How old should my child be for her first dental visit?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child should have their first dental visit by their 1st birthday. We at Bartlett Pediatric Dentistry agree with this recommendation. This allows our team to examine your child’s mouth, educate parents on proper dental care, and answer any questions parents may have about their child’s oral health. We recommend seeing all of our children every six months for exams starting at age 1, and we will typically attempt a child’s first cleaning around age 3.
When can my child start using fluoride toothpaste?
We recommend fluoridated toothpaste for all children ages 3 and over. For children under the age of 3, we will determine each child’s need for fluoride on an individual basis. If you have questions or concerns about this, please bring your child in for an examination and we can determine your child’s needs.
How long can my child continue to visit the pediatric dentist?
As your child grows, we are equipped to meet all his dental needs up to the age of 18, or when the child graduates from high school. Then it’s time to “graduate” from the pediatric dentist, too, and to begin seeing a general dentist for adult dental needs.
My 5 year-old still sucks her thumb at night. Should I be concerned?
Oral habits such as thumbsucking after the age of 3 or pacifier use after the age of 2 often cause dental problems such as anterior open bites (upper front teeth don’t touch lower teeth) or posterior crossbites (palate is too narrow). Sometimes these problems self-improve if the habit is eliminated early enough. A few suggestions: Day thumb habit – use positive reinforcement when the thumb is NOT in the mouth. One recommendation is a calendar. Pick a calendar, and get a book of fun stickers that your child picks out. Also, pick out a special toy or prize that you can reward the child with after they’ve stopped the habit. Every day they don’t suck their thumb, place a sticker on the calendar. Make a big deal out of every day they don’t suck their thumb when you put the sticker on the calendar. If they can do it for one month, they’ve probably overcome the habit! Then, give them the special toy that they picked out. Bring your calendar with all of the stickers to our office, and we’ll give them a special prize as well. Pacifier – cold-turkey methods: let child tie the pacifier to a helium balloon and launch it. Or send it to Santa for a treat. Or give it to someone you know who has a baby, in exchange for a treat. Gradual method – cut 1/4 inch off of pacifier each week until it is too short to use. Either way, be prepared for a few restless nights; then it will be over.
If your child has a thumb habit or pacifier habit that seems to be a problem, please feel free to set up an appointment with our team so we can examine your child and discuss the issue with you!!
My child fell and bumped his tooth, and it has started to turn dark. What should I do?
This is a very common issue, especially with patients under the age of 4. Often, the tooth will change color because of trauma. It is difficult to predict the outcomes of these teeth: Sometimes they’ll lighten up over time and sometimes they’ll continue to darken.
If it stays dark, the nerve inside the tooth may not be alive. Some of these teeth will get abscessed (infected). An abscessed tooth will often have a pimple on the gums above the tooth, and it may be slightly loose and sometimes is painful. Sometimes a dark tooth will stay dark but give no problems for a long time.
If your child’s tooth is dark, it is a good idea to schedule an appointment for us to examine it to see if there is infection, and to explain further what might need to be done.
My child gets lots of cavities. Are we doing something wrong?
Some children are simply more cavity-prone than others. Their enamel may be more susceptible to cavities than other children. If your child gets more than a few cavities in his first 12 years, you may have to get involved in his care directly. At home, supervise brushing twice a day and perform flossing yourself once a day. Limit sugars, especially between meals, and don’t forget that cereal and drinks contain lots of sugar, too, not just candy and cookies. Beware of apple juice and other fruit juices that contain lots of natural sugar. Ask your pediatric dentist for specific suggestions about your child. Get professional cleanings and exams every six months; insist on a topical fluoride gel treatment every cleaning, not just use of fluoride cleaning paste; get recommended fillings done immediately while the cavities are small; investigate the possibility of sealants applied to the permanent teeth. In short, if your child is cavity-prone, consistently do everything we recommend and you will see results.
My child fell and knocked his two front teeth back. What should I do?
If the teeth are still in the mouth, the best thing to do is to immediately reposition the teeth with your fingers. Many times they will snap back into the correct position. If the teeth are knocked out of the mouth, they can be re-implanted if they are permanent teeth. Place the teeth in milk or water; don’t try to clean off the teeth. Call your dentist immediately. If the teeth are baby teeth, they should not be re-implanted. Instead, we suggest that you control any bleeding by having your child bite on gauze or a tea bag until it stops. With this or any other emergency, you are welcome to call our after-hours phone, 550-5564, for specific instructions