Why does my child need a pediatric dentist?

A pediatric dentist is a dentist who has spent additional two to three years of training aimed at specifically treating children. This ensures your child receives the best and most appropriate care. At Rochester Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, our pediatric dentist is well-equipped to meet the needs of your child, from infancy through the teenage years. Our office is warm and welcoming, and our team will work hand-in-hand with you and your child to establish a lifetime of good oral care.

At what age will my baby start getting teeth?

Teething is unique to each baby, but in general the first baby teeth begin to appear between six and eight months. The two lower, front teeth are typically the first to erupt.

When should my child first visit a dentist?

Your child should visit a pediatric dentist for the first time by their first birthday, or after the first tooth has erupted.

How can I prepare my child for their first visit with the dentist if they are so young?

You can prepare your child by starting good oral care habits at home. We recommend using a washcloth to wipe your baby’s gums after each feeding. You can also play mimicking games to help your child understand how to open their mouth for an exam. Be a model of good oral care at home by brushing and flossing regularly and showing your child how you take care of your smile. It’s also important that you associate dental visits with positivity and good health – if you’re anxious or apprehensive, your child will be able to pick up on that.

If your child is anxious, or if you are anxious, you can schedule a “pre-tour” of our office. This will allow you both to see our office and meet our staff before an actual appointment. It can also be helpful to read books or watch TV shows with their favorite characters visiting the dentist.

Why are baby teeth so important if they are just going to fall out?

Baby teeth serve many important purposes. First, they ensure proper speaking and chewing function. They also provide the ideal path for the permanent teeth to erupt. If baby teeth are lost too early, due to decay or another issue, it can alter and prevent the eruption of permanent teeth, which can lead to the need for more extensive orthodontic treatment. But starting an oral care routine at a young age ensures your child is set up for a lifetime of good oral health.

What are dental caries?

Dental caries is another word for dental decay, which is the most common chronic childhood disease. At Rochester Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, we take a comprehensive approach to treating and preventing dental caries. We have to not only treat the decay when we see it, but develop an approach to prevent future decay by preventing the spread of the bacteria that causes decay. Treatments vary based on the age of your child and the severity of their decay.

If my child uses a bottle or nurses, can I prevent decay?

Understanding how decay can set in is the first step in preventing it. Never let your child fall asleep with a bottle that contains anything but water. The natural sugars from drinks such as milk and formula can pool in the mouth making teeth more prone to cavities. Limit sugary beverages such as juices, and encourage your child to drink from a sippy cup starting at age one. If your child takes a bottle, wean them off bottle feeding by 14 months. Once your child finished a bottle or a nursing session, use a washcloth to gently clean their gums.

When should I introduce toothpaste?

The use of fluoridated toothpaste should not begin until around age two or three, or when the child can adequately spit excess toothpaste out on their own. Prior to this, you can use a training toothbrush and water to gently brush the teeth. Once you introduce toothpaste, use only a small amount and supervise and assist with brushing as needed.

How often should I brush my baby’s teeth?

You should gently wipe your child’s gums and teeth after each feeding, using a wet washcloth or damp gauze. Once your child’s teeth begin to develop and they are around the age of two, begin to brush at least twice a day, morning and night.

Why is fluoride needed?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps keep teeth strong and ensures proper enamel development in growing children.

Will my child need X-rays when visiting a pediatric dentist?

X-rays are an important diagnostic tool used by dentists. Not everything that occurs in the mouth is visible to the naked eye. X-rays can detect cavities and other dental problems that may not appear in a physical exam. We only use digital radiography that can reduce radiation levels by 70-90%. At Rochester Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics, we take all the necessary protective steps to ensure your child’s safety.

Can I accompany my child on their visits?

Yes! Especially in the beginning, having a parent with the child can help them feel more at ease. As your child grows and gains confidence, they can gain some independence by coming back to their exams on their own. We do ask that only the parent accompanies the child in exam areas and any children not being seen at the appointment remain with another adult in the waiting area.

How does diet affect my child’s oral health?

You know the saying you are what you eat, and that’s especially true when it comes to your smile. A healthy smile is directly correlated to a healthy, well-balanced diet. Each day, your child’s diet should include selections from the major food groups, and sugary foods and drinks should be avoided.

Does my child need dental sealants?

Sealants are an excellent way to protect the chewing surfaces of those hard-to-reach back molars against decay. Molars are super groovy and sometimes these grooves and pits are so deep that brushing alone will not clean those areas. The debris that is trapped in those grooves and pits can easily become cavities! Ask your pediatric dentist if sealants are right for your child.

Should my child wear a mouthguard when playing sports?

We recommend a properly fitting mouthguard be worn anytime your child is engaged in a sport or activity where a blow to the mouth could occur. A mouthguard can protect against injuries to the lips, tongue, cheeks, teeth, joints, and jaw.

How often should my child visit their pediatric dentist?

Your child should visit our office twice yearly, or every six months. At these appointments we will clean the teeth and check for cavities, as well as monitor how their smile is growing. These appointments allow us to detect issues and, if necessary, begin treatment before bigger problems occur.