Richmond, TX 77406 | Dr. Mayuri Appareddy
Your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday.
Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used twice a day with a minimal smear (“rice grain” amount) of fluoride toothpaste. Night time brushing is especially important.
Children can begin using a soft bristled toothbrush with a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste around 3 years of age. This is also a good age to encourage consistent spitting out of toothpaste.
Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.
Baby teeth help young children speak clearly, chew naturally, and maintain a beautiful smile. They also hold adequate space for permanent teeth when they are ready to come into the mouth. It is also important to keep baby teeth healthy to avoid pain and infections that could be harmful for your child’s overall health.
Rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Give your child acetaminophen (e.g., Children’s Tylenol) for any pain and see your dentist as soon as you can for treatment and/or possible antibiotics.
If swelling is significant and extends to the eyes, neck, or causes difficulty breathing—please go to the hospital immediately since IV antibiotics may be necessary to quickly reduce infection.
Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time (past the age of 3). Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist.
Nursing can cause decay—especially when combined with fermentable carbohydrates, done more than 7 times a day, and continued past the age of 12 months. We know that nursing is a special bond between baby & mom with health benefits. However, it is important to avoid nursing your child to sleep or giving bottles of milk at bedtime. Remember to also brush with fluoride toothpaste and floss for your child before they go to sleep.
Sippy cups can be introduced as early as 6 month of age and children should ideally be off the bottle entirely around 12 months of age. Transitioning from a Sippy cup to a plain cup should be accomplished by age 3.
A check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your pediatric dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.
There is very little risk in dental X-rays. Pediatric dentists are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. Lead aprons and digital xrays are used to ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation.
The first set of xrays are typically recommended once your child’s teeth are touching and your dentist isn’t able to see between the teeth during a clinical exam. However, they may be indicated sooner if there is trauma or another concern.
Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. Then, the dentist can recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing, and other treatments for parents to supervise and teach to their children. These home treatments, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.
Make sure your child has a balanced diet, including one serving each of: fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products, and meat fish and eggs. Limiting the servings of sugars and starches will also aid in protecting your child’s teeth from decay. You can also ask your pediatric dentist to help you select foods that protect your children’s teeth.
Soft plastic mouthguards can be used to protect a child’s teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sport related injuries. Mouth guards can be purchased over the counter or custom-made by a pediatric dentist to protect your child from injuries to the teeth and face.
The most important thing to do is to remain calm! Then find the tooth. Hold it by the crown rather than the root, clean it with milk, and try to reinsert it in the socket. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk and take your child and the glass immediately to the pediatric dentist.
If your child knocks out a baby tooth, it should not be placed back into the mouth.