Steven D. Lasser, DMD
Craig E. Elice, DDS, MS
Fotini M. Dionisopoulos, DMD
Olutayo “Tayo” Odusanwo, DMD, MS
What is a pediatric dentist?
A pediatric dentist has an extra two or three years of specialized training after dental school and is dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy through the teenage years. The very young, pre-teens, and teenagers all need different approaches in dealing with behavior, guiding their growth and development, and helping them avoid future dental problems.
At what age should I schedule my child’s first visit?
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association, your child’s first visit should occur about
6 months after their first tooth erupts, but no later than your child’s first birthday. Although it may seem young, finding your child’s “dental home” is a key to a lifetime of good dental health. Besides gently examining your baby's mouth and teeth, an important goal of the first visit is to make sure parents are educated with the tools to help prevent future dental problems.
How often should my child see a pediatric dentist?
The American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommend visiting a dentist twice a year for a checkup and a professional cleaning. Our office also recommends two visits per year.
What should I expect for my child’s first appointment?
The procedure at the first visit will depend on your child’s age, personality and individual needs. He may progress from simply getting familiar with the room and people to a complete examination, cleaning and topical fluoride treatment. Preventive measures will be discussed. In our effort to keep the number of X-rays to a bare minimum, X-rays are not taken on a routine basis. Rather, they are taken only if a specific dental situation warrants it.
Why are baby teeth so important?
It is very important to maintain the health of primary teeth (baby teeth). Neglected cavities can cause pain and infection, and can also lead to problems which affect the developing permanent teeth.
Primary teeth, which generally fall out between the ages of 5 and 12,
are important for (1) proper chewing and eating, (2) providing space for permanent teeth and guiding them into position, and (3) permitting normal development of the jaw bones and muscles.
Why does my child need dental x-rays?
Our goal is to minimize the amount of radiation exposure that every child receives at our office. We do not believe in “routine x-rays,” but rather limit any films to those situations in which we have a specific concern. Most children younger than the age of 5 or 6 generally do not have radiographs taken in our office.
Once a child begins to transition into the permanent dentition (lose their baby teeth), radiographs become necessary to insure that those permanent teeth are coming in properly. Of course, when we are dealing with developing orthodontic problems, it is necessary to assess the development of the jaw and underlying tooth structures.
With contemporary safeguards and digital radiography, the amount of radiation received in a dental x-ray examination is extremely small. The risk is negligible.
In fact, the dental radiographs represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem. Lead body aprons and shields will protect your child. Today’s equipment restricts the beam to the area of interest.
What are sealants, fillings and crowns?
A sealant is a composite material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, where a majority of cavities in children can form. This sealant acts as a barrier to food, plaque, and acid, thus protecting the decay-prone areas of the teeth. However, cavities between the teeth are not protected by sealants. As long as there is no decay in the tooth, sealants will be recommended for most permanent teeth.
If your child has a cavity, a filling is placed after the cavity is removed.
The filling is tooth colored (white).
In a primary tooth, if a cavity is too large to restore with a filling, a crown may be recommend or the tooth may need to come out. If the cavity is too large and has involved the nerve of the tooth, then the nerve will be removed (pulpotomy) along with the decay, and a filling or a crown will be placed. For front teeth, white restorations are used.
What can I do about my child’s toothache?
Begin by cleaning around the sore tooth meticulously. Using warm salt water, rinse the mouth to displace any food trapped between teeth. UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you use aspirin on the aching tooth or on the gum. In the event of facial swelling, apply a cold compress to the area. For temporary pain relief, acetaminophen is recommended. Contact our office as soon as possible.
Our son has fractured his tooth.
What do you suggest?
Rinse debris from injured area with warm water. Place cold compresses over the face in the area of injury. Placement of Vaseline over the area of the broken tooth will aid in decreasing sensitivity. Locate and save any broken tooth fragments in milk.
Contact our office as soon as possible if the break appears severe.
My child accidentally knocked out her permanent tooth.
What should I do?
The first thing to do is to try to remain calm. This can be a very upsetting situation for both you and your child.
Always make sure your child has not passed out or is unable to remember the injury. If this is the case, you will need to report to the emergency room for head trauma evaluation.
Next, determine if it is a permanent or baby tooth. If it is a baby tooth, DO NOT REIMPLANT. Contact us immediately for instructions.
If it is a permanent tooth, find the tooth and pick it up by the crown of the tooth
(the part you see in the mouth).
Try not to handle the root of the tooth.
If there appears to be debris on the tooth, rinse with water, milk or saliva.
Next, place the tooth back in the socket and contact our office immediately.
The best chance for survival of the tooth is if has been re-implanted within 30 minutes of the injury. This is why it is critical that you re-implant immediately.
Your child will need to be seen shortly after, so the tooth can be splinted.
My child has bitten or cut their tongue, lip or cheek. What should I do?
Due to a child’s unfamiliarity with the feeling of a “numb mouth,” children often bite their lip or chew their cheek after a dental visit.
Ice can be applied to any bruised areas. For bleeding, apply firm (but gentle) pressure with sterile gauze or a clean cloth. If the bleeding does not stop with pressure or continues after 15 minutes, please give our office a call.
When should my child where a mouth guard?
Your child should wear a mouthguard whenever he or she is in an activity with a risk of falls or of head contact with other players or equipment. We usually think of football and hockey as the most dangerous to the teeth, but nearly half of sports-related mouth injuries occur in basketball and baseball. Our doctors will recommend the best mouth guard for your child.