Click the question you want to know and page will automatically scroll to your answer.


Q: What is a Pediatric Dentist
 

Q: When should my child first see a dentist?
 

Q: How often should my child see the dentist?
 

Q: Why visit every six months?
 

Q: What is the best toothpaste for my child?
 

Q: What is dental caries?
 

Q: What are dental sealants?
 

Q: What is nitrous oxide? Is it safe?
 

Q: What type of sterilization techniques does your office practice?
 

Q: How does Fluroide help teeth?
 

Q: Is it a problem if my child grinds his teeth at night?
 

Q: Why do my child’s permanent teeth look more yellow than their baby teeth?
 

Q: What does it mean if my child’s teeth are sensitive to hot and cold?
 

Q: Is there anything that can be done to make sure that my child’s teeth come in straight?
 

Q: What can you do to make my child more comfortable during dental treatments?
 

Q: Why are primary teeth so important – aren’t they going to fall out anyway?
 

Q: How should I clean my infant or toddler’s teeth?
 

Q: Do you do early orthodontic evaluations?
 

Q: Is it a problem if my child sucks his thumb or uses a pacifier?
 

Q: When do we get a panoramic radio graph?
 

Q: What can we do to prevent cavities?
 

Q: Should my child get a mouth guard for their sport?
 

Q: Why should I encourage chewing gum?
 

Q: How do I stop my teenager from grinding their teeth?
 

Q: Does tobacco discolor teeth?
 

Q: Should I let my teenager use a teeth whitener?
 

Q: How do you prevent bad breath?
 

 










Q: What is a pediatric dentist?
 

Pediatric dentists have an extra two to three years of specialized training after dental school, and is dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy through the teenage years. The very young, pre-teens, and teenagers all need different approaches in dealing with their behavior, guiding their dental growth and development, and helping them avoid future dental problems. The pediatric dentist is best qualified to meet these needs.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: When should my child first see a dentist?
 

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child see a pediatric dentist by their first birthday. As dental problems can start early, the earlier the dental visit the better.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: How often should my child see the dentist?
 

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association recommend a dental check-up at least twice a year for most children and adults. However, some children and adults require more frequent visits due to increased risk of tooth decay or a need for more frequent dental cleanings due to braces, poor oral hygiene and increased risk of periodontal disease. Your child's dentist will evaluate any specific needs and recommend a dental prevention regimen.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: Why visit every six months?
 

Studies have shown that 6 months is the average time for plaque and tartar to form on the teeth and for tooth decay to be evident by a radio graph (xray). At each continuing care visit with your child, the pediatric dentist will: Check his gums for inflammation, which is a sign of infection Examine his mouth for indications of possible cancer, diabetes and vitamin deficiencies Examine his jaw joints for any irregularities in their form and function Note any irregularities in his facial structure, bite, arch form, and teeth spacing. Clean his teeth of plaque, tartar and stains Apply appropriate fluoride to the teeth Recommend dietary modifications if necessary Show you and your child how to best clean their teeth at home Encourage your child, if it is age appropriate, to practice good dental hygiene habits at home (practice makes perfect ) We know that on average, we will only see your child 2x a year, so it is very important to us that you have the best information to care for your child’s teeth at home. If ever there are questions that you have related to home dental care, please NEVER hesitate to ask for our guidance.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: What is the best toothpaste for my child?
 

When choosing toothpaste for your child the most important thing to look for is the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance to ensure the product’s safety and effectiveness. Use a small amount of toothpaste – about the size of a pencil eraser or a green pea. No matter what the brand your child uses, always have them spit out the toothpaste rather than swallowing it. Toothpastes containing fluoride should be avoided in children less than 2 years of age.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: What is dental caries?
 

Dental caries, also known as tooth decay or a cavity, is a disease process that causes the breakdown of hard tooth structure. If untreated, caries can lead to severe pain, local infection, tooth loss, and even serious systemic infections. Babies typically are inoculated or “catch” dental caries from their parents. For this reason, it is important that parents attend to their own dental needs, striving to have excellent dental hygiene and, therefore, helping to prevent problems with their children’s teeth. Here is what is happening in your child’s mouth: Teeth, which are primarily made of minerals, are in a constant state of back-and-forth de-mineralization and re-mineralization. When your child eats and drinks, certain types of bacteria create acid from the foods and fluids left on the teeth. The acid de-mineralizes or weakens the tooth enamel. In healthy mouths, the time between meals allows, minerals from the saliva to become incorporated into the teeth, remineralizing the enamel and reversing the damage from the acid. In essence, the tooth heals itself. However, in unhealthy mouths, where there is an abundance of bacteria and a high incidence of juice, energy drink or snack consumption, the enamel never remineralizes and the tooth, instead of healing, develops decay. Therefore, the more parents can clean their children’s teeth, use appropriate amounts of fluoride and give the teeth time between food and drink consumption to recover, the better chance their teeth will have to win the battle for re-mineralization, be healthy, strong and caries free.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: What are dental sealants?
 

A Sealant is a hardened plastic material applied to the vulnerable grooves and pits on the chewing surface of the back teeth (premolars and molars). The sealant acts as a barrier to food debris, plaque and bacteria protecting these cavity prone areas of the teeth. Avoidance of sticky or hard foods, which can "pull" at or “break” the sealants will help them last longer.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: What is nitrous oxide? Is it safe?
 

Nitrous oxide/oxygen ("Happy" air or "Laughing" gas) is a blend of two gases, oxygen and nitrous oxide. When it is inhaled, it has a calming effect on the patient. The relaxed state it produces in the patient allows him/her to respond more favorably to treatment. Nitrous oxide/oxygen is very safe. Your child will remain fully awake and alert and can respond easily to stimuli. It is eliminated quickly from the body with normal breathing of oxygen and room air.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: What type of sterilization techniques does your office practice?
 

Our philosophy is to use as many disposable items as possible. Prophy cups, suction tips, and the like are single-use only and thrown out after each patient. The chair and other areas in the treatment room are cleaned with a sterilant/disinfectant that kills bacteria and viruses. All items that cannot be disposed of, such as handpieces and instruments are rinsed, scrubbed with a brush and placed in an ultrasonic cleaner to remove debris. After the debris has been removed, they are placed in one of our three steam autoclaves that sterilize using extremely high temperatures and pressure.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: How does fluoride help teeth?
 

Fluoride is an element which works in the re-mineralization process, helping your teeth to create stronger tooth enamel. It is important to get the proper dose of fluoride, as too little or too much can be bad for the teeth. In general, there is not as much need to supplement a child for fluoride today as there was a decade ago, because we now have many sources of fluoride. Besides toothpaste, other sources are fluoridated drinking water, like we have here in most of the Greater Boston Area, and processed foods produced with fluoridated water, such as juices and canned foods. Talk with your dentist about your child’s fluoride sources to make sure they are getting the correct amount.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: Is it a problem if my child grinds his teeth at night?
 

Teeth grinding, or bruxism, in children is not uncommon and is usually not related to stress, as it commonly is for adults. For children, bruxism is typically related to the anatomy of the immature jaw joint, and it typically ceases once the permanent teeth come in, or erupt, and the jaw joint matures.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: Why do my child’s permanent teeth look more yellow than their baby teeth?
 

It is normal for the permanent (adult) teeth to be more yellow or grey in their tone of color in comparison to baby teeth. This will become less obvious as baby teeth are lost and more adult teeth are present.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: What does it mean if my child’s teeth are sensitive to hot and cold?
 

It is not uncommon for children to express tooth sensitivity to hot and cold. The enamel of primary teeth is not as thick as that of permanent teeth. Some teeth, however, such as the 6 year molars, can develop with “softer” enamel and, as a result, are more sensitive to temperature changes than other teeth. If this is an issue with your child, please discuss it with the dentist on your next visit.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: Is there anything that can be done to make sure that my child’s teeth come in straight?
 

A complete evaluation of your child’s dental alignment, including space maintenance, arch development and eruption guidance, is part of each continuing care visit. Early treatments may be recommended and can be effective in allowing for the normal eruption of the permanent teeth.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: What can you do to make my child more comfortable during dental treatments?
 

There is no getting around the fact that some dental treatments can cause discomfort. Our objective is to make your child as comfortable as we can while completing his/her dental treatment. The options that we use for managing comfort are topical anesthetics, local anesthetics, nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedation and IV sedation with an anesthesiologist – also called "deep conscious sedation." In some cases, we utilize the outpatient surgery center with Florida Hospital Altamonte Campus and use general anesthesia. You will always have the opportunity to discuss the available options for your child with your dentist and dental team! Talk with the dentist to determine the best approach for comfort management during your child’s dental treatment.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: Why are primary teeth so important – aren’t they going to fall out anyway?
 

Primary teeth, sometimes called “baby teeth,” are important to your child’s health and development and should be cared for just as you would for permanent teeth. Primary teeth serve critical functions as a child learns to eat and speak. They are important for the normal growth and development of the face. In addition, they maintain space on the dental arch and guide the eruption of the permanent teeth. While some primary teeth are typically replaced around age 6, the back teeth (molars) remain in until age 12 or beyond. Without proper care, these teeth can decay and possibly cause toothaches, gum disease, and serious health problems. For these reasons, primary teeth are significant and require good daily hygiene and regular professional attention, just like permanent teeth.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: How should I clean my infant or toddler’s teeth?
 

Clean your infant’s or toddler’s teeth with water and a washcloth, a finger toothbrush or child’s toothbrush with soft bristles. It is recommended not to use fluoridated toothpaste before the age of two. An example of non-fluoridated starter toothpaste is Baby Orajel® Tooth and Gum Cleanser.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: Do you do early orthodontic evaluations?
 

Pediatric dentists are specialists with children’s dental development. Your child’s complete dental condition, including potential orthopedic (concerning the positioning of facial bones) and orthodontic (concerning the positioning of the teeth) conditions will be evaluated at every continuing care visit.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: Is it a problem if my child sucks his thumb or uses a pacifier?
 

Orthopedic change can result from a prolonged use of thumb/finger sucking or pacifiers. This habit is known as “non-nutritive sucking”. This is typically not an issue until age 4 as most children break the habit on their own between 2 and 4 years of age. Sucking is a normal reflex for infants and, as you are probably aware, can soothe them. Children usually stop sucking their thumb/finger naturally as they get more active and begin to require both hands for their activities, like holding toys, climbing on furniture and coloring. Pacifier habits are easier to break therefore we recommend you introduce a pacifier to your child should they have a need for “non-nutritive” sucking. Always use an orthodontic pacifier such as the Nuk Orthodontic Pacifier from Gerber® or the MAM® Orthodontic Pacifiers. You should work towards completely weaning your child from pacifier use by age 3. Children who suck their thumbs frequently or with great intensity after the age of 4 or 5 ARE at risk for dental or speech problems. Such problems include the improper growth of the jaws, misalignment of the teeth and shape of the dental arches. A child may also develop speech problems, including mispronouncing Ts and Ds, lisping, and tongue thrusting. Questions regarding oral habits are common, so please do not hesitate to ask yours! If you are concerned about your child’s thumb sucking or pacifier habit, talk with the dentist about your child’s dental condition, and what you can do to help your child quit their habit. A good book about thumb sucking is David Decides About Thumbsucking: A Story for Children, A Guide for Parents, by Susan Heitler, Ph.D.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: When do we get a panoramic radiograph?
 

When your child’s first permanent molars erupt (age 6), we will suggest taking their first panoramic radiograph. This radiograph is critical for us to see the presence, or absence, of the permanent teeth as well as their shape and eruption pattern. We are also able to evaluate the development of the jaw joint (temporomandibular joint) and the presence of many pathological conditions that affect the jaws. This radiograph is critical to many decisions that we make concerning your child’s restorative and orthodontic care. Follow up panoramic xrays are taken every 3 to 5 years depending on your child's needs.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: What can we do to prevent cavities?
 

As children become older, they tend to become more independent and often increase their snacking and drinking of sugary liquids. We recommend that parents stay diligent at controlling their child’s nutrition, snacking habits, and oral hygiene. It is no coincidence that we see a lot of tooth decay in children who drink a lot of fruit juice. Therefore, we highly recommend that juices be limited to twice a day consumption and the child be given plain water freely throughout the day. We strongly recommend that a parent continue to help a child to brush and floss his/her teeth until he/she is at least 8 years of age. A good rule of thumb is that if he/she cannot tie his/her shoes, he/she can’t do an adequate job of brushing and flossing his/her teeth. Continue to schedule and keep regular continuing care appointments for your child every 6 months. We also see a great frequency of dental caries in teenagers due to the availability of soft drinks and sports drinks in school. Sports drinks are good to use following athletics to replenish fluids, but regular and indiscriminate use bathes the teeth in sugar and acid and leads to decay. We recommend a switch to flavored waters or plain water to give the teeth a break from the sugar-producing acid and provide a chance for them to re-mineralize and heal.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: Should my child get a mouth guard for their sport?
 

We are very supportive of the use of mouth guards in any contact sports, including football, soccer, and hockey. Mouth guards not only protect the teeth, but can reduce concussions, brain injuries, and injuries to the joints. A mouth guard must be comfortable and not cumbersome, so your child or teenager will use it. If you have trouble finding one to fit, we can make a custom one for him or her.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: Why should I encourage chewing gum?
 

We encourage the use of sugarless gum to help prevent tooth decay! Sugarless gum can actually clean the biting surfaces of the molars and stimulate saliva production. This brings minerals to the surface and helps the teeth heal. Keep in mind that gum with sugar is very bad for the teeth.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: How do I stop my teenager from grinding their teeth?
 

Talk with the dentist if your teenager is grinding her teeth. At this age, teeth grinding can lead to jaw joint problems from the stress of overworking the jaw muscles. Often a custom made mouth guard allows the muscles to rest at night, reduces the pain, and protects the teeth and jaw joint.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: Does tobacco discolor teeth?
 

Most parents and teenagers are aware that smoking cigarettes is bad for their health, can damage their mouth and lungs, and stain their teeth. It is also important to note that smokeless tobacco is especially dangerous because the nicotine is absorbed directly through the gums. Studies show the incidence of cancer of the mouth increases as a direct result of its use. It is important to understand that tobacco in any form is very detrimental to oral health, and we strongly advise against its use.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: Should I let my teenager use a teeth whitener?
 

Many teenagers are concerned with personal appearance and having healthy white teeth can boost their self esteem. While excellent oral hygiene and regular checkups are the best way to a beautiful smile, some teenagers may want to try whitening their teeth for extra dazzle. Over-the-counter teeth whitening products can be safe and effective, but consult with the dentist prior to using them to be sure. For a faster and more effective result, we can provide cosmetic teeth whitening with custom trays. With this process, a chemical reaction occurs within the tooth to produce fast and stable results. Talk with the dentist if your teenager is interested in this process.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Q: How do you prevent bad breath?
 

Many parents are concerned with bad breath (halitosis) with their children. Our advice for this problem is to adequately brush teeth, gums, and tongue, and floss every day. We have found that Crest Pro-Health™ toothpaste has been shown to be very effective in reducing bacteria and can improve the breath. Colgate Total™ toothpaste is another good option. We do not recommend that children or teenagers use alcohol-based mouth rinses. It is important to note that if your child, at any age, has allergies, asthma, or sinus infections, he will often have secondary halitosis that can’t be brushed or rinsed away. In these cases we recommend seeing your child’s doctor to address the primary cause.

TOP OF PAGE
 

Print Print | Sitemap
©2014 Chelsea Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics