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FAQ – Northeast Pediatric Dentistry

What is a Pediatric Dentist?Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years of specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral health care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.When should my child first see a dentist?

“First visit by first birthday” sums it up. Your child should visit a pediatric dentist when the first tooth comes in, usually between 6 and 12 months of age. This visit will establish a dental home for your child. Early examination and preventive care will protect your child’s smile now and in the future.

Why so early? What dental problems could a baby have?

The most important reason is to begin a thorough prevention program. Dental problems can begin early. A big concern is Early Childhood Caries (formerly known as baby bottle tooth decay or nursing caries). Once a child’s diet includes anything besides breast-milk, erupted teeth are at risk for decay. The earlier the first dental visit occurs for your child, the better the chance of preventing dental problems. Children with healthy teeth chew food easily and smile with confidence. Start your child now on a lifetime of good dental habits with the friendly staff and doctor at Northeast Pediatric Dentistry.

How can I prevent tooth decay from nursing or using a bottle?

At-will breast-feeding should be avoided after the first primary (baby) teeth begin to erupt and other sources of nutrition have been introduced. Children should not fall asleep with a bottle containing anything other than water. Drinking juice from a bottle should be avoided. Fruit juice should only be offered in a cup with meals or at snack time.

When should bottle-feeding be stopped?

Children should be weaned from the bottle at 12-14 months of age.

Should I worry about thumb and finger sucking?

Thumb sucking is perfectly normal for infants; many stop by age 2. Prolonged thumb sucking can create crooked teeth or bite problems. If the habit continues beyond age 3, a professional evaluation is recommended. Your pediatric dentist will be glad to suggest ways to address a prolonged thumb sucking habit.

When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?

The sooner you start cleaning your baby’s mouth the better. Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice daily using training toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Use a “smear” of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child less than 2 years of age. For the 2-5 year old, dispense a “pea- size” amount of toothpaste and perform or assist your child’s tooth brushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively.

Any advice on teething?

From six months to age 3, your child may have tender gums when teeth erupt. Many children like a clean teething ring, cool spoon or cold wet washcloth. Some parents swear by a chilled ring; others simply rub the baby’s gums with a clean finger. Ask the friendly staff at Northeast Pediatric Dentistry for methods on how to help you and your child through this stage.

Are baby teeth (primary teeth) important?

It is very important that primary teeth are kept in place until they are lost naturally. These teeth serve a number of critical functions. Primary teeth:

Maintain good nutrition by permitting your child to chew properly.
Are involved in speech development.
Help the permanent teeth by saving space for them. A healthy smile can help children feel good about the way they look to others.

Do you treat patients with special needs?

Dr. Jackson and the staff at Northeast Pediatric Dentistry are highly trained in treating patients with special health needs. An integral part of our education is concerned with the medical and dental health of the patient with special needs. People with significant medical, physical, or mental disabilities often present challenges to dentists. Our training allows us to address their special needs and provide the best care possible. Give us a call today so that we may begin a lifetime of good oral health with you are your child with special needs.

Source: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry