Your Guide To Pediatric Dentistry In Chester, VA
Below are common questions and our answers about the best way to care for children’s teeth.
We recommend you make an appointment to see us as soon as your son or daughter gets their first tooth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children be seen by six months after their first tooth appears, or at one year of age, whichever comes first.
All dental specialists (pediatric dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, and others) begin by completing dental school, then continue their education with several years of additional specialized training. During training in the field of pediatric dentistry, our doctors gained extensive knowledge and experience in treating infants, children, and adolescents.
Pediatric dentists enjoy working with children and bring to each patient our expertise in childhood development and behavior. Because our office is geared toward young visitors, you’ll find our team, as well as our office design, decorations, and activities, all work together to provide an especially friendly and comfortable environment for children.
The first visit is usually short and simple. In most cases, we focus on getting to know your little one and giving you some basic information about dental care. The doctor will check your youngster’s teeth for placement and health, and look for any potential problems with the gums and jaw.
We will also answer any questions you have about how to care for your child’s teeth as they develop and provide you with anticipatory guidance as to how best maintain your child’s oral health at home.
The best preparation for your child’s first visit to our office is to maintain a positive attitude. Children pick up on adults’ apprehensions, so if you make negative comments about trips to the dentist, you can be sure your son or daughter will anticipate an unpleasant experience and act accordingly.
Show your child pictures of the office and team on the website. Let him or her know it’s essential to keep the teeth and gums healthy, and the doctor will help to do that.
Remember our dentists are specially trained to handle fears and anxiety, and our team excels at putting children at ease during treatment.
We recommend scheduling checkups every six months. Depending on the circumstances of your youngster’s oral health, we may recommend more frequent visits.
Although they don’t last as long as permanent teeth, your child’s first teeth play an important role in development. While they’re in place, primary teeth help your little one speak, smile, and chew properly. They also hold space in the jaw for permanent teeth.
If a child loses a tooth too early (due to damage or decay), nearby teeth may encroach on that space, which can result in crooked or misplaced permanent teeth. Also, your child’s general health is affected by the oral health of the teeth and gums.
Even before your infant’s first tooth appears, we recommend you clean the gums after feedings with a damp, soft washcloth. As soon as that first tooth appears, you can start using a toothbrush. Choose a brush with soft bristles and a small head. You most likely can find a toothbrush designed for infants at your local drugstore.
Once your child has a few teeth, you can start using toothpaste on the brush. Use only a tiny amount of fluoridated toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice) for each cleaning.
Because your little one won’t be able to spit out the toothpaste, you can always wipe the toothpaste out of the mouth after brushing with a clean washcloth. Please avoid using an excessive amount of toothpaste on the toothbrush, as a small amount is sufficient. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a smear or grain of rice-sized amount for children younger than three years, and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is appropriate for most children starting at three years of age.
You should brush your child’s teeth until he or she is ready to take on that responsibility, which usually happens by age six or seven.
Certain types of bacteria live in our mouths. When they 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, and eventually eat through the enamel and create holes in the teeth, which we call cavities.
Make sure your child brushes his or her teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Flossing daily is also crucial because doing so can reach spots between the teeth that brushing can’t.
Check with our team about a fluoride supplement, which helps tooth enamel become harder and more resistant to decay. Avoid sugary foods and drinks, limit snacking, and maintain a healthy diet.
Finally, make regular appointments so we can check the health of your child’s teeth and provide professional cleanings.
Sealants cover the pits and fissures in teeth that are difficult to brush and therefore susceptible to decay. We recommend sealants as a safe, simple way to help your youngster avoid cavities, especially for molars, which are the hardest to reach.
Even children’s sports involve contact, so we recommend mouthguards for children active in sports. We recommend a boil-and-bite mouthguard (which can be bought over the counter) to protect the teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums.
A large majority of children suck their thumbs or fingers as infants. Most grow out of it by the age of four without causing any permanent damage to their teeth. If your little one continues sucking after permanent teeth erupt, or sucks aggressively, let us know, and we can discuss ways to decrease and eventually stop the habit.
X-rays are important to diagnose cavities and pathology and your doctor will recommend when they should start to be taken. The first set consists of simple pictures of the front upper and lower teeth, which familiarizes your child with the process. Once the baby teeth in the back are touching one another, then regular (at least yearly) x-rays are recommended.
Permanent teeth start coming in around age six, and x-rays help us make sure your child’s teeth and jaw are healthy and properly aligned. If your son or daughter is at a high risk of dental problems, we may suggest having them taken at an earlier age.