Ask Dr. Scott
Questions About Your Child's Dental Health?
Dr. Scott and the Lincoln Children’s Dentistry team are here to answer any questions you may have about your child’s dental health, and what you can expect during your appointment at our practice.
Please see below for information on commonly asked questions.
In order to become a pediatric dentist, the dentist has an extra two to three years of specialized training after dental school. This training is dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy and up to age 18. As children grow, their dental needs require specific and different approaches, both in their dental treatment and in their treatment approach and behavior. A pediatric dentist is best suited for taking care of your child’s dental health, at any age!
Maintaing the health of the primary teeth is very important. If a cavity is neglected, it can lead to issues that affect the developing permanent teeth. Baby, or primary, teeth are important for:
- Proper chewing and eating
- Providing space for the permanent teeth and guiding them into the correct position
- Permitting normal development of the jaw bones and muscles
When looking for a toothpaste for your child, we recommend picking one that is recommended by the American Dental Association. The toothpaste will have the ADA logo and recommendation on both the box and the tube. In order for toothpastes to be recommended by the ADA the toothpastes go through testing to ensure they are safe. In addition to the ADA recommendation, it’s also important to choose a fluoride containing toothpaste. From the appearance of the first tooth until age 2 1/2 years old, use around a half of a pea size amount of toothpaste every 8-12 hours. From age 2 1/2 years old until 6 years old, use a pea size amount every 8 to 12 hours. Be sure to floss every 8 to 12 hours as well.
Thumb sucking is a natural reflex for infants and young children, however thumb sucking that continues beyond the eruption of the permanent teeth can cause problems for your child’s dental health. The types of issues depend on how intensely a child sucks their thumb, however, children should cease thumb sucking by the time their permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. Most commonly, children stop between the ages of two and four. Contrary to popular belief, pacifiers are no substitute for thumb sucking. Pacifiers can affect the teeth essentially the same way as sucking fingers and thumbs, although the use of the pacifier can be controlled and modified more easily than the thumb or finger habit.
There are a few tips to help your child stop thumb sucking:
• Children often suck their thumbs when feeling insecure. Focus on correcting the cause of anxiety, instead of the thumb sucking.
• Reward your child when they refrain from sucking!
• Lean on your pediatric dentist for support – they can often help encourage children to stop sucking and explain the issues that come with continuous thumb sucking.
• Finally, if none of these methods work, you can help make your child more aware of their habit by bandaging the thumb or putting a sock on the hand at night. If needed, we may recommend the use of some sort of mouth appliance.
Orthodontic issues can be recognized as early as 2-3 years of age. There are three stages in orthodontic treatment:
Stage I – Early Treatment: Early treatment is for children ages 2 to 6 years old. During this age of a child’s life, the concerns are primarily premature loss of primary teeth, underdeveloped dental arches and problematic habits such as thumb sucking.This period of treatment encompasses ages 2 to 6 years. Often, treatment during this phase is successful, and can reduce the chances of future orthodontic treatment.
Stage II – Mixed Dentition: Mixed dentition takes place during the ages of 6 to 12 years old. During this phase, treatment is primarily focused on concerns surrounding dental realignment and jaw malrelationships. Treatment during this phase is usually incredibly effective, as your child’s hard and soft tissues are usually very responsive to orthodontic or orthopedic forces.
Stage III – Adolescent Dentition: Lastly, the final stage of treatment deals with the permanent teeth and the development of the final bite relationship.
The development of baby teeth, or teething, varies amongst infants. Some babies will get their teeth earlier than others, and some babies may get them later. Generally, the first baby teeth appear between the first 6 to 8 months of your child’s life.
Sippy cups are a great training tool for helping your child transition from a bottle to a cup. It’s important that your child stops using a sippy cup by their first birthday. In order to prevent cavities, only put water in your child’s sippy cup throughout the day. Milk, juice and other drinks during meals are okay, but throughout the day, your child should only be drinking water in their sippy cup.
There are many ways to help your child develop healthy brushing and flossing habits.
Some recommended brushing tips include:
- Cleaning your child’s gums with water and a soft cloth
- At the first sight of your child’s teeth eruption, brush your child’s teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush
- Brush your child’s teeth for them until you feel your child is able and old enough to successfully brush their teeth on their own
Some flossing tips include:
- Begin flossing your child’s teeth as soon as any two teeth begin to touch
- Floss your child’s teeth daily, and continue helping your child floss until they are able to floss on their own
There are many ways you can help your child avoid cavities. First and foremost, make sure to visit the pediatric dentist every 6 months, starting around your child’s first birthday. At these visits, we may suggest home fluoride treatments or protective sealants in order to prevent decay.
Additional tips for preventing cavities include:
- Brush and floss your child’s teeth every 8 to 12 hours, and use mouthwash containing fluoride
- Daily consumption of products that include the sweetener Xylitol – this can include chewing gum and mouthwash
- Healthy eating! This includes meats, cheeses, and non-acidic fruits and vegetables. It’s best to also avoid extremely refined foods like chips, flavored drinks, crackers and candy
There are many risks involved with oral piercings, including chipped or cracked teeth, blood clots, blood poisoning, heart infections, brain abscess, nerve disorders (trigeminal neuralgia), receding gums or scar tissue. Your mouth contains millions of bacteria, and infection is a common complication of oral piercing. Your tongue could swell large enough to close off your airway! Common symptoms after piercing include pain, swelling, infection, an increased flow of saliva and injuries to gum tissue. Difficult-to-control bleeding or nerve damage can result if a blood vessel or nerve bundle is in the path of the needle. Long story short – give your mouth a break – and tell your teen to skip the mouth jewelry.