Frequently Asked Questions

What to do if your child has an accident: hits his mouth and damages a tooth?

First and most importantly “Stay Calm!” Your excitement is sure to excite your child!

Evaluate the situation:

  • If there is blood use gauze or soft cloth with slight pressure to stop bleeding.
  • If a tooth is missing attempt to find it but do not try to put back in until or if your dentist tells you.
  • Apply a cold compress to the area if swelling has occurred.
  • Call our office at 336-524-5439.

Caution!!

If you child has received a blow to the face or head make sure that your child has not lost any consciousness. If they have even for a few seconds, they should see a physician immediately!!

What Is a Pediatric Dentist?

Unlike the general dentist, a pediatric dentist has an additional two to three years of specialized training after dental school. A pediatric dentist specifically focuses on the child’s oral health from infancy through the teenage years. Children in different stages: infants, toddlers, pre-teens and teenagers all need different approaches when dealing with their behavior as it pertains to their dental growth and development. The years of additional training, for the pediatric dentist best prepares them to meet these needs.

Why Are the Primary Teeth So Important?

Maintenance of the primary teeth is very important to the overall oral development. Cavities that are neglected can often lead to problems which can later impact permanent teeth. There are several reasons why primary teeth (or baby) teeth are important; (1) correct eating and chewing, (2) leaving enough space for the permanent teeth to grow and assisting them into the correct position (3) allowing for normal development of the jaw bones and muscles. The development of speech and an attractive appearance are also affected by the primary teeth.

Eruption of Your Child’s Teeth

Even before your child is born his/her teeth begin to form. The primary (or baby teeth) begin to erupt as early as 4 months. The first primary teeth to come in are the lower central incisors, followed closely by the upper central incisors. However, all 20 primary teeth usually appear by age 3, the pace and order of their eruption varies.

Around age 6 is usually when the permanent teeth begin to appear, beginning with the first molars and lower central incisors. Permanent tooth growth continues until approximately age 21.

Dental Radiographs (X-Rays)

An essential and necessary part of your child’s dental diagnostic process are the Radiographs (x-rays). Without them, some dental conditions can be missed with just a clinical exam.

Radiographs can detect a wide variety of oral complications. In addition to the detection of cavities, radiographs may be needed to examine erupting teeth, identify and diagnose bone diseases, evaluate the results of an injury, or suggest orthodontic treatment. Dental problems that are found and treated early will result in dental care that is more comfortable for your child and more affordable for you.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that radiographs and examinations are performed every six months for children who may be at high risk for tooth decay. Our office request that your child have a radiograph at least one time a year. Approximately every 3 years, it is a good idea to obtain a complete set of radiographs.

With the modern safeguards limiting the amount of radiation received in a dental X-ray examination, the risk of radiation to the patient is very minimal. High-speed film and proper shielding assure that your child receives very little exposure. In fact, the dental radiographs propose a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem.

Does Your Child Grind His Teeth At Night? (Bruxism)

Teeth grinding or Bruxism is a behavior that often concerns most parents. Usually the first indication of Bruxism is the” heavy scraping” noise made by your child during their sleep. Teeth that appear to be getting shorter are also signs of Bruxism. Some experts suggest that factors of Bruxism can be related to; stress because of a new environment, divorce, changes at school and many other psychological components that can easily influence this behavior in your child. There are other theories that relate teeth grinding to inner ear pressure at night time, Likewise when there are pressure changes in an airplane during take-off and landing some people chew gum to equalize this pressure. Similarly, your child will grind the teeth by moving his/her jaw to relieve the pressure. If you feel that your child may have Bruxism, then consult your pediatric dentist.

In most cases pediatric teeth grinding does not need any treatment, as most children will outgrow Bruxism. Between ages 6-9 children will usually start to grind their teeth less, the behavior will typically stop all together between ages 9-12. The dentist may recommend a night guard to alleviate any excessive wear of the teeth (attrition).

Thumb Sucking

To infants and young children sucking is a natural reflex. The sucking of thumbs, fingers, pacifiers and other objects may provide the child with a since of security or happiness during difficult periods or even relax them to fall asleep.

Typically between ages 2-4 children will stop. Peer pressure usually encourages school-aged children to cease sucking their thumbs however, children should definitely stop thumb sucking by the time their permanent front teeth are ready to erupt.

If thumb sucking continues after the permanent teeth arrive this may cause complications with teeth growth and mouth development. The severity of the complications is determined by how intensely a child sucks their thumb.

Although a pacifier can be controlled and modified easier than thumb sucking it still can produce some complications. Parents are not encouraged to use the pacifier as substitute for thumb sucking. Consult your dentist if you have concerns about your child’s thumb sucking behavior.

Suggestions for eliminating thumb sucking:

  • Try praising your child when they are not sucking their thumb instead of scolding them when they are.
  • Since feelings of insecurity or anxiety generate thumb sucking, focus on cause of insecurity or anxiety.
  • Since Thumb sucking is a comfort mechanism, find something else to comfort the child.
  • Reward your child with something when they do not thumb suck when they would normally.

What is the Best Time for Orthodontic Treatment?

Bad bites or malocclusions are the usual cause for orthodontic treatment. The use of ortho treatment is tied into one of the three stages of a dental development: Early treatment, Mixed definition and Adolescent Dentition. During the early stage, between 2-6 years of age, treatment may address underdeveloped dental arches, premature loss of primary teeth and bad habits such as finger or thumb sucking. But as mentioned earlier proper preventative measures could possible eliminate the need for ortho all together during the early stage. During the mixed definition stage, between ages of 6-12 years of age, treatment will address jaw malrelationships and dental realignment problems. Because your child’s hard and soft tissues are usually very responsive to adjustments this is an excellent time to begin treatment. During the Adolescent Dentition stage, treatment would address the final bite relationship as it pertains primarily to the permanent teeth.

Mouth Guards

Because there is physical contact within several sports a mouth guard is a great preventative option. Some are custom made while others can be purchased in department stores or drug stores. A properly fitted guard will protect your child from broken teeth, injuries to the lips, tongue, face or jaw.

Source: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.  For additional information, please go to www.AAPD.org