Pediatric Dentistry of Reston (703) 435-1500
1984 Isaac Newton Square, Ste 200
Reston, VA 20190

Most Frequently Asked Questions

Parents are often  concerned about grinding of teeth, but it is very common in young kids. The majority of cases of children grinding do not require treatment. If excessive wear of the teeth is present, then a mouth guard may be indicated.

Your child’s first baby tooth should fall out on average, about age 6, and the last baby tooth falls out about age 12/13. Your child’s first permanent molar comes in about age 6. Usually a baby tooth falls out on its own if a permanent tooth replaces it. If the permanent tooth grows in behind or in front of a baby tooth please get it checked out so that your dentist can easily prevent the need for future Orthodontics.

If a permanent tooth falls out while playing, do not rinse it. Put the tooth in a cup of milk or water and tell a teacher, nurse or parent. Please get the child and tooth to the dentist within 2 hours.    

1) Why are the primary teeth important?

2) When should my child be seen by a dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a first check, 6 months after the eruption of the first tooth. Your child’s teeth will be looked at, but most importantly you will be educated as to teething problems, feedings habits, and in general how to prevent cavities and orthodontic problems. By beginning as early as possible, we can minimize your child’s dental problems. Plus by introducing your child to the pediatric dentist when little or no work is needed, leads to a much more positive attitude about dentistry.

3) When will my child lose the primary teeth and when will the permanent teeth come in?



4) How can I help prevent my child from getting cavities?

You can remove the decay that causes bacteria by helping your child brush their teeth thoroughly everyday. The bacteria that grow on the teeth forms a white, creamy material called plaque. Your child may be brushing, but he still may not be removing the plaque from his teeth.

The bacteria use the food on the teeth, especially sugars to make an acid, which eventually causes a hole or cavity in the tooth. You can prevent dental decay by limiting sweet foods with a meal. The tooth can be made less susceptible to decay by the use of fluorides. This makes the tooth more resistant to decay. In addition, the use of sealants bonded to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth can also prevent decay in these susceptible areas.

5) My child does not like milk. Will this make his teeth weaker?

No. Calcium is one of the things needed to form good tooth structure. Your child can receive calcium from many other foods such as cheese, almonds, and eggs. Milk does have sugar in it. If allowed to remain on the teeth, such as a night bottle, it will act like sugar and cause cavities.

6) Why does my child need radiographs (x-rays)?

It is our obligation as pediatric dentists to give your child the very best in dental care. In order to accomplish this, we must use x-rays.  Most offices today, including ours, have digital x-rays in their office. With the use of radiographs we can see the condition, size, and eruption path of the permanent teeth under the primary teeth.

7) What is a stainless steel crown?

This crown is a tooth shaped silver cap that protects the tooth when the tooth can no longer hold the usual filling. This crown is cemented to place and comes out when the primary teeth is ready to be lost.

8) What is a space maintainer?

One of the most important reasons for maintaining the primary teeth is that they hold the space open for the permanent teeth that will replace them. If a primary tooth is lost early, the other teeth next to the open space will close off the vacancy. The permanent teeth underneath the gum will be blocked out and this will result in an orthodontic problem. This usually stays in place until the permanent tooth comes in its proper position.

9) Other Tips and FAQs

Calming the Anxious Child

Q:  How does a pediatric dentist help with dental anxiety?

A:  Pediatric dentist have special training in helping anxious children feel secure during dental treatment.  And, pediatric dental offices are designed for children.  Staff members choose to work in a pediatric dental practice because they like kids.  So, most children are calm, comfortable and confident in a pediatric dental office.

Q:  How will a pediatric dentist help my child feel comfortable?

A:  Pediatric dentists are trained in many methods to help children feel comfortable with dental treatment.  For example, in the “Tell-Show-Do” technique, a pediatric dentist might name a dental instrument, demonstrate the instrument by using it to count your child’s fingers, and then apply the instrument in treatment.

The modeling technique pairs a timid child in dental treatment with a cooperative child of similar age.  Coaching, distraction, and parent participation are other possibilities to give your child confidence in dentistry.  But by far the most preferred technique is praise.  Every child does something right during a dental visit, and pediatric dentists let children know that.

Q:  Should I accompany my child into treatment?

A:  Infants and some young children may feel more confident when parents stay close during treatment.  With older children, doctor-child communication is often enhanced if parents remain in the reception room.

Q:  What if a child misbehaves during treatment?

A:  Occasionally a child’s behavior treatment requires assertive management to protect him or her from possible injury.  Voice control (speaking calmly but firmly) usually takes care of it.  Some children need gentle restrain of the arms or legs as well.  Mild sedation, such as nitrous oxide/oxygen or a sedative, may benefit an anxious child.  If a child is especially fearful or requires extensive treatment, other sedative techniques or general anesthesia may be recommended.