How is a Pediatric dentist different from other dentists?
All dental specialists begin by completing dental school and continue their education with several years’ additional, specialized training. During this training dentists gain extensive knowledge and experience in treating infants, children and adolescents. Pediatric Dentists enjoy working with children and bring to each patient their experience in childhood development and behavior. Because our office is geared toward young visitors, you’ll find that our staff, as well as our office design, decorations and activities all work together to provide an especially friendly and comfortable environment for children.
How can I prepare my child for the first dental appointment?
The best preparation for your child’s first visit to our office is to maintain a positive attitude. Children pick up on adult apprehensions, and if you make negative comments about visiting the dentist your child will anticipate an unpleasant experience. Even a comment like “we’re going to the dentist and it won’t hurt” is negative because now your child is wondering why my parent said the dentist won’t hurt.
Why do baby (primary) teeth need special care?
Baby teeth don’t last as long as permanent teeth, but the primary teeth play an important role in development. The primary teeth help you child speak, smile and chew properly. They also hold space in the jaw for permanent teeth. If a child loses a tooth too early due to damage or decay, nearby teeth may move or tilt into that space blocking other teeth from coming in correctly and resulting in misplaced or crooked permanent teeth.
What causes cavities?
Certain types of bacteria live in our mouths. When they come into contact with sugary foods left behind after eating, acids are produced. These acids attack the enamel on the exterior of the teeth and eventually eat through the enamel and create holes in the teeth, the bacteria then move into the tooth which is what we call a cavity. If the cavity continues to enlarge the bacteria move into the pulp (nerve and blood vessels inside the tooth) and can cause pain or an abscess. Bacteria can get into your child’s mouth from you or anyone who shares utensils, cups or food with their infant or toddler. If you have had a history of cavities or gum disease those problems can be passed on to your child.
How can I help my child avoid cavities?
Make sure you keep your child’s mouth is cleaned twice a day from the eruption of their first tooth. Your child will not have the dexterity to clean all of their teeth well until they can tie their own shoe laces and use a knife and fork. They will also need supervision until they are about 8 years old. Floss any teeth that are touching. Even if the front teeth have spaces the back teeth may be touching. Avoid sugary drinks and foods as much as possible and limit the frequency of snacking (see our nutrition guide). Remember sugars are hidden in many processed foods. And if you have had a lot of cavities keep your mouth clean and try to avoid sharing utensils from your mouth to your child’s mouth.