Frequently Asked Questions in Pediatric Dentistry

Dr. Yasmin Kottait

Pediatric dentists are specialised Paediatricians of dentistry. They have two-or three years additional training after dental school and they only treat children. A good Pediatric dentist has the advantage of having more experience with children and infants and specialized in oral care for children and their dental health needs.
Baby teeth are as important as permanent teeth. As baby teeth guide placement of permanent teeth, baby teeth ensure permanent teeth erupt in the right place.
Decayed baby teeth affect child’s diet and healthy ones help with healthy chewing and gaining more nutrition and taking care of baby teeth will help children with healthy oral habits that will stay with them till older age.
We recommend cleaning your child’s gum even before the first baby tooth appears. Clean his/her teeth with a damp, soft wash cloth after feeding. Once the first tooth appears, you can start using a soft tooth brush with a small head.
Choose a toothbrush with soft bristle so it won’t irritate your child. Make sure that the toothbrush is age appropriate. Choose a toothbrush that has a large grip and a large handle making it easier for your child to brush their teeth. Kids are usually not able to brush their teeth thoroughly until a later age and it’s better to opt for a larger grip to help them out.
You can start using toothpaste when your child firs tooth erupt. Make sure to use tiny amount for each cleaning and for children under one years of age you can choose a toothpaste that doesn’t have fluoride (an organic toothpaste).
Always ask your child to spit out the toothpaste after brushing but not rinse with water. If you are wondering “what do I do my child swallows the toothpaste?” Don’t worry this is natural and tooth paste companies put that into consideration for formulating kiddie pastes. My suggestion is to look for an organic toothpaste with an active ingredient that protects teeth like fluoride does.
The best time for the first pediatric dentist visit is when your child has his first tooth or not later than his/her first birthday. This first dental visit isn’t really for doing any real work but rather for introducing your child to the environment of a dentist’s office. You can let your child explore different instruments and take a ride in the chair to make him/her more comfortable.
How your child feels during the appointment is directly connected to your attitude. If you have a positive attitude, your child will probably have the same. We do our best to keep our environment and the look of the clinic appealing to children, so if you show you child pictures of the clinic before the visit, that will help. We encourage parents to make the visits sound like fun and start a countdown to the dental office, make brushing and flossing charts and get their child excited about their first visit.
Usually the first visits are about getting to you know the child and also giving tips and basic information to parents about general dental care. We will also check your child’s teeth and look for any potential problem that might need treatment. Also, we will answer questions you may have as a parent about how to care for your child’s teeth. If needed we might do a bit of cleaning and provide parents with materials containing helpful tips.
First things first, sooth the pain by rinsing the irritated area with warm salt water. Place a cold compress on the child’s face if it is swollen and give your child a light pain killer like acetaminophen or Tylenol. If the ache does not reduce in 24 to 36 hours, visit your best pediatric dentist to check what could be the issue. Do get in touch for dental emergencies through a call on whats app on 00971505787664.
When your child’s first tooth appears, start using a soft-bristled toothbrush. Its best to brush in the morning after breakfast, before naps and at night before your child goes to sleep. You child might become fussy before he or she gets used to the brush, but don’t be discouraged, eventually they will get used to the routine. Remember that cleaning should not be limited to teeth, the gums also need to be cleaned. Brushing wars are completely normal and a fussy brusher is really expected!
There are two ways to help your child. One is rubbing your baby’s gums with a moistened gauze pad or a wet towel. Two is keeping the area cool with a cold washcloth or a chilled tooth ring. I suggest you wipe your child’s face with a cool cloth as well, to remove excess drool from your child’s face and chins to avoid having rashes.
No matter how healthy your child’s teeth look like, things can change very quickly. In order to prevent cavities a check-up every six months is recommended. Though its best to consult your pediatric dentist when and how often the visit is required. These visits allow the dentist to check your child’s teeth development and evaluate conditions of his/her teeth and gums.
The best age to take your child for their first orthodontic visit is around 4 or 5 when the dentist will have the chance of using preventative orthodontic methods. If your child is already past that age you should take him/her for a visit after all the permanent teeth are out.
Make sure to avoid nursing your child to sleep or giving them anything other than water in their bed-time bottle. Once you see the first teeth, start brushing your child’s tooth and gums with a soft baby toothbrush to avoid decay. Also, don’t used a bottle or Sippy cup as a pacifier to sleep.
Well that’s a very long story. To simplify it, cavities are caused by a certain type of bacteria called mutans streptococcus that can build up in a child’s mouth forming plague. This plaque can cover the teeth. This bacteria feeds on sugar- in all its forms! Whether in milk (breastmilk or cow’s milk), fruits (natural sugar but is still sugar), and processed sugary items like candy, biscuits and cakes! Sugar is sugar! It does lead to decay! That’s why maintaining a healthy diet and dental hygiene will help prevent cavities. 1 in every 4 children get cavities or tooth decay by the age of 4 and some even earlier, so it is very important to schedule your child first dental visit with a good Pediatric Dentist by their first birthday.
We know that children’s sports involve contact, and we recommend mouthguards for children active in sports. If your little one plays baseball, soccer, or other sports, ask us about having a custom-fitted mouthguard made to protect his teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums.
Fissure sealants are thin coatings that when placed on the chewing surface of back teeth, it can prevent cavities or decay in molars for many years. What sealants do, is protecting the chewing surface from cavities with covering the tooth with a shield that will help block germs and food. Getting sealants is easy and pain free and they cover the pits and fissures in the teeth that are difficult to brush.
We recommend first time X-rays at the age of two or three. Initial X-ray is usually simple pictures of the front upper and lower teeth. After a child’s molars in the back are touching each other, then we advise parent on scheduling regular x-rays at least yearly. As permanent teeth come out around age of six, Panoramic X-rays help us make sure that teeth and jaws are aligned.
Fluoride varnish is a dental treatment that provides protection against tooth decay if used in addition to brushing. Fluoride reduces the chance of oral bacteria and slows down decay and stops it from getting worse. Fluoride varnish is a whitish gel that sets quickly when using a soft brush.
One way is to go for toothpastes that don’t have a yummy flavour or any flavour so your child won’t find them tasty. Also, its best that you help your child and monitor him/her while brushing to make sure they rinse their mouth thoroughly and spit the toothpaste. Another method is to make spitting fun by placing a colouring ring or a plastic toy on the drain and encourage your lovely child to spit into the ring.
Although your child’s primary teeth are not permanent, they are important and as dentists we do everything in our power to save them as long as we can. Crowns are usually used to save the life of a tooth that has been damaged by decay and cannot be filled. Your child might need a crown if his/her tooth is in danger of decay especially if the child has difficulty in keeping up with daily oral hygiene.
A tooth friendly diet is one that is filled with vitamins and nutrition. In order to make your child’s diet safe for your child’s tooth, make sure that your child has a balanced diet. A combination of fruits and vegetables, bread or cereals, dairy products and protein such as beef and fish make the perfect healthy diet. Replace chips with crunchy vegetables that are filled with vitamins and strengthen teeth. Nuts are also a great source of folic acid and we always suggest including them in your child’s diet and lunch boxes.
Tooth decay can be prevented by regular visits to the paediatric dentist and following a specific program for brushing, flossing and dental hygiene that the dentist will recommend. Healthy and balanced diet, along with regular dental visits and following dental hygiene will help prevent tooth decay in children.
Fluoride varnish is another treatment that helps in preventing tooth decay, slowing it down and saving it from getting worse. As the name suggests, fluoride varnish is made with fluoride that can strengthen tooth enamel. If your child is at risk of having tooth decay and cavities and his/her teeth is not receiving enough fluoride from brushing and drinking water, we might suggest having a fluoride treatment.
Fluoride plays an important role in your child’s dental health. Your paediatric dentist can help with this question and determine if your child is getting enough fluoride through regular oral exam and consultation. The main source of fluoride for your child is toothpaste and, in some communities, public drinking water includes fluoride. My suggestion is to use a pea size amount of fluoride-based toothpaste for your child’s brushing until the age of size.
X-rays are normally used for preventative purposes and assist paediatric dentists in checking the development of permanent teeth and their placements. Also, sometimes x-rays show missing or extra teeth or other problems that cannot be detected with a visual exam. If your dentist suspects that your child might have a problem that is not visible on the surface, they will advise having an X-ray.
Dental X-rays have very little risk and they are pretty safe. Paediatric dentists are always careful about the amount of radiation to which the child is exposed. During X-ray the dentist uses lead aprons and high-speed films to minimize the amount of radiation.
To avid cavities your child must understand and follow dental hygiene such as brushing regularly and parents should make sure that their child have regular visits to the dentist. Teach your child not to share food and drinks in school to avoid swapping bacteria. Another cause of cavities is Sugar and you can monitor your child’s sugar intake and starchy food or replace them with healthier options such as fruits and honey.
X-rays are important as they reveal a lot of hidden information that cannot be discovered otherwise. X-rays allow paediatric dentists to check your child’s tooth development, diagnose cavities between the teeth and identify possibility of bone diseases. X-rays also help determine if your child needs braces or other orthodontic treatments. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends X-rays every six months, especially if your child has had previous cavities.
If your child knocks a permanent tooth there are essential steps that you should follow. Place a gauze on the socket to control the bleeding and rinse it with milk or salt water. Try to place it back into the socket before blood cloths. Whether you manage to reinsert the tooth or not, visit the dentist within an hour of the incident to have the tooth treated.
Thumb sucking is a common behaviour among children and most of the times they grow out of it when they grow older. Many children stop sucking their thumbs on their own by age 6 or 7 months or between ages 2 and 4. Thumb sucking isn’t usually a problem until a child’s primary teeth fall and permanent ones come in. If your child’s thumb sucking drags to an older age beyond age of 4 you should try talking to your child about it and use positive reinforcements. Another way to handle thumb sucking is to identify the triggers and offer gentle reminders.
Dental sealants are coated on to the top of teeth as a liquid and prevent cavities by covering the chewing surface of the teeth. They keep out food particles and sugars that can get caught in the teeth and cause cavities. Sealants can last for up to ten years and provide protection form cavities.
Baby teeth come and go on a first in, first out manner. The first tooth usually erupts around 6 months of age and girls usually proceed boys in tooth eruption. The general rule is that for every 6 months of life 4 teeth will erupt and by age of 2 to three, all primary teeth should be erupted. Baby teeth start to fall as soon as permanent teeth push them up to take their place. The process of losing primary teeth normally starts at the age of 6 or 7 and goes on for almost 6 years.
In order to keep your child comfortable during painful dental procedures, your paediatric dentist might advise using general anaesthesia. General anaesthesia could also be used if your child needs extensive or complicated procedures that will take a long time to complete and your child might not have the patience for them. General anaesthesia will put your child’s body to sleep so that his/her reflexes will be relaxed.
If your kids are scared from the dentist, bring them to see me 🙂
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