What is a pediatric dentist? A pediatric dentist is similar to a pediatrician of dentists that has two additional years of specialty training in growth, development, psychology, and behavior of the pediatric patient.
Q: Why a Pediatric Dentist?
A pediatric dentist is a specialist that has completed an additional two years of training at an accredited training program. This rigorous program focuses on addressing the emotional, dental, developmental needs of infants, children, adolescents, and patients with special needs. Like a pediatrician, a pediatric dentist limits her practice to children so her practice can be geared towards the needs of children. Due to the focused nature of our practice, we are able to offer the latest technology and materials. The doctor and her staff are dedicated to delivering dental care in a way that is comfortable and appealing to all patients.
Q: When will baby teeth erupt?
Baby teeth form in utero and can start erupting as early as 4 months. The lower incisors typically erupt first but variations in eruption are normal. When your child was born, the buds for his or her permanent teeth are already in place under the primary teeth. Permanent teeth start erupting at 5-7 years old and the process continues until age 18.
Q: Why are baby teeth important?
Baby teeth are important for: chewing, talking, holding space until a very specific age for permanent teeth to erupt in the correct position, allowing jaws and bones to develop normally. Losing baby teeth early can result in misaligned or unerupted permanent teeth - keep in mind that all baby teeth do not fall out until 10-13 years old so it is important to keep baby teeth healthy and clean.
Q: What is the best toothbrush / toothpaste for my child?
We recommend a soft toothbrush in a shape and size recommended for their age. Children’s toothbrushes may need to be replaced more frequently as young children tend to chew and bite on their brushes. Parental help is important for our young brushers. Toothpastes come in different colors, flavors, and packaging so choose one that appeals to your child. A pea size amount of fluoride toothpaste is recommended for beginning toothpaste users at age 2 years. Remind your child to spit and not swallow the toothpaste as children typically begin spitting at age 4-5 years.
Q: Why are dental x-rays important and are they safe?
Dental x-rays are safe and important for several reasons in addition to caries detection. X-rays allow us to monitor growth and development of teeth and screen for dental pathology. The typical exposure from a set of digital x-rays is less than the background radiation your child receives in one day.
Q: Why does my child grind at night?
Many children go through a period of idiosyncratic (unknown reason) bruxism or grinding at a very young age and most cases do not require any treatment. However, newer research is showing that persistent grinding may be associated with other systemic issues including sleep disordered breathing.
Q: How does thumb sucking or pacifier use are affect my child?
Most of these habits cease on their own as children grow up or peer pressure from friends. If you child is persistent in thumb sucking, your pediatric dentist should discuss options to help discourage these habits – sometimes this may include an appliance to help.