Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When should my child have their first visit to the dentist?

We recommend scheduling your child’s first dental visit by their first birthday or within six months after their first tooth erupts, whichever comes first. Early visits help establish good oral hygiene habits and allow us to monitor their dental development.

Q: What is a tongue tie, and how can it affect my child’s oral health?

A tongue tie occurs when the tissue connecting the tongue to the floor of the mouth is too tight. It can affect speech, feeding, and oral hygiene. We assess tongue ties and provide appropriate guidance or referrals for treatment if necessary.

Q: Is fluoride important for my child’s dental health?

Yes, fluoride plays a vital role in preventing tooth decay. We may recommend fluoride treatments and use fluoride-rich toothpaste to strengthen your child’s tooth enamel and protect against cavities.

Q: When will my child need their first set of dental x-rays?

Dental x-rays are typically taken around the age of 4-6, when primary teeth start to come in close contact. X-rays help us detect cavities between teeth and monitor the development of permanent teeth.

Q: What is nitrous oxide, and how is it used for pediatric patients?

Nitrous oxide, also known as “laughing gas,” is a safe and effective sedative option for anxious or nervous children. It helps them relax during dental procedures while remaining conscious and responsive.

Q: My child has been recommended for stainless steel crowns. What are they, and why are they used?

Stainless steel crowns are durable, pre-fabricated dental caps used to restore severely decayed or damaged primary teeth. They provide protection and strength to the tooth while allowing it to function properly until the permanent tooth emerges.

Q: How can I prepare my child for their first dental visit?

Maintain a positive attitude and discuss the visit in a fun and casual manner. Avoid using negative words like “hurt” or “pain.” Reading children’s books about visiting the dentist can also help normalize the experience.

Q: Are dental sealants necessary for my child?

Dental sealants are thin protective coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of molars to prevent cavities. They are especially beneficial for children as their newly erupted permanent teeth are more prone to decay.

Q: What is the best way to clean my child’s teeth at home?

Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Brush for two minutes twice a day, and make sure to reach all tooth surfaces. Encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste but not to rinse afterward.

Q: How often should my child have dental check-ups?

Regular dental check-ups every six months are recommended to monitor your child’s oral health, catch any issues early, and provide professional cleanings. Depending on their unique needs, we might suggest more frequent visits.

Q: How often should my child brush their teeth, and for how long should they brush?

It’s essential for your child to establish good oral hygiene habits early on. Pediatric dentists recommend that children brush their teeth at least twice a day – once in the morning and once before bedtime. The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests using a fluoride toothpaste, but for children under three, use only a smear of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice, and for children aged three to six, a pea-sized amount is appropriate.

As for how long they should brush, it’s recommended that children brush their teeth for a minimum of two minutes each time. A fun way to ensure they brush for the full two minutes is to use a timer or a toothbrush with a built-in timer or music. Encouraging them to brush their teeth for the full two minutes helps ensure that they are thorough in cleaning all surfaces of their teeth and gums, reducing the risk of cavities and gum problems.

Remember, it’s also important to supervise your child’s brushing until they have the dexterity to do it effectively on their own, usually around the age of 6 or 7. Additionally, regular dental check-ups with a pediatric dentist are crucial to monitor your child’s oral health and receive professional guidance on their specific needs.

Remember, this FAQ is intended as general information and may not cover every specific case. For personalized advice, always consult with Dr. Robert L. Edmonstone, your trusted children’s dentist in Old Saybrook, CT.