Dental FAQ

FIRST-TIME PATIENTS

What is the difference between a general dentist vs. a pediatric dentist?

Unlike a family dentist, Pediatric dentists only treat children. A pediatric dentist has two years of specialty training following dental school, and we are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.

Dental visits: How often should they be scheduled?

We recommend a check-up every six months in order to prevent cavities and other dental issues. However, we will always let you know how often your child should visit based on their specific needs.

Which insurances do you accept?

We accept Medicaid and most insurances.

Can I stay with my child during their first visit? 

We encourage you to stay with your child during their initial examination. After the first appointment, we recommend you allow our staff to accompany your child through their dental experience. This will enable us to establish a close rapport with your child, gain their trust, build their confidence in us and help them overcome apprehension. However, whether or not you stay with your child is ultimately your decision.

PROCEDURES AND MATERIALS

Are x-rays safe?

There are few risks with dental X‐rays. We only take X‐rays when needed, and are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. Lead aprons and digital x-rays are used to ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation.

Anesthesia: Is it safe for my child?

Local anesthesia is safe for children. Our team is highly trained in anesthesia delivery, and we always communicate to children in an age appropriate manner, prior to administering the anesthetic. We use words like sleepy juice and a distraction technique to help your child get through it.

Fluoride Supplements: Are they necessary?

Each child’s Fluoride needs are different. We evaluate the fluoride level of your child’s primary source of drinking water. If your child is not getting enough fluoride, which may happen if the fluoride level is deficient or if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride, then we may prescribe fluoride supplements.

Is Nitrous oxide safe for my child?

Nitrous oxide and oxygen are very safe. Most children are able to tolerate nitrous oxide very easily. It also has a rapid onset and can be reversed or adjusted in various concentrations. Nitrous oxide is also non‐allergenic. When breathing it, your child remains fully conscious, retaining all of their natural reflexes.

How do sealants work? Does it hurt?

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

NUTRITION/PREVENTION TECHNIQUES

What foods are best for my child’s dental health?

Eating the right foods is essential to great dental health. Your child needs a balanced diet, including one serving each of fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, dairy and protein (meat, fish or eggs) each meal. Limit their intake of sugars and starches to help prevent decay. We discuss your child’s diet needs during your dental visit.

What causes tooth decay?

Four things are necessary for cavities to form: a tooth, bacteria, sugar or other carbohydrates and time. Dental plaque is a thin, sticky, colorless form of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. When you eat, the sugars in your food cause the bacteria in plaque to produce acids that attack the tooth enamel. With time and repeated acid attacks, the enamel breaks down and a cavity forms.

How can I help prevent decay?

Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. We will provide you with individualized instructions for brushing, flossing and other treatments, and we will teach parents how to supervise and teach their children to follow our guidance. In-home treatments, regular dental visits and a balanced diet will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.

How often should I floss my child’s teeth?

Flossing your child’s teeth once a day before bed is recommended, and the teeth you need to floss are the only ones that are touching each other.

How safe is a toothbrush for my baby’s teeth?

Use any soft‐bristled toothbrush with a small head at least once a day before bedtime. We will always provide you with the most appropriate toothbrush each time your child visits.

When should I begin using toothpaste and how do I use it?

The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or a cloth and water. As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice a day with non‐fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age‐appropriate sized toothbrush. Once your child can spit, use a “smear” of fluoride. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively, and as a parent, this responsibility falls to you.

INFANT’S ORAL HYGIENE

How important are baby teeth?

Primary or “baby” teeth help children speak clearly and chew naturally, and they also aid in forming a path for permanent teeth to follow when they are ready to come in, or “erupt.” By caring for your child’s baby teeth we can avoid pain which may affect learning at school, increase the chances of infection and alter your child’s eating habits. Also, early loss of a tooth can create space issues in the future.

At what age should I bring my child in for their first visit? 

In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, no later than his or her first birthday. The first visit involves a check-up and a fluoride treatment, if appropriate.

Should cavities be baby teeth be filled?

Tooth decay is an infection that can spread, which could harm your child, cause pain and premature loss of baby teeth if neglected. Proper care of baby teeth is important in enhancing the health of your child.

How can I prevent decay when nursing?

Avoid nursing children to sleep at bedtime, or putting anything in their bottle other than water. If it’s necessary to nurse at night, wash or wipe the teeth, gums and mouth prior to putting the child to bed.

How can I help my child get through teething?

Sore gums are part of the normal eruption process. Using a piece of toast or a frozen teething ring can often ease discomfort. Medications that can be rubbed into the gums to reduce pain can also be found at your pharmacy. Once the tooth is out the pain should decrease.

OLDER CHILDREN

Is thumb sucking bad?

Thumb and pacifier sucking habits are not a problem unless they continue for a long period of time. Most children will stop on their own; however, if your child’s habits persist and it begins to have an effect on the teeth, a mouth appliance may be recommended.

What if the permanent tooth gets knocked out?

First, it’s important to remain calm. If possible, find the tooth and, holding it by the crown (the white part) rather than the root (the long skinny part), put it back in its socket (the area that it was knocked out from). Hold the tooth in place with clean gauze or a washcloth. If you can’t put the tooth back in its socket, place the tooth in a clean container of milk and bring your child and the tooth to our office immediately. The faster you act, the better your chances of saving the tooth.