Frequently Asked Questions

Here at Children's Dental of Longwood we are here to help answer all your questions.

First thing is we need to assess the person that is hurt. If they are unconscious or pro-long bleeding (more than 10 minutes) the person needs to be taken to the closest emergency room or dial 911 for help. For minor non life threatening dental emergencies we have created section to help you with your specific dental emergency here.

Baby teeth are important because neglected cavities can lead to problems that affect developing permanent teeth. Baby teeth are also important because they:
-Provide space for the permanent teeth
-Guide permanent teeth into the correct position
-Permit normal development of the jaw bones and muscles
-Affect speech development
-Allow for proper nutrition

Children’s teeth begin forming before birth. Around 6 months, the baby teeth begin to come out, starting with the lower central incisors, followed closely by the upper central incisors. All baby teeth usually come in by age three.

Permanent teeth begin appearing around age 6, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors. This process continues until approximately age 21.

Adults can have up to 32 permanent teeth, if you include all the wisdom teeth.

Four things are necessary for cavities to form - a tooth, bacteria, sugars or other carbohydrates, and time. Dental plaque is a thin, sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria that constantly forms on everyone's teeth. When you eat, the sugars in your food cause the bacteria in plaque to produce acids that attack the tooth enamel. With time and repeated acid attacks, the enamel breaks down and a cavity forms.

Primary, or "baby," teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt. Some of them are necessary until a child is at least 12 years old. Pain, infection of the gums and jaws, impairment of general health and premature loss of teeth are just a few of the problems that can happen when baby teeth are neglected. Also, tooth decay is an infection that can spread - decay on baby teeth can cause decay on permanent teeth. Proper care of baby teeth is instrumental in enhancing the health of your child.

Usually, the space will close in the next few years as the other front teeth erupt. We can determine whether there is cause for concern.

Sore gums are normal when teeth erupt. The discomfort is eased for some children by use of a frozen teething ring. Your pharmacy should also have medications that can be rubbed on the gums to reduce the discomfort.

First of all, remain calm. If possible, find the tooth and hold it by the crown rather than the root. Replace the tooth in the socket and hold it there with clean gauze or a washcloth. If you can't put the tooth back in the socket, place the tooth in a clean container with milk and take your child and the glass immediately to the pediatric dentist. The faster you act, the better your chances of saving the tooth.

At about 6 months, the two lower front teeth (central incisors) will erupt, followed shortly by the two upper central incisors. The remainder of the baby teeth appear during the next 18 to 24 months, but not necessarily in an orderly sequence from front to back. At 2 to 3 years of age, all 20 primary teeth should be present.

A mouth guard should be a top priority on your child's list of sports equipment. Athletic mouth protectors, or mouth guards, are made of soft plastic and fit comfortably to the shape of the upper teeth. They protect a child's teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums from sports-related injuries. Any mouth guard works better than no mouth guard, but a mouth guard custom fitted by a dentist is your child's best protection against sports-related injuries.

With contemporary safeguards, such as lead aprons and high-speed film, the amount of radiation received in a dental x-ray examination is extremely small. In fact, dental x-rays represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem. Even though there is very little risk, pediatric dentists are particularly careful to minimize the exposure of young patients to radiation.

The answer to this question varies based on the fluoride content in your community water and the age of your child. We would be happy to discuss this with you.

The pediatric dentist has an extra two to three years of specialized training after dental school and is dedicated to the oral health of children, young adults, and those with special needs. Children need different approaches in dealing with their behavior, dental growth, development, and avoidance of future dental problems. A pediatric dentist is best qualified to meet these needs. As you child’s dentist, we will do our best to ensure a successful visit.

Sucking is a natural reflex, and infants and young children may use thumbs, fingers, pacifiers or other objects to suck on. It might provide a sense of security for them at difficult periods.

Thumb or pacifier sucking that persists after permanent teeth come in can cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and tooth alignment. How intensely a child sucks on fingers or thumbs will determine whether or not dental problems might result. Because of that, children should cease thumb and pacifier sucking by the time their permanent front teeth are ready to come in. Usually, children stop between the ages of two and four.

It is recommended that your child begins to see a dentist by the time they are one year old. Choosing a dentist and sticking with him/her will help the child feel comfortable about going to the dentist as they grow older.

Do your best to help us make your child’s first experience at a dentist’s office a positive one. It is best if you refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as needle, pull, drill, or hurt. Pediatric dental offices make a practice of using words that convey the same message that are pleasant and non-frightening to the child.

One serious form of decay among young children is baby bottle tooth decay, also called early childhood caries (ECC). ECC can be caused by frequent and long exposures of an infant’s teeth to liquids that contain sugar. Among these liquids are milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice, and other sweetened drinks.

Putting a baby to bed for a nap or at night with a bottle other than water can cause serious and rapid tooth decay. Sweet liquids pool around the child’s teeth, giving bacteria an opportunity to produce acids that attack tooth enamel.

If you must give the baby a bottle as a comforter at bedtime, it should contain only water. If your child won’t fall asleep without the bottle and its usual beverage, gradually dilute the bottle’s contents with water over a period of two to three weeks.

Healthy eating habits lead to healthy teeth. Like the rest of the body, the teeth, bones, and the soft tissues of the mouth need a well-balanced diet. Children should eat a variety of foods from the five major food groups. Because most snacks for kids contain a lot of sugar, you should limit their snack intake. If your child must eat snacks, choose nutritious foods such as vegetables, low-fat yogurt, and low-fat cheese, which are healthier for children's teeth.

A sealant is a clear or shaded plastic material that is applied to the part of the teeth used to chew on the back teeth (premolars and molars), which is a common place for cavities. This sealant acts as a barrier to food, plaque, and acid, thus protecting your child’s teeth.

Good oral hygiene removes bacteria and leftover food particles that combine to create cavities. For infants, use a wet gauze or clean washcloth to wipe the plaque from teeth and gums. For older children, brush their teeth at least twice a day.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends visits every six months to a pediatric dentist, beginning at your child’s first birthday. Routine visits will start your child on a lifetime of good dental health.