Dental Associates

Pediatric Dentist Questions

Answers to common questions asked of our Pediatric Dentist

What is meant by Dental Home?
The Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association are encouraging the “Dental Home" concept, where parents of children develop a relationship with a pediatric dentist for their children. This relationship should start no later than the child’s first birthday.

Visiting a pediatric dentist after a child’s first tooth erupts has two great benefits. First, any problems that may exist can be discovered and treated early, potentially eliminating larger problems down the road. Second, visiting a pediatric dentist early gets your child comfortable with the dentist and may reduce future anxiety. If they only visit the dentist when there’s a problem, your child will have a negative impression of their relationship with their pediatric dentist. To the contrary, if you get them comfortable visiting our dental clinic, they may look forward to each visit and be more comfortable if problems arise in the future.

When should my child first see a dentist?
Schedule your first dental visit shortly after the first baby tooth appears and no later than the child’s first birthday. Learn more about a child’s first dentist visit.

Are baby teeth important?
Baby teeth are extremely important and are susceptible to cavities just like adult teeth. They help children speak clearly, chew naturally, and provide a path for permanent teeth. Baby teeth forge the way for a lifetime of oral wellness and a smile that helps children feel healthier, happier and more confident.

Is it necessary to brush baby teeth since they fall out anyway?
Baby teeth are more important than you realize and should be cleaned regularly. Clean new and emerging teeth with a damp wash cloth after feeding. As teeth become bigger in toddlers, use a children’s tooth brush and children’s toothpaste. Your pediatric dentist will cover cleaning techniques at your first visit. Read about the importance of baby teeth.

What is teething?
Teething is when an infant's first baby teeth, often called "milk teeth," start emerging through the gums. Teething may start as early as three months or as late as twelve months. Teething is also called “cutting teeth,” although the process of tooth eruption doesn’t actually cut a baby’s gums.

What are the side effects of teething?
As baby teeth erupt, babies tend to drool more, are more irritable than normal, lose their appetite, and become sleepless. A baby’s temperature may also rise above normal levels, but not to a fever. If your baby has a fever, contact your physician. Also contact your physician if your baby develops a rash or diarrhea, as these are not common symptoms of teething.

What is tooth eruption?
Tooth eruption is the process in which a baby’s teeth first appear.

When do a baby’s teeth erupt?
Baby teeth typically appear in pairs at different times, from age 6 months until an infant is 2-to-3 years old.

What is baby bottle tooth decay?
Tooth decay that occurs in infants and toddlers is referred to as baby bottle tooth decay. Cavities and tooth decay that occur at this young age are usually found in the upper front teeth. Avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle. This will prevent sugars from collecting and residing in the mouth during sleep. Similarly, avoid using a baby bottle as a pacifier for a fussy baby, because the prolonged exposure may lead to tooth decay. Learn more about baby bottle tooth decay

What are dental sealants?
A dental sealant is a plastic material that a pediatric dentist applies to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (premolars and molars) of children. Dental sealants are a plastic resin that bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces on the back teeth, acting as a barrier to protect enamel from plaque and acids.

Can dental sealants help prevent cavities?
Thorough brushing and flossing are the best way to remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth. But toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque. Sealants protect these vulnerable areas by "sealing out" plaque and food.

Are dental sealants just for children?
The likelihood of developing pit and fissure decay begins early in life, so children and teenagers are obvious candidates. But depending on the case, adults can also benefit from sealants.

What are the side effects of thumbsucking?
Thumb sucking is a common habit that helps newborns and babies sooth themselves. However, once a child’s permanent teeth appear, thumb sucking may create problems with the growth and alignment of the child’s teeth, leading to braces and orthodontics.

Is teeth grinding a concern?
Teeth grinding or bruxing is not unusual in the mixed dentition stage. Sometimes it is difficult for children to find a position of comfort because the primary teeth are being lost and the erupting permanent teeth continue to change position. If you suspect your child is grinding their teeth, you should bring it to the attention of your Dental Associates pediatric dentist. They will examine your child’s bite pattern to see if any type of dental appliance, or possibly orthodontics (braces), is necessary.

Can mouth guards protect teeth while playing sports?
In high contact sports like boxing or football, mouth guards are an obvious piece of equipment. However, in any sport, even non-contact sports like soccer, your teeth or orthodontics can be at risk for incidental contact that could result in broken teeth or serious damage to your lips, tongue and jaw. A mouth guard is a simple piece of equipment that helps reduce your risk of injury, but it will not prevent all damages.

The best mouth guard is one that’s been custom fit to your mouth by your dentist. However, if you can’t afford a custom mouth guard, an off-the-shelf mouth guard from your local drugstore is better than nothing. Learn more about mouth guards.

Can you make a mouth guard for my child’s sports team?
Your Dental Associates pediatric dentist can make a custom-fitted mouth guard to protect your teeth during athletic activities. They are more expensive than the store bought kind, but because they are customized, they offer a superior fit compared to off-the-shelf mouth guards or boil-and-bite mouth guards. In some cases, we can even match your team’s colors if you wish.

Do all children need their wisdom teeth removed?
No, not all children have their wisdom teeth removed as a matter of course. Your child’s pediatric dentist, and later in life, general dentist, will monitor the development of your child and recommend wisdom teeth removal only if necessary. Read more about oral surgery and wisdom teeth removal.


Schedule a Consultation

If you’d like to schedule a consultation with one of our pediatric dentists, visit our Locations page to find our dental clinic near you. Call the clinic of your choice and tell them you’re interested in a consultation with a pediatric dentist. You may also Request an Appointment here.

Family Dental Insurance Dental Associates is the exclusive provider of CarePlus Dental Plans insurance. With CarePlus dental insurance, you can save your family money on dental care, even if you already have dental insurance. Use their Savings Calculator to see how much you can save with your existing dental insurance. Visit CarePlus Family Dental Insurance