FAQs on Pediatric Dentistry | Jack N Jill Dental Care

Answering Your Questions: FAQs on Pediatric Dentistry

Q. Why are baby teeth so important?
A. One of the most common questions I get is, “Why are baby teeth important? They are going to fall out anyway.” Primary teeth are vital for your child’s overall health and play an important role in facial growth and development. They also act as natural space maintainers and guide the eruption of the adult teeth. Decay in primary teeth can cause pain, swelling, infection and early loss of primary teeth.

Q. When will my child’s teeth begin to grow in?
A. Teeth development in general begins before birth for baby teeth and at around birth for permanent teeth. Typically, the lower front teeth will begin to erupt at approximately 6 months on average. The permanent teeth typically erupt at age 6 with the lower front teeth and the adult molars and will end at around age 12.

Q. What is teething?
A. Teething occurs when the baby teeth begin to grow in. While this is relatively problem-free for most children, others may experience some discomfort. We recommend frozen wash cloths, frozen teething rings and if needed some Tylenol or Motrin to provide comfort through
this process. You may notice a drop in appetite, but it’s important to ensure that your little one is well hydrated. It is always wise to contact your dentist or health professional if you have additional questions or concerns about teething.

Q. How can I clean my little one’s teeth?
A. For infants, you can use a washcloth and water to clean the teeth, but once the back molars begin to erupt, a soft bristled tooth brush can be introduced. The current ADA and AAPD guidelines recommend that fluoridated toothpaste can be used for this age group.

Q. How can I prevent cavities in my child?
A. Children between the ages of 3 and 5 begin to show more independence. It is important to be mindful of their diet, snacking habits as well as oral hygiene practices. Try to avoid sticky snacks and juices daily, and if your child must drink juice daily, limit it to once or twice a day with a regular meal. Oral hygiene should include brushing twice a day and flossing if there are no spaces between the teeth. Children at this age cannot brush independently and will need assistance from their parents till they are older.

Q. Is it a problem if my child sucks on their thumb or pacifier?
A. Thumb sucking or pacifier use in infants is normal. Beyond the age of 4 years, prolonged habits can cause dental as well as orthopedic changes which can include but not limited to speech problems, flared teeth, front teeth that don’t close on biting, crowded teeth, cross bites of the back teeth and narrowing of the arches. You can discuss ways to help discontinue these habits with your pediatric dentist.

Q. How can I prevent dental injuries in my child?
A. Preventing injuries can be difficult in children especially up to the age of five, because they are so adventurous. Climbing, jumping and running are all common activities that can result in an injury. Keep an eye on your little ones as best as you can, and make sure that your dental contact for emergencies is already saved in your phone in case needed.

Q. What is the best way to prevent cavities in my child?
A. The best thing any parent can do to prevent cavities is to teach children about good oral hygiene. It is also important to reinforce good nutrition, which includes talking about healthy and unhealthy snack choices. Parents should also play a role in brushing and flossing until the child is about 8 years old and has the dexterity that adults must brush and floss effectively. Of course, parents should follow up every 6 months for routine exams and cleanings.

Q. How can I protect my child’s mouth during sports?
A. We highly recommend mouth guards for all kids that play any type of contact sports including football, hockey and soccer. Mouth guards do more than prevent just tooth injuries. They are also effective in reducing concussions and more severe brain injuries. There are many options such as over the counter mouth guards as well as custom mouth guards.

Q. What are sealants?
A. Sealants are a protective coating applied to the chewing surface of teeth. It is worked into the tiny grooves where cavity-causing bacteria live. Toothbrush bristles are too large to reach into the grooves making sealant application one of the most important preventive treatments available. The procedure is painless and quick!