FAQ

Can I stay with my child during their visit?

You are welcome to stay with your child during their initial exam, but at future appointments, we encourage you to remain in the waiting room.

What should I do if my child has a toothache?

Begin by cleaning around the sore tooth carefully. Using warm salt water, rinse the mouth to move any food trapped between teeth. In the event of facial swelling, put a cold compress on the area. For temporary pain relief, acetaminophen is recommended. Contact us to set up an appointment as soon as possible.

How should I treat a cut or bitten tongue, lip or cheek?

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, go to your nearest emergency room. 

What should I do if my child is bleeding after a baby tooth falls out?

Fold a piece of gauze and place it (tightly) over the bleeding area. Ask your child to bite down on the gauze for 15 minutes. If bleeding continues, contact us as soon as possible. 

What should I do if my child breaks a tooth?

Rinse the area with warm water. Put a cold compress over the facial area of the injury. Recover any broken tooth fragments if you can. Contact us to set an appointment as soon as possible.

What should I do if my child's permanent tooth is knocked out?

Recover the tooth, making sure to hold it by the crown (top) and not the root end. Rinse but do not clean or handle the tooth more than necessary. Reinsert the tooth in the socket and hold it in place using a clean piece of gauze or cloth. If the tooth cannot be reinserted, carry it in a cup containing milk or water. Because time is essential, contact us to set up an appointment as soon as possible. 

What should I do if I suspect my child has a broken jaw?

Tie the mouth closed with a towel, tie or handkerchief, and go immediately to your nearest emergency room. 

How should I treat cold or canker sores?

Over-the-counter medications will usually provide temporary relief. If sores persist, call us to schedule an appointment. 

What is gum disease?

Gum, or periodontal, disease can cause inflammation, tooth loss and bone damage. During the early stages of gum disease, or gingivitis, gums may bleed easily and become red and swollen. As the disease advances to periodontitis, teeth may fall out or need to be extracted. One indicator of gum disease is consistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth. Gum disease can usually be prevented by daily brushing and flossing. 

How should I clean my baby's teeth?

Use a toothbrush designed for infants; it has soft bristles and a small head. Brush at least once a day but especially at bedtime to remove bacteria that can cause decay.

At what age should my child have his/her first dental visit?

The general rule is “first visit by first birthday.”  

Why should my child see a pediatric dentist instead of our regular family dentist?

Pediatric dentistry focuses on the oral health of young people. Following dental school, a pediatric dentist spends two to three years of additional training in the unique needs of infants, children and adolescents, including those with special health needs. 

What is baby bottle tooth decay and how can I prevent it?

Baby bottle tooth decay occurs when a child falls asleep while breast-feeding or bottle-feeding. During sleep, the flow of saliva is reduced and the natural self-cleansing action of the mouth is diminished. Do not nurse your child to sleep or put anything other than water in his/her bedtime bottle. Encourage your child to drink from a cup as they approach their first birthday. He/she should be weaned from the bottle by 12-14 months of age. 

Can thumb sucking be harmful for my child's teeth?

Thumb and pacifier sucking habits that persist for a long period of time can cause crowded, crooked teeth or bite problems. If your child is still sucking his/her thumb or finger when permanent teeth erupt, your pediatric dentist may recommend a mouth appliance.

What are dental sealants and how do they work?

Sealants are a thin film of plastic that protect the grooves and depressions on back teeth from cavities. These teeth are very difficult (if not impossible) to clean; recent studies show that 88 percent of all cavities in American school children occur here. Sealants last for several years but needs to be checked during regular appointments. 

When should my child start using toothpaste?

As a general rule, do not use fluoridated toothpaste until age 3. Earlier than that, clean your child’s teeth with water and a soft-bristled toothbrush. After age 3, parents should supervise brushing. Use no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and make sure your child does not swallow excess toothpaste.

Is my child getting enough fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral that helps teeth become stronger and resistant to decay. Drinking fluoridated water and brushing and flossing daily ensures fewer cavities, as does a fluoride treatment applied during regular check ups.

Our dentists can evaluate the fluoride level of your child’s primary source of water. If your child is not getting enough fluoride from water, we may prescribe fluoride supplements.

How safe are dental X-rays?

With modern safeguards, such as lead aprons and high-speed film, the amount of radiation received during a dental X-ray examination is minimal. Dental X-rays represent a far smaller risk to your child’s health than an undetected and untreated dental problem.

My child plays sports. How can I protect his/her teeth?

A mouth guard should be a top priority on your child’s list of sports equipment. Mouth guards are made of soft plastic and protect a child’s teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sports-related injuries. Any mouth guard works better than none at all, but a custom mouth guard fitted by our dentists is your child’s best protection. 

How can I help my child through the teething stage?

Sore gums are a normal part of the eruption process. Some children get relief from a teething biscuit, a piece of toast or a frozen teething ring. Your pharmacy should also have medications that can be rubbed on the gums to reduce the discomfort. 

I noticed a space between my child's two upper front teeth. Is this cause for concern?

The space will usually close by itself in the next few years as other permanent teeth erupt. We can determine whether there is cause for concern.

If my child gets a cavity in a baby tooth, should it be filled?

Yes, absolutely. Primary, or “baby,” teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt. Because tooth decay is an infection and will spread, decay on baby teeth can cause decay on permanent teeth. Proper care of baby teeth is instrumental in enhancing the health of your child.