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Common Pediatric Dental Questions / Issues


Q. When should I first bring my child to the dentist?

A: The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child be seen by a dentist within six months of the eruption of the first tooth. Cavities can form on teeth within months after their eruption and sometimes diet and feeding habits can contribute to the formation of these cavities. Early cavities can be avoided with proper counseling and education from Dr. Nghiem.

Q: Do you have any tips for my child's first visit?

A: It is a good idea to have a preview of the office. Granby Dental will always accommodate any parent/child that would like to see the office before their first visit. Talk to your child about will be done at the dentist, "the dentist is going to use a small mirror and is going to count all your teeth and make them shiny..." Reinforce positivity when talking about the dentist and your dental experiences.

Q: What happens at my child's first dental visit?

A: During your child's first dental visit he or she will be introduced to Dr. Ngheim and her dental assistant Valerie. Dr. Nghiem will examine your child's teeth and gums as well as their head and neck. She will clean and polish your child's teeth and apply a topical fluoride application to strengthen the teeth. Together Dr. Nghiem and Valerie will work to make your child comfortable and will go over proper brushing technique and answer any and all questions.

Q: Do you have any advice for my teething child?

A: From the age of 6 months to 3 years your child may experience tender gums when the teeth start erupting. Usually a wet washcloth, a cooled teething ring, or even a clean finger rubbed on the area will help.

Q: What do I do if my child falls and breaks a tooth?

A: If your child breaks a tooth, call us right away - at Granby Dental we are on-call 24 hours/day. If, for example, your child chips his or her front tooth - see if you can save the piece, as many times it can be bonded back in place. We are here for you and your children at all times.

Q: Is it important to care for baby teeth? Aren't they just going to fall out anyway?

A: It is absolutely important to care for baby teeth. Decayed baby teeth can lead to pain for your child and can actually cause damage to the permanent tooth underneath. Also, baby teeth save the space for adult teeth that are coming in. Baby teeth, although they are temporary can be just as important as a adult teeth.

Q: Is a manual or electric toothbrush better for my child?

A: The best toothbrush is the one your child will actually use. Although electric toothbrushes can make up for lack of technique, if your child is happy with a manual toothbrush, terrific!

Q: What are sealants?

A: Sealants are resins that are applied to the chewing surfaces of posterior teeth. Children are most prone to decay within the grooves on the chewing surfaces and these resins work to cover those grooves thus preventing cavities. Best of all sealants are painless and easy to apply.

Q: Should sugar be cut out of my child's diet?

A: It is not necessary or practical to eliminate sugar from your child's diet. Just remember that chewy and sticky foods tend to be more difficult to wash away. In a perfect world we would all brush our teeth after we've eaten, but getting your child to rinse with water after a sugary snack is not a bad idea.

Q: When should my child stop bottle-feeding.

A: Ideally bottle-feeding should stop at 12-14 months.

Q: When does my child start getting adult teeth?

A: Usually around the age of 6 or even late into 5 your child's lower front teeth will start to become loose and the permanent teeth will start erupting. The following chart gives the ages when the adult teeth usually start coming in:


Q: What causes cavities?

A: Cavities are caused by a bacteria that we all have in our mouths. All that is needed to form a cavity is a host (your tooth), bacteria and a food source. The bacteria cling onto the teeth, eat the sugars in our diet and produce an acid that can form holes in our teeth. To fight cavities, we brush our teeth with fluoridated toothpaste to minimize the amount of bacteria and wash away the food source for that bacteria.

Q: What is fluoride and how do I know if my child is getting enough in the water?

A: Fluoride is an ion of the element Fluorine and is used in toothpaste to fight cavities. As cavities are caused by a bacterial infection, you can think of Fluoride as the antibiotic. Fluoride also makes teeth stronger by changing the chemical make-up of enamel. If you have city water, Fluoride is added, so you're all set. If you have well water, the water should be tested to see if there is any Fluoride - usually supplements are prescribed for your child as well water rarely has much Fluoride. If you have well water, ask us for a kit to check the concentration of Fluoride.

Q: Can thumbsucking be harmful to my child's teeth?

A: Thumbsucking is normal for infants, but if the habit continues beyond age 3, this can lead to crooked teeth and teeth alignment issues. Dr. Nghiem will be happy to discuss methods and techniques to help stop thumbsucking.

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