Pediatric Dentistry FAQs, Palo Alto
At Little Bytes Pediatric Dentistry, our entire team is here to make sure that you and your child feel at ease each time you visit our office at Palo Alto, CA. We provide a wide range of pediatric dental procedures, including dental sealants to prevent cavities, infant oral health, and more.
Please read through some of our most frequently asked questions listed below to learn more. If you would like to learn more about our office or still have questions, please feel free to contact us at our office. One of our team members will be happy to assist you!
We look forward to seeing you in our office soon!
MOST FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When should I take my child for their first pediatric dental check-up?
The Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday in order to prevent dental problems.
Are Dental X-Rays safe for my child?
Dental X-rays are safe and pose very minimal risks. Preventative measures are used to minimize these risks with the use of lead apron and digital radiography. All of our offices use state of the art digital X-ray machines that have minimal exposure. In addition, we use monitors to gauge the exposure of radiation in our office.
Why does my child need dental radiographs (X-Rays)?
The need for dental X-rays varies from child to child. Dental X-rays are used to survey erupting teeth, check for bone diseases, check for cavities, evaluate the results of an injury, or plan orthodontic treatment. Dentists use these X-rays to diagnose and treat conditions that cannot be detected by a clinical exam alone. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends radiographic exams every 6 months on children at high risk of tooth decay. Children at low risk for dental decay will require X-rays less frequently.
What should I do if my child has a toothache?
To help relieve your child’s toothache, thoroughly clean the area around the sore tooth. Then rinse the child’s mouth with warm salt water, or use dental floss to dislodge trapped food or debris. Apply a cold compress to reduce any swelling. See your child’s pediatric dentist as soon as possible.
Why visit the pediatric dentist twice a year when my child has never had a cavity?
Regular visits to the pediatric dentist help keep your child cavity free. Teeth cleanings remove buildup that is not easily removed by simple brushing and may irritate gums and cause decay. Fluoride treatments renew the content in the enamel and help strengthen your child’s teeth. Proper dental hygiene improves your child’s teeth and gums and overall health.
Toothpaste: When should we begin using it, how much should we use and what kind?
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 peasize 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. There are many excellent kinds of toothpaste on the market today. Try different brands and flavors to see which ones your child likes the best. Check the ingredients of the toothpaste. Fluoride or xylitol can help to prevent cavities and should be used with adult supervision.
How often does my child need to see the pediatric dentist?
A check-up every six months is recommended in order to prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your pediatric dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.
Are thumbsucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child?
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.
Are baby teeth really that important to my child?
Baby teeth are important to help children speak clearly and chew naturally. They also aid in forming a path permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt.
What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?
Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years of specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.
What should I use to clean my baby’s teeth?
A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any softbristled toothbrush with a small head should be used twice a day in the morning and at bedtime.
Is fluoride safe?
At Little Bytes, we take your child’s health seriously. We educate all parents on the risks and benefits of fluoride and where fluoride is found in your drinking water.
How do I make my child’s diet safe for his teeth?
Make sure your child has a balanced diet, including one serving each of fruits and vegetables, slices of bread and cereals, milk and dairy products, and meat, fish, and eggs. Limiting the servings of sugars and starches will also aid in protecting your child’s teeth from decay. You can also ask your pediatric dentist to help you select foods that protect your children’s teeth.
How do dental sealants work?
Sealants work by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years. We use BPA-free plastic material to seal teeth.
What can I do to protect my child’s teeth during sporting events?
Soft plastic mouth-guards can be used to protect a child’s teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums from sport-related injuries. A custom-fitted mouthguard developed by a pediatric dentist will protect your child from injuries to the teeth, face and even provide protection from severe injuries to the head.
What Are Composite Fillings?
A composite filling is a tooth-colored, BPA-free plastic material, that is used to repair teeth. There are several reasons why composite fillings are needed:
- Broken or fractured teeth
- Chipped teeth
- Adjust the size or shape of teeth
Composites are also used for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the color of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth.
What Are Pulpotomies?
Pulpotomies, or baby root canals, are performed if the cavity reaches the nerve of the tooth. In a pulpotomy, the portion of the nerve infected by the cavity is removed, the area is sterilized and sealed. The tooth is then covered by a dental crown to protect it from breaking or fracturing.
What Are Crowns?
Dental crowns help to strengthen and protect teeth that cannot be restored by a filling or other dental restorations. Dental crowns cover the entire tooth, restoring the tooth to its original shape and size. The indications for dental crowns are:
- Tooth treated with a baby root canal
- A large amount of decay or multiple surfaces
- Broken tooth or filling
- Large filling
- Severely worn teeth
There are different types of baby crowns available either tooth colored (porcelain) or silver colored (stainless steel). Porcelain crowns tend to be the most popular, providing a more natural looking smile.
When Will My Baby Start Getting Teeth?
Teething, or the process of baby teeth coming through the gums and into the mouth, varies among babies. Generally, the lower anterior teeth are the first baby teeth to appear in the mouth between 6-8 months of age. There are some babies that are born with teeth, neonatal teeth, and some that begin teething after 12 months of age. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a child’s first dental visit before his/her first birthday.
How can parents help prevent tooth decay?
Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. Then, the dentist can recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing, and other treatments for parents to supervise and teach to their children. These home treatments, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.
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.