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

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends each child establish a dental home with a pediatric dentist by age one, or as soon as the first tooth erupts. For patients under 3 years old we will perform an oral examination and discuss proper oral hygiene and nutrition with the parents. This will help to provide you with the proper tools to keep your kids’ teeth healthy.

Starting at age three, your child will be ready for biannual cleanings with one of our hygienists.

What is Nursing Decay or Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Nursing Decay or Baby Bottle Tooth Decay is a form of early childhood dental decay (cavities) that can destroy the teeth of an infant or young child. The teeth of a child who either sleeps with a bottle containing sugary liquids or who nurses frequently can develop a type of decay that attacks quite rapidly. Any liquid other than water, including milk or breast milk, formula, fruit juice or other sweetened liquids, can cause rampant decay at any age, especially when placed in bed with a child.

At what age should I worry about a thumb sucking habit?

Try your best to extinguish a nonnutritive sucking habit (pacifier, thumb, or fingers) between the ages of 3 to 5 years. This can be a stubborn process and many children continue a habit well beyond this age. We recommend a positive reinforcement system at home as your best chance to end the habit. An appliance can be placed to assist the child but is not recommended until at least age 6.

What do I do about my child grinding his/her teeth?

Grinding (bruxism) can occur at any age while a person is awake or asleep. The cause is multifactorial and generally hard to pinpoint. While adults often exhibit pain in the TMJ and facial muscles, children usually have no pain with grinding due to their increased blood and nerve supply during growth. Even though the baby teeth may be worn down and flattened they will not be harmed or become painful. Mouthguards are not recommended until all of the permanent teeth are present so that growth of the jaws is not impeded.

Should I be worried that my child's permanent tooth is coming in but the baby tooth hasn't fallen out yet?

Each mouth is unique and develops in its own way. Most of the time the baby tooth will fall out by itself and the permanent tooth will slide into the correct position.  Occasionally, the baby tooth needs some assistance coming out, but this will be assessed on a case by case basis. Contact us to set up a consultation if this is a present concern.

Why does my child’s tooth require pulp therapy? (pulpotomy or pulpectomy)

The pulp of a tooth contains nerves, blood vessels, connective tissue and reparative cells. The purpose of pulp therapy is to maintain the vitality of the affected tooth so the tooth is not lost. Dental caries (cavities) and traumatic injury are the main reasons for a tooth to require pulp therapy. The treatment consists of removing the diseased pulp tissue and placing an agent to prevent bacterial growth and to calm the remaining nerve tissue. This is followed by a final restoration (usually a stainless steel crown) and can be completed in one appointment.

Is my child ready for braces?

We evaluate your child’s bite and alignment of teeth every 6 months at each cleaning appointment. Overall, we are very conservative in our recommendations for early orthodontic treatment. Since we don’t perform any orthodontics in our office, we work closely with orthodontists who share our conservative approach. We will refer you to an orthodontist when the time is appropriate for a complete evaluation.