Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric Dentistry

The first “regular” dental visit should be just after your child’s third birthday. The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. We may ask the parent to sit in the dental chair and hold their child during the examination. The parent may also be asked to wait in the reception area during part of the visit so that a relationship can be built between your child and your dentist.

We will gently examine your child’s teeth and gums. X-rays may be taken (to reveal decay and check on the progress of your child’s permanent teeth under the gums). We may clean your child’s teeth and apply topical fluoride to help protect the teeth against decay. We will want to ensure your child is receiving adequate fluoride at home. Most importantly, we will review with you how to clean and care for your child’s teeth.

What should I tell my child about the first dental visit?

We are frequently asked this question. We suggest you prepare your child the same way that you would before their first haircut or trip to the shoe store. Your child’s reaction to his first visit to the dentist may surprise you.

Here are some “First Visit” tips:

  • Take your child for a “preview” or online tour of the office.
  • Read books with them about going to the dentist.
  • Review with them what the dentist will be doing at the time of the first visit.
  • Speak positively about your own dental experiences

During your first visit the dentist will:

  • Examine your mouth, teeth and gums
  • Evaluate adverse habits like thumb sucking
  • Check to see if you need Fluoride
  • Teach you about cleaning your teeth and gums
  • Suggest a schedule for regular dental visits.

What about preventative care?

At our office we are most concerned with all aspects of preventive care. We use the latest in sealant technology to protect your child’s teeth. Sealants are “high-tech” plastics that are bonded to the chewing surfaces of decay prone back teeth. This is just one of the ways we will set the foundation for your child’s lifetime of good oral health.

Cavity prevention
Most of the time cavities are due to a diet high in sugary foods and a lack of brushing. Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help. The longer it takes your child to chew their foods the longer the residue stays on their teeth, the greater the chances of getting cavities.

Every time someone eats, an acid reaction occurs inside their mouth as the bacteria digests the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time the acid environment can destroy the tooth structure, eventually leading to cavities.

Consistency of a person’s saliva also makes a difference; thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food more quickly. When a person eats diets high in carbohydrates and sugars they tend to have thicker saliva, which in turn allows more of the acid-producing bacteria that can cause cavities.

Tips for cavity prevention:

  • Limit Frequency of meals and snacks.
  • Encourage brushing, flossing and rinsing.
  • Watch what you drink.
  • Avoid sticky foods.
  • Make treats part of meals.
  • Choose nutritious snacks.

The first baby teeth that come into the mouth are the two bottom front teeth. You will notice this when your baby is about 6-8 months old. Next to appear will be the 4 upper front teeth and the remainder of your baby’s teeth will follow periodically. They will usually appear in pairs along the sides of the jaw until the child is about 2 1/2 years old.

At around 2 1/2 years old your child should have all 20 teeth. Between the ages of 5 and 6 the first permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Some of the permanent teeth replace baby teeth and some don’t. Don’t worry if some teeth are a few months early or late as all children are different.

Baby teeth are important as they not only hold space for permanent teeth but they are important to chewing, biting, speech and appearance.

For this reason, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene.

When should my child have their first dental visit?

We recommend that you make an appointment to see the dentist as soon as your child gets their first tooth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child is seen by six months after their first tooth erupts or age one, whichever is first.

What happens during my child's first visit to the dentist?

The first visit is usually short and simple. In most cases, we focus on getting to know your child and giving you some basic information about dental care. The doctor will check your child’s teeth for placement and health, and look for any potential problems with the gums and jaw. If possible, we may do a bit of cleaning. We will also answer any questions you have about how to care for your child’s teeth as they develop, and provide you with materials containing helpful tips that you can refer to at home.

How often should my child visit the dentist?

We generally recommend scheduling check-ups every six months. Depending on the circumstances of your child’s oral health, we may recommend more frequent visits.

What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?

A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime. (aapd.org)

Are thumbsucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child's teeth?

Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist.  (aapd.org)

Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use?

The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. Parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Once children are 3 to 6 years old, then the amount should be increased to a pea-size dollop and perform or assist your child’s toothbrushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively.  Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.  (aapd.org)

What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth?

The most important thing to do is to remain calm. Then find the tooth. Hold it by the crown rather than the root and try to reinsert it in the socket. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk and take your child and the glass immediately to the pediatric dentist. (aapd.org)

We can’t wait to meet your little one! Until then, feel free to print these coloring pages and bring your child’s masterpiece in with you to your first visit!

Brushing With Wally

Caring for Infant Teeth at Home

pediatric dentist pasadena
pediatric dentist pasadena