Most Frequently Asked Questions
Parents are often concerned about teeth grinding in their children, but it is very common for young kids. The majority of cases 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, at about age 6. The last baby tooth falls out around ages 12-13. Your child’s first permanent molar comes in about also around 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?
- HEALTH: If your child has poor dental health, your child will have a poorer diet, general health and school attendance.
- APPEARANCE: Healthy teeth and smiles build confidence for our children. When children see that they have cavities in their teeth, they tend to shy away from their friends and become more reserved.
- SPEECH: If your child loses his primary front teeth early, they will struggle to say certain words until their permanent teeth come in.
- PREVENTS ORTHODONTICS: The permanent teeth may be unable to come into the right position if the primary teeth are lost prematurely. The second primary molar is not lost until 12-13 years of age.
2) When should my child be seen by a dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the first dental 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 how to prevent cavities and orthodontic problems. By beginning as early as possible, we can minimize your child’s dental problems. Also, 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?
- Central incisors (front) 5-7 years
- Lateral incisors (front) 6-8 years
- First molar (back) 8-10 years
- Canine (eye tooth) 9-11 years
- Second molar (back) 11-13 years
- First molar 5-7 years
- Central incisor 6-7 years
- Lateral incisor 6-8 years
- Premolars 8-11 years
- Canine 11-13 years
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 every day. 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 in place and comes out when the primary tooth is ready to be lost.
8) What is a space maintainer?
One of the most important reasons for maintaining the primary teeth is 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 into its proper position.
9) Other Tips and FAQs
Calming the Anxious Child
Q: How does a pediatric dentist help with dental anxiety?
Pediatric dentists have special training that helps anxious children feel secure during dental treatment. Pediatric dental offices are designed for children and staff members choose to work in a pediatric dental practice because they like kids. Most children are calm, comfortable and confident in a pediatric dental office.
Q: How will a pediatric dentist help my child feel comfortable?
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?
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?
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 restraint 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.