Frequently Asked Questions

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DENTIST AND A PEDIATRIC SPECIALIST?

A pediatric dentist has an extra two years of specialized training after dental school and is dedicated to the oral health of children, young adults, and those with special needs. Children need different approaches in dealing with their behavior, dental growth, development, and avoidance of future dental problems. A pediatric dentist is best qualified to meet these needs. As you child’s dentist, we will do our best to ensure a successful visit.

WHAT HAPPENS AT A CHILD'S FIRST DENTAL VISIT?

Infant/Young Children (1-3 years old)

First dental visits are very low key and non-invasive at this age. The bulk of the visit consists of you asking questions and sharing information about your child’s teeth. We’ll most often do a quick exam to make sure things are developing correctly. The exam is completed, and if your child does well, we can do a quick brushing with a normal child’s toothbrush.

Children (4 years and older)

A first dental visit at this age often involves an exam, flossing, and cleaning. Children may have some radiographs taken if necessary. Most of what we do is dependent on the age and comfort level of your child.

WHAT IS THE NATURAL PROGRESSION OF TEETH?

Children’s teeth begin forming before birth. Around 6 months, the baby teeth begin to come out, starting with the lower central incisors, followed closely by the upper central incisors. All baby teeth usually come in by age three.

Permanent teeth begin appearing around age 6, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors. This process continues until approximately age 21.

Adults can have up to 32 permanent teeth, if you include all the wisdom teeth.

WHAT DO I DO IN A DENTAL EMERGENCY?

Toothache:

  • Clean the area of the affected tooth.
  • Rinse the mouth thoroughly with warm water or use dental floss to dislodge any food that might be irritating the area.
  • If the pain still exists, contact your child’s dentist.

Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip, or Cheek:

  • Apply ice to injured areas to help control swelling.
  • If there is bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure with a gauze or cloth.
  • If bleeding cannot be controlled by simple pressure, call a doctor or visit the hospital emergency room.

If a Permanent Tooth Has Been Knocked Out:

  • If possible, find the tooth. Handle it by the crown, not by the root.
  • Rinse the tooth with water only. Do not clean with soap, scrub or handle the tooth unnecessarily.
  • Inspect the tooth for fractures. If it is sound, try to reinsert it in the socket.
  • Have the patient hold the tooth in place by biting on gauze.
  • If you cannot reinsert the tooth, transport the tooth in a cup containing the patient’s saliva or milk.
  • If the patient is old enough, the tooth may also be carried in the patient’s mouth (beside the cheek).
  • The patient must see a dentist immediately! Time is a critical factor in saving the tooth.
  • Make sure there are no head injuries apart from the teeth. Have the child’s physician perform a head/neck exam.

If a Baby Tooth Has Been Knocked Out:

  • Contact your pediatric dentist immediately.
  • Make sure there are no head injuries apart from the teeth. Have the child’s physician perform a head/neck exam.
  • The baby tooth should not be replanted because of the potential for subsequent damage to the developing adult tooth.

Chipped or Fractured Permanent Tooth:

  • Contact your pediatric dentist immediately. Quick action can save the tooth, prevent infection, and reduce the need for extensive dental treatment.
  • Rinse the mouth with water and apply cold compresses to reduce swelling.
  • If possible, locate and save any broken tooth fragments and bring them with you to the dentist.