21 Most Frequently Asked Questions Related To Pediatric/Child Dentistry

Q.1 Who Is a Pediatric Dentist?

A pediatric dentist is child dental specialists who possess an extra 2 years of specialized training and is only committed to the oral health of children from infancy through the teen years. The toddlers, very young, pre-teens, and teenagers all require different approaches in managing with their oral issues; behavior, assisting their dental growth and development, and guiding them avoid future dental problems. The pediatric dentist is best qualified and skilled to fulfill these needs.

Q.2 What are the benefits of child visiting a pediatric dentist?

A pediatric dentist is well equipped with child-friendly equipments that he/she can use to resolve their oral health issues effectively like;-

  • Professional teeth cleaners remove debris and food remains that build up on the teeth, irritate the gums and cause tooth decay.
  • Fluoride treatments help to renew the fluoride in the enamel, preventing cavities and strengthening teeth.
  • Hygiene instructions given by your dentist improve your child's brushing, flossing and oral hygiene habits leading to cleaner, whiter teeth and healthier gums.
  • Cavity-detection or growth and development radiographs will be made to check for any cavity and normal growth pattern of the teeth.

Q.3 How often should a Child see the Dentist?

A dental check-up at least once a year for most children is okay. But for children at increased risk of cavity, tooth decay, poor oral hygiene or unusual growth patterns due to their poor oral care and eating habits may require more frequent dental visits. In these cases, a regular dental visit will help your child stay cavity-free.

Q.4 Why are the Primary Teeth so Important?

It is quite essential to maintain the health of the primary teeth or baby-teeth because:-

  • Neglected caries and decay can quickly lead to oral and health problems which have direct impact on developing permanent teeth.
  • Enables proper eating and chewing
  • Provides space for permanent teeth and direct them into the correct position
  • Allows normal development of the muscles and jaw bones.
  • Proper maintenance of baby teeth affects development of speech and adds to an attractive appearance.
  • While the front four teeth last until 5-6 years of age, the back teeth (molars and cuspids) are not replaced until age 10-12.

Q.5 When will my baby start growing teeth?

The process of teething (baby/primary teeth) takes action through the gums into the mouth. It is variable in individual babies. Usually, the first baby teeth appear as the lower front teeth and they generally start appearing between the ages of 6 - 8 months.

Q.6 What are Dental X-Rays?

X-Rays or Radiographs are a vital element of your child’s oral diagnostic process. Without X-rays or radiographs, certain oral problems and dental conditions can be overlooked. X-Ray can detect much more than cavities. For example, X-Rays may be needed to examine and analyze sprouting teeth, detect bone diseases, survey the results of an injury, or plan orthodontic treatment. X-Rays allows diagnosing and treating dental conditions that cannot be diagnosed during a clinical examination. When oral conditions are detected and treated early, dental treatment becomes more comfortable for your little one and more cost-effective for you.

Most pediatric dentists’ advice radiographs about once a year. Around every 3 years it is a viable idea to receive a complete set of radiographs, either bitewings or panoramic and bitewings or periapicals.

Q.7 Are dental or laser dental X-rays harmful for my children?

Laser or any kind of X-rays do not expose your child to any harm. Pediatric dentists are specifically cautious to minimize the exposure of their little patients to radiation. With contemporary safeguards, the frequency and power of radiation obtained in a dental X-ray examination is tremendously low. So, the risk is negligible. In fact your child is under cover in lead body aprons and protective shields. Today’s advanced dental equipment filters out irrelevant X-rays and limits the X-ray beam to the area of target. High-speed film and protective guards ensure that your child receives a minimal amount of radiation.

Q.8 How do I take care of my Child’s Teeth at home?

At-home baby dental care typically starts with daily brushing as soon as your tot’s first tooth appears. Along with brushing twice daily and flossing once in a day you can follow below suggested step to keep your child away from seeing a dentist ever in life:-

  • Brushing takes away plaque from the outer, inner and chewing surfaces Flossing removes plaque in between the teeth where a toothbrush is unable to reach. Flossing should start when any 2 teeth touch. Use about 18 inches of floss, in back and forth motion while twisting most of it around the middle fingers of both the hands.
  • Make it a point to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and take your dentist’s advice if you need a fluoride rinse. This will prevent cavities. Fluoride toothpaste should generally be for an old enough child who does not swallow it. Usually children should be able to brush their own teeth by age of 5-6, though, each child is different.
  • Strictly avoid foods that contain lot of sugar (artificial, refined and natural). Sugar produces and increases bacteria in your mouth that further cause more plaque and possibly caries.
  • Stop breast feeding your child throughout night. It not only increases the risk of cavity but also leads to bad breadth.
  • Don’t shy away from brushing your tongue! Brushing your tongue, will scrape out remaining food particles and minimize the amount of plaque-causing bacteria. Tongue brushing keeps breath fresh.

Q.9 Why is fluoride recommended?

Fluoride content enables your child’s teeth to healthy and strong. Getting an appropriate amount of fluoride until age of 16 is important to permit proper enamel development.

Q.10 What is dental caries?

Dental caries or decay is a chronic disease of early childhood. If your tot is detected with caries, a comprehensive treatment approach will be implemented. Since, bacteria are the cause of the dental caries, restoring cavities is not sufficed. A comprehensive treatment must address arresting and controlling of bacterium and determining the steps for prevention against future decay.

The younger the child is, the more challenging it is to deal with the decay process. Treatment options will also be depedant on your child’s age and level of affected areas.

Q.11 How can I prevent my child’s tooth decay from nursing or bottle?

You can surely play a role in minimizing your child's risk for baby bottle tooth decay. As your child approaches first birthday, make and motivate them to drink from a cup. Children must not doze off with anything but bottle of water. Avoid nighttime breast-feeding after the first baby teeth starts to come out.

Q.12 What is a cavity?

A cavity is a tiny hole that structures inside the teeth because of tooth decay. Cavities are formed when the outside plaque buildup on the tooth combines with starches and sugar in the food. If a cavity is neglected or is not untreated, it can lead to severe dental problems.

Q.13 What is a filling?

A filling is a synthetic substance (made of different materials like composites of ceramic, gold) that the dentist uses to fill a cavity after all of the decay has been removed. Fillings are not usually painful because your pediatric dentist will numb your mouth with a local anesthesia. Fillings are.

Q.14 What are dental sealants?

Sealant is a plastic material that fastens into the grooves of the chewing surface of a tooth to help in prevention of dental decay.

Q.15 How crucial is a balanced diet in maintaining oral health?

Healthy Diet = Healthy Teeth=Very important. Healthy dental condition is not just important for oral health but for entire body. Balanced and nutritious eating habits lead to healthy teeth and thus healthy body. Soft tissues of mouth, teeth, and bones all need a well-balanced diet, specifically right from childhood.

Various snacks that children eat today can lead to tooth decay. More snacking means more chance of cavity formation. Time for how long food remains in the mouth also plays a significant role. Likewise, breath mints and sugar candy stay in the mouth for a long time, which cause acid attacks on tooth enamel. If your sweetheart insists snack, pick nutritious foods like low-fat cheese, green vegetables, low-fat yogurts which are better for children’s teeth.

Frequent consumption of sweetened ice tea, soft drinks, soda bottles, Kool-Aid or flavored glucose drinks spells disaster for a child’s teeth. If you need to make sweetened drinks, use Splenda, a calorie free and natural carbohydrate made from sugar.

Q.16 When should bottle feeding be stopped?

At 12-14 months of age.

Q.17 When should I change my child’s toothbrush?

Dentist recommends that children should change their toothbrush every 3 months. However when you are brushing your teeth 2 times a day, it is likely to wear out soon. If you are using an electric toothbrush, read the instructions given as you may not need to change toothbrush heads as frequently.

Patients with gum disease are recommended to change their toothbrush every 4 to 6 weeks to prevent any bacteria from spreading. After brushing, wash off your toothbrush with Luke warm water to keep the bristles clean and kill the germs. Children or adults, who have been sick, be sure to change your toothbrush as early as possible.

Q.18 Does Your Child Grind His Teeth at Night?

Child teeth grinding condition is also referred to as Bruxism. Often, the first signal you get is of the noise generated by the child grinding in their teeth during sleep. Or, you may notice the teeth getting shorter to the dentition.

One defined cause of grinding teeth is psychological component. Stress due to disturbances in family, new environment, changes at school or any induced fear etc. can cause a child to grind their teeth. Another cause relates to pressure in the inner ear during night, due to take-off and landing of airplane, chewing gum. In these cases the child will grind by moving his jaw to equalize pressure

Majority of cases of child bruxism do not need any treatment. And the good news is that most children get over bruxism. The grinding automatically reduces between the ages 8-10 and children eventually stop grinding between ages 10-12.

Q.19 Does my child need dental checkups if he/she has braces?

Yes! It is even more essential for the patients to obtain orthodontic treatment visiting their dentist regularly. With braces on, food may get stuck in places that your toothbrush cannot remove. This causes bacteria formation and can lead to cavities gum disease and gingivitis. A regular visit with your orthodontist, like once in 6 months will make sure that your teeth are clean and healthy while wearing braces.

Q.20 Are mouth guards safe for my children?

A mouth guard can be used to prevent teeth grinding but has a negative aspect of putting in the night time as it could come off and hurt your child. But athletic mouth guard meant for sports activities is a good option for protecting your child’s teeth from possible sports injuries. Additionally, it also protects the lips, tongue, jaw bones and cheeks.

Q.21 How to prepare my child for seeing a dentist?

Play mimicking games with him/her to let them be more open and playful. Make your child to see you enthusiastically participating in good dental care habits and always remain positive in front of them.

If your child is not pleased with the idea of visiting a dentist, take them for a pre-tour of the dentist’s office and show them pictures of the office and try to mix them up with the pediatric and staff.