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How do I prepare my child for dental appointments?

When discussing future dental appointments, we suggest you don’t use words such as: pain/hurt, pull, shot, needle or any other words which may by associated with discomfort. It is very important to use child friendly terms and simple explanations when describing dental instruments and procedures.

Should I be with my child during the appointment?

We believe it is important for parents to remain with their children during treatment to offer support. However, if you have dental anxiety, it may be best to remain in the reception area until needed.

When is the best time to schedule my child’s appointment?

In general, we have found that early morning appointments are better for younger children as they tire more easily and afternoon appointments are better for older children. Please note that there are some appointments that the doctors will only perform in the morning, especially if your child is under the age of 5.

Why do we need to have baby teeth fixed? They’re just going to fall out anyway.

Baby teeth hold space in the jaw for permanent teeth. If a baby tooth is lost too early, the teeth beside it may drift into the empty space. When it’s time for the permanent teeth to come in, there may not be enough room for them to come in properly. Baby teeth also allow for your child to speak clearly and chew naturally.

What are the benefits of fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral that strengthens teeth and protects them from decay. It occurs naturally in some drinking water. Fluoride is also found in many types of toothpastes, mouth rinses and treatments applied in the office. Using too much or too little fluoride can damage the teeth, however. Too little fluoride will prevent the teeth from becoming strong and incapable of protecting against bacteria and cavities. Too much fluoride can lead to dental fluorosis which makes the teeth appear stained and overly white or in some cases, even brown. It is very important to monitor the amount of fluoride that an infant, not less than 6 months old, and young child receives, especially during periods of important tooth growth.

What do I do if my child has a dental emergency?

If your child has any of the following emergencies you may follow the instructions listed and then contact your pediatric dentist as soon as possible.

Toothache – Make sure the infected area is clean. This can be done by rinsing the mouth with warm water or using dental floss to dislodge any food particle that may be trapped causing the discomfort. If the face is swollen apply a cold compress and contact your child’s dentist.

Permanent tooth knocked out – Find the tooth, rinse it (do not touch the tooth’s root), and try to reinsert it into the socket. If reinserting the tooth is not possible, put the tooth into a container of milk or water and see your dentist immediately. When a permanent tooth is knocked out, time is very critical.

Cut/Bitten Tongue, Cheek or Lip – Apply ice to the affected areas. If the child is bleeding try to apply pressure with a cloth or gauze. If the bleeding continues after 10-15 minutes, take the child to the emergency room.

What do I do if my child grinds their teeth?

Some children grind their teeth at night while sleeping. An indication of this might be hearing the child grind his/her teeth during sleep or obvious wear of the teeth. Grinding can be caused by changes to their environment such as moving, school or family, and is often seen in children growing new teeth (teething). Most children outgrow grinding and it is not generally treated by pediatric dentists. As the child becomes older, he or she might choose to wear a mouth guard at night to protect the teeth.

How can I get my child to stop sucking their thumb?

Many young children suck their thumb, fingers and other objects because it is a natural comforting reflex. The act of sucking provides a sense of security and can be relaxing to children. Thumb sucking may appear innocent, but if it persists it can damage the eruption of permanent teeth. Teeth can come in crooked and overall proper growth of the mouth can be affected. Children generally outgrow thumb sucking, but it should be stopped by the time the permanent front teeth come in. Pacifiers are just as harmful to the teeth as sucking on thumbs, fingers or objects. The use of a pacifier can be controlled more easily than the use of a thumb or fingers because it can be taken away.

To help your child work through thumb sucking you can:

  1. Reward your child when he/she does not suck during a difficult time
  2. Provide comfort and security to your child so that he/she does not have to get it from sucking
  3. Don’t scold your child for sucking, praise them for not doing it instead
  4. Talk with your pediatric dentist regarding other ways to stop your child from sucking