When it comes to the dental health of children, parents understandably have many questions and concerns. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions (FAQ) parents ask their children’s dentist.
At what age should my child have their first dental visit?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises your child should see a dentist as soon as their first tooth erupts and no later than their first birthday. They call this approach 1+1=0: First Dental Visit by Age 1 Equals Zeror Cavities for your child! Dr. Laura Adelman, DMD, and Dr. Rachel Rosen, DDS, use these initial visits to help educate the parents on proper oral health care and assure your child’s teeth are healthy and developing appropriately. The goal is to build a long-lasting and trusting relationship so your child enjoys coming to the dentist and stays cavity free!
Just like adults, kids should see their dentist every six months. These regular check-ups give you a chance to learn tips and tricks for encouraging good oral hygiene habits at home. Plus, they ensure early detection and treatment of any problems or concerns.
What can I expect at my child’s first visit?
Dr. Laura, Dr. Rachel and the entire team at Great Beginnings PD strive to make every appointment for your child a positive experience. At your child’s first visit they will have the opportunity to meet our friendly team, tour our beautiful office, and become familiar with their dental experience. We’ll use age-appropriate terms and explanations. in our welcoming and safe environment, and our dental team will address your child’s unique needs and interests.
Toddlers and infants often require an exam that is performed from the parent’s lap (“knee to knee”), but don’t worry. Dr. Laura and Dr. Rachel will help guide you through this process!
When should we start brushing our child’s teeth?
Dr. Laura Adelman and Dr. Rachel Rosen of Great Beginnings recommend you start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth erupts! They also advise wiping down the gums prior to tooth eruption so your child is both comfortable and familiar with the sensation of oral care.
What is the best thing to use to brush my child’s teeth?
While your child is an infant a soft washcloth can be used to help clean teeth from breast milk and formula. As your child gets older, we advise using a soft bristle toothbrush that is age appropriate. Dr. Laura and Dr. Rachel recommend an early introduction to an electric toothbrush!
When should my child use toothpaste with fluoride?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends all children brush their teeth two times a day using fluoridated toothpaste. Different ages, however, should use different amounts of toothpaste.
- In children younger than three years old, a “rice grain” size of toothpaste is advised.
- In chidWe encourage parents to help their children brush their teeth until they have demonstrated the manual dexterity to do a great job (this is typically when your child has the fine motor skills to write legibly and tie their shoes). We strongly encourage team work; let the parents have a turn with a soft dry toothbrush and then your child can finish with the toothpaste!
When should we start flossing our child’s teeth?
As soon as teeth start to touch you should floss daily! They will need your help with this task, even if using floss sticks.
When should my child stop using their pacifier or stop sucking their thumb?
While habits are hard to stop, Dr. Laura and Dr. Rachel have found that a thumb habit is harder to stop than a pacifier habit. Therefore, if your child has a pacifier that has been taken away only for them to discover their thumb, we encourage you to give the pacifier back (this is the exception). Ideally, we would like our patients to stop any habit prior to permanent teeth eruption (5-7 years old). In most cases, any primary teeth changes will not affect the permanent teeth if the habit is stopped by this point. However, if your child can stop the habit at an earlier age, their overall jaw development, sleep habits and swallowing patterns will benefit. Dr. Laura and Dr. Rachel are here to help! We offer great solutions for quitting a habit, just give us a call!
When will my child lose their baby teeth?
Front primary teeth exfoliate (that is, naturally come out) around 5-7 years of age, but the back molars stay until around 12! Although every child is different, the average life span of baby teeth is quite long, so don’t forget to take good care of them!
Are X-Rays safe?
Taking dental radiographs poses very little risk to your child. Not taking them can prevent your child from receiving dental treatment they need. X-rays the only way Dr. Laura and Dr. Rachel can ensure your child does not have a cavity between their teeth! Our doctors also use dental radiographs (x-rays) to monitor dental development. At Great Beginnings Pediatric Dentistry, we use the most advanced technology with digital radiographs to help limit radiograph exposure, and we follow the radiograph guidelines of The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
How can my child’s diet affect their oral health?
When thinking about foods that can lead to cavities, Dr. Laura and Dr. Rachel like to say, “More chocolate, less cavities!” Yes, we’re serious! While Dr. Laura and Dr. Rachel don’t advise your child eats chocolate over other nutritional foods, they do recommend considering the texture of your child’s food. Sugar is not the only villain in the horror story known as cavities. Sticky foods and carbohydrates can also lead to increased cavity risk.
Fruits, vegetables, and protein are always a great choice. However, we understand the reality of that not always realistic, so when making snack choices for your child, start to consider whether food is “sticky” versus “melty.” In other words, think goldfish crackers (“sticky”) versus a Hershey kiss (“melty”). True, the chocolate has more initial sugar, but its sugar melts! In contrast, the cracker will form a gummy paste that sticks to your child’s teeth and in time break down into more sugars! Thus, Dr. Laura and Dr. Rachel suggest you give your child melty treats over sticky ones to help keep them cavity-free. (View our handy chart of foods most and least likely to promote tooth decay to learn more.)
How frequently your child snacks also impacts their oral health. The less your child “snacks” the more time the body has to balance the acid in their mouth and restore a healthy environment. If your child is a frequent snacker, we strongly advise keeping a dry toothbrush and flosser handy to brush and floss snacks away after they have been eaten!
Do you do white fillings?
Yes, we use composite-based white filings that are mercury free! Most teeth can be filled with white fillings; however, there are always exceptions to the rule. We encourage you to call our office if you have questions about fillings for your child!
Does my child really need a filling in a baby tooth?
We understand that baby teeth only have a finite life span, so why would you fix them? Even with their limited time in the mouth, they play a key role in speech development, chewing, dental development and helping your child stay healthy. Baby teeth cavities spread much faster and, therefore, can cause pain and infection in your child’s mouth. This discomfort could lead to missed school time, poor nutrition, and more invasive dental treatment in the long run. Keeping baby teeth healthy until their natural exfoliation helps guide the adult teeth into the mouth and serves as the best natural space maintainer. And most important, keeping your baby teeth creates a beautiful smile! For more detailed information, please read our blog entry: Why Baby Teeth Need Fillings.
What are dental sealants (tooth sealants)?
Sealants are a protective barrier placed on permanent molars to “seal” the grooves of the teeth during their first years of life. Placing a sealant allows the tooth’s outer surface (the enamel) to get strong while keeping food out of hard-to-brush nooks and crannies. Sealants do not require any needles or drilling; they are simply an elective, preventative treatment option. Think of sealants as you think of sunscreen when you’re on vacation or the topcoat on your nail polish!
Why does my child have a white spot on her tooth?
Having a white spot or discoloration on a child’s tooth is common. It is likely a harmless defect called Enamel Hypoplasia, but it could also mean the beginning of decay. Bring it up at your child’s next dental visit if you have concerns.
Is it normal that my toddler still doesn’t have a lot of teeth?
As caregivers, it’s hard not to worry when our child doesn’t seem to be developing as quickly as others around us. However, it’s important to remember kids hit developmental benchmarks at different times. If you are concerned please bring your child in for a visit. Dr. Laura and Dr. Rachel will be happy to assess if your child’s teeth are developing in a healthy way and in a healthy time frame!
Why is an adult tooth coming in before the baby tooth has fallen out?
When a permanent tooth comes in, it’s supposed to dissolve the root of the baby tooth it’s replacing. This process is what makes the baby tooth get loose and eventually fall out. However, that doesn’t always happen. If it looks like your child has two rows of teeth, don’t panic. Generally, the baby tooth will eventually fall out on its own. If you are concerned, though, that too much time has passed and the baby tooth still remains, we encourage you to bring your child in for a dental visit. Dr. Laura and Dr. Rachel will be happy to assess the situation for you.
What makes a children’s dentist different?
For starters, a children’s dentist (also known as a pediatric dentist) has additional years of training to address the special emotional and developmental needs of kids. Also, the entire office is built to be kid-friendly. Finally, a children’s dentist works as a partner with the patient and parents to keep little mouths healthy, so they can grow into large, healthy smiles. Dr. Laura Adelman and Dr. Rachel Rosen both have this additional training and experience as specialized children’s dentists.
A visit to a children’s dentist (also known as a pediatric dentist) is the best way to get the most relevant, individualized advice for your child’s oral health. This FAQ page is for general information only. Dr. Laura Adelman, DMD, and Dr. Rachel Rosen, DDS, do not intend for their answers here to be considered medical advice.
Great Beginnings is accepting new patients under the age of 12. Give us a call at (330)425-1885 to schedule your child today to have all of your dental questions answered. Great beginnings lead to great smiles!