Southridge Pediatric Dentistry: FAQ
Most dental professionals recommend a child should see a dentist by either their first birthday or 6 months after the eruption of the first tooth. In some cases, we will see children earlier, such as children who are born with teeth or have other oral health needs.
Baby teeth are important for good health. When a baby tooth is decayed and left untreated, negative effects such as infection, tooth-space loss, and an inability to function can result.
Canker sores are small and often painful ulcers in the mouth. The exact cause is unknown, but certain foods and drinks can make them worse. They usually last 10-14 days and resolve on their own. Treatment can consist of OTC pain medication and in some severe cases, prescription medication.
Teething is a natural process of tooth eruption that can be irritable for children as the tooth breaks through the gum tissue. Current recommendations for treatment is OTC pain medication, such as acetaminophen. Recent studies have led the FDA to recommend against topical agents with benzocaine for children younger than 2 years of age.
Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is very common in children. As children age, teeth grinding usually decreases, but in severe grinding with teenagers where permanent teeth are showing wear, we recommend a mouthguard for sleeping to prevent further damage to teeth.
Another thing you can do is to find out why your child is grinding. It may be related to stress. Talking to your child regularly about what is going on in his or her life will help you understand what your child is scared or stressed about.
The best way to help stop finger sucking is to not make a big deal about until your child is mentally and emotionally ready to stop. Your child has to want to stop, and this age can be different for each child. We can help by placing a finger sucking appliance in the mouth at an appropriate time. For pacifier sucking, we recommend “losing” the pacifiers between age 2-3 at the latest.
Besides regular dental visits, regular brushing and flossing can decrease halitosis, or bad breath. Make sure that your child brushes his or her teeth for at least two minutes twice daily—brushing the tongue isn’t a bad idea either! For severe halitosis, we’d recommend seeing your pediatrician for other possible causes.
Fluoride helps strengthen your teeth and make your child’s teeth more resistant to tooth decay. We follow the ADA recommendation of using a fluoridated tooth paste daily and prescribing fluoride supplements according to age in areas where community water fluoridation doesn’t exist. Other fluoride treatments are available in our office as well to give your child’s teeth the best chance of staying cavity free.