Menu | Request an Appointment (904) 880-5437

From toddlers to teens, we can provide the best treatment solutions for your kids

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?

A pediatric dentist has several years of specialty training following dental school and dedicates their practice to treating children. During training in the field of pediatric dentistry, your doctor gained extensive knowledge and experience in treating infants, children, and adolescents, including those with special health needs. Pediatric dentists enjoy working with children, and bring to each patient our expertise in childhood development and behavior.

 

At what age should I bring my child to the dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears or no later than the first birthday to prevent dental problems.

 

What will happen at my child's first dental appointment?

At your child's first visit, we like to concentrate on getting to know your child. We also view this visit as an opportunity to give you some basic information about dental care. The doctor will check your child's teeth for placement and health, and look for any potential problems. We will also answer any questions you have about how to care for your child's teeth. We want the first visit to be a positive experience for your child. Our goal is to make your child's dental appointment fun!

 

Are baby teeth really important?

Although they will be lost, primary or "baby" teeth are important for many reasons. They help your child speak, smile and chew properly. They also hold space in the jaws for permanent teeth and they aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt. If a baby tooth is lost too early (due to damage or decay) the nearby teeth may encroach on that space, which can lead to crooked or misplaced permanent teeth.

What's the best way to clean my infant's teeth?

We recommend that you clean your baby's gums after feedings with a damp, soft washcloth, even before the first tooth appears. Once your child has the first tooth, you should start using a toothbrush. Choose an age appropriate toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. You can usually find an infant toothbrush at your local drugstore.

What are dental sealants?

A sealant is a clear or shaded plastic material that covers the pits and fissures (grooves) in teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier for the teeth against food, bacteria, plaque and acid, which can cause cavities, therefore protecting teeth against decay. We recommend sealants as a safe, simple way to help your child avoid cavities, especially for molars, which are hardest to reach.

Are thumb sucking and pacifier habits harmful to my child's teeth?

Most children begin sucking their thumb or finger from a very young age; many even start inside the womb. Sucking is a natural reflex for an infant and often provides a sense of security and contentment for a young one. It can also be relaxing, which is why many children suck their thumbs as they fall asleep. Thumb and pacifier sucking habits typically don't become a problem unless they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, between the ages of 2 and 4. However, some children continue sucking beyond the preschool years. If your child is still sucking when his permanent teeth start to erupt, it may be time to take action. Your pediatric dentist may recommend an appliance to help break the habit.

How can I help my child to prevent tooth decay?

Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. The dentist will recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing, and other treatments for parents to supervise and teach to their children. It is very important that your child brushes their teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Flossing daily is also very important because floss can reach spots between the teeth that a toothbrush cannot. It's also important to avoid sugary foods and drinks, limit snacking and maintain a healthy diet in addition to these home treatments. This will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.

When should I start using toothpaste with my child?

The sooner the better! When your child is born, you should clean their gums with a clean, soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. Once the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. A "smear" of toothpaste should be used for a child under the age of 2. In children 2-5 years old, a "pea-size" amount of toothpaste should be placed on the toothbrush. You should perform or assist your child with tooth-brushing because young children are not able to brush their teeth effectively on their own. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.

How often should my child see the pediatric dentist?

Your child should be seen for a checkup every six months to prevent cavities and any other dental problems. In some cases, a child will need to be seen more often, but this is dependent on each child's dental needs.

What should I do if my child knocks out a permanent tooth?

Most importantly, stay calm. If you can locate the tooth, hold it up by the crown only (try to avoid touching the root) and reinsert it in the socket. If this is not possible, place the tooth in a glass of milk and take your child and the tooth to the pediatric dentist immediately.

What should I do if my child has a toothache?

Start by rinsing the area with warm salt water and floss the area to dislodge any food or debris in the area. If the pain continues, give your child acetaminophen. DO NOT place aspirin on the teeth or gums. If there is any swelling, place a cold compress on the child's face and call your pediatric dentist immediately.

What can I do to protect my child's teeth while playing sports?

We recommend mouth guards for children who are active in sports. If your little one plays baseball, soccer, or other sports, ask us about having a custom-fitted mouth guard made to protect his teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums. A mouth guard can even help to prevent head injuries.