Dr. Keller and his staff specialize in pediatric dentistry, which means our focus is on treating infants, children, and adolescents. Below are common questions and our answers about the best way to care for children’s teeth.
When should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?
We recommend that you make an appointment to see the dentist as soon as your child gets his first tooth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child is seen by 6 months after his/her first tooth erupts or by 1 year old, whichever is first.
What happens during my child’s first visit to the dentist?
The first visit is usually short and simple. In most cases, we focus on getting to know your child and giving you some basic information about dental care. Dr. Keller will check your child’s teeth for placement and health, and look for any potential problems with the gums and jaw. A cleaning may also be completed, if appropriate. We will also answer any questions you have about how to care for your child’s teeth as they develop, and provide you with materials containing helpful tips that you can refer to at home.
How often should the dentist see my child?
Your child should be seen every 6 months, but depending on the circumstances and your child’s oral health, we may recommend more frequent visits.
What is a pediatric dentist?
A pediatric dentist has two to three years of specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. During his training in the field of pediatric dentistry, Dr. Keller gained extensive knowledge and experience in treating infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs. Because our office is geared toward young visitors, you’ll find that our staff, as well as our office design, decorations and activities, all work together to provide a friendly and comfortable environment for children of all ages.
Are baby teeth really important to my child?
Although they don’t last as long as permanent teeth, your child’s first teeth play an important role in development. While they are in place, these primary teeth help your child speak, smile and chew properly. They also hold space in the jaw for permanent teeth to erupt. If a child loses a tooth early due to damage or decay, nearby teeth may move into that space, which can result in crooked or misplaced permanent teeth. Also, your child’s general health is affected by the health of the teeth and gums.
When should my child begin to use toothpaste and how much should he/she use?
You can begin brushing your child’s teeth with fluoride-free toothpaste as soon as the teeth appear. Over the age of two, you can use a pea-sized amount of over-the-counter fluoride toothpaste. You should make sure that your child is rinsing and spitting the toothpaste out after brushing, rather than swallowing the paste.
What should I use to clean my baby’s teeth?
Even before your baby’s first tooth appears, we recommend you clean their gums after feedings with a damp, soft washcloth. As soon as their first tooth appears, you can start using a toothbrush. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. You can most likely find a toothbrush designed for infants at your local pharmacy.
Why is it necessary to take my child to the pediatric dentist every six months?
Regular visits keep your child familiar with the pediatric dentist and encourage a pleasant, confident attitude in the child regarding this necessary, life-long health practice. Also, as your child develops and grows, Dr. Keller will want to be certain that tooth eruption and proper jaw development are progressing normally. Preventive measures such as regular applications of fluoride, placement of sealants on newly erupted teeth, and reinforcement of good daily health practices (brushing, flossing, and dietary advice) can be continually encouraged by the Dr. Keller and staff when the child is a regular and frequent visitor to the dental office. If decay or other dental defect has occurred, it will be detected in the early stages when it is easier and less costly to treat.
What causes cavities?
Certain types of bacteria live in our mouths. When these bacteria come into contact with sugary foods left behind on our teeth after eating, acids are produced. These acids attack the enamel on the exterior of the teeth, eventually eating through the enamel and creating holes in the teeth, called cavities.
How can I help my child avoid cavities?
Be sure that your child brushes his or her teeth twice a day. Flossing daily is also important, as flossing can reach spots between the teeth that brushing can’t. Avoid sugary foods and drinks, limit snacking, and maintain a healthy diet. And finally, make regular appointments so Dr. Keller can check the health of your child’s teeth and provide professional cleanings.
What should I do if my child knocks out a permanent tooth?
Find the tooth and rinse it gently with milk. (Do not scrub or clean it with soap!) If possible, replace the tooth in the socket immediately and hold it there with clean gauze or a wash cloth. If you can’t put the tooth back in the socket, place the tooth in a clean container with cold milk, saliva, or water. Get to the pediatric dental office immediately. Don’t hesitate to call the after-hours emergency number.
What should I do if my child has a toothache?
Call the office to set up the first available appointment. You may apply a cold compress or ice wrapped in a cloth to the face in the area of the pain, but do not put heat or aspirin on the sore area.
My child plays sports; how can I protect his/her teeth?
Even children’s sports involve contact, and we recommend mouth guards for children who are active in sports. If your child plays baseball, soccer, or other sports, ask us about having a custom-fitted mouth guard made to protect the teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums.
Is thumb-sucking or pacifier use hurtful to my child’s teeth?
Children typically stop sucking their thumb or using a pacifier on their own before these habits can cause problems with the primary teeth. If it occurs for long periods of time, particularly if he/she doesn’t stop before the age of three, a pediatric dentist can evaluate for bite issues. A mouth appliance may be recommended.
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