “pea-size” amount of toothpaste and perform or assist your child’s toothbrushing.

Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.

Q. How do I make my child’s diet safe for his teeth?

A. Make sure your child has a balanced diet, including one serving each of: fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products, and meat, fish and eggs. Limiting the servings of sugars and starches will aid in protecting your child’s teeth from decay. You can also ask our doctors to help you select foods that protect your children’s teeth.

Q. How do dental sealants work?

A. Sealants work by filling in the crevices on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years.

Q. How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride?

A. Have Dr. B or Dr. Lin evaluate the fluoride level of your child’s primary source of drinking water. If your child is not getting enough fluoride internally through water (especially if the fluoride level is deficient or if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride), then Dr. B or Dr. Lin may prescribe fluoride supplements.

Q. What can I do to protect my child’s teeth during sporting events?

A. Soft plastic mouthguards can be used to protect a child’s teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sport related injuries. A custom-fitted mouthguard developed by our dentists will protect your child from injuries to the teeth, face and even provide protection from severe injuries to the head.

Q. What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth?

A. The most important thing to do is to remain calm. Then find the tooth. Hold it by the crown rather than the root and try to reinsert it in the socket. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk and take your child and the glass immediately to the pediatric dentist.

Q. What are Over-retained Baby Teeth?

A. This is a common problem with children. It occurs when a new permanent tooth erupts, but the baby tooth has not yet fallen out. Usually the new tooth dissolves the root of the baby tooth and it falls out. If, however, the permanent tooth comes in a little off center, and does not dissolve the baby tooth’s root completely, the child may have both present. The child may wiggle the baby tooth out. If after a few weeks they are both still present – contact Dr. B or Dr. Lin for an appointment to have the baby tooth removed.

Q. How safe are dental X-rays?

A. There is very little risk in dental X-rays. Dr. B and Dr. Lin are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. Lead aprons and high-speed film are used to ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation.

Q. What is Pediatric Sedation?

A. Our doctors utilize Pediatric Sedation to reduce the child’s anxiety and discomfort pediatric sedationduring their dental visits. In some cases, the child may become drowsy or less active while sedated, but this will quickly desist after the procedure is completed. Sedation helps children relax, cope, and feel happier about treatment. Conscious sedation allows children to continually communicate, follow instructions, and cooperate during the entire procedure.

Our doctors may use nitrous oxide (more commonly known as “laughing gas”) for children who exhibit particular signs of nervousness or anxiety.

Q. How can parents help prevent tooth decay?

A. Parents should take their children to Tots To Teens regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. Then, our dentists can recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing, and other treatments for parents to supervise and teach to their children. These home treatments, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.

Q. My child grinds their teeth. Could that be a problem?

A. Children under age seven have a tendency to grind their teeth. We call it bruxism. This is before their permanent first molars and permanent incisors come in. It is not usually a problem. If the grinding does persist through ages eight to ten, contact our doctors. If not treated, it can cause future bite problems and eventually wearing down the child’s permanent teeth.

Q. My child complains of mouth pain.

A. Often when a child complains of mouth pain it may be from dental problems such as canker sores, teeth eruption, tooth decay, gum inflammation, or a dental abscess. We recommend coming into our office to have the doctors diagnose the problem. The pain also may be from medical issues such as earaches or sinus problems.