What is a pediatric dentist?

Comparatively, pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of the dental world.  A pediatric dentist receives two to three years of additional specialty training following dental school.  This training limits his/her practice to treating children exclusively—from infancy through adolescence including those with special health care needs.

What is a routine dental exam like?

At each exam, we will review your child’s health history including any changes in medications, allergies and hospitalizations.

We will clean your child’s teeth, floss and perform a fluoride treatment.  We will take the necessary x-rays to aid in our exam of your child.  We will provide a thorough clinical exam of your child’s mouth including teeth, tongue, gums and palate.  As part of each exam, a review of diet and oral hygiene tailored to your child is performed.

Most important, following your child’s exam, we will review our findings and provide essential information to parents which include:
assessment of your child’s risk for decay including risk factors we located during the exam
evaluation of your child’s growth and development including your child’s bite
overall assessment of your child’s oral health as it pertains to their overall health including suggestions on oral hygiene measures and nutrition.

How often should my child see a pediatric dentist?

A routine dental exam is recommended every six months.  This interval helps establish and maintain a healthy oral cavity.

Patients determined to have higher risk factors may be recommended to see the dentist more frequently including those with orthodontics or with high rates of cavities.

What do I do if I have a dental emergency?

Contact your pediatric dentist as soon as possible.

If a PERMANENT tooth is knocked out… Find the tooth and rinse it gently in cool water (do NOT scrub or use soap!). If possible, replace the tooth in the socket immediately and hold it there with clean gauze or washcloth. If you cannot put it back in the socket, place the tooth in a clean container with cold milk or saliva (water would be an alternative if milk or saliva are not possible) and get to the pediatric dental office immediately. The faster you act, the better chance of saving the tooth.

If a tooth is chipped or fractured… After you contact your pediatric dentist, rinse the mouth with water and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. If you can find the broken tooth segment, please put it in cold milk or saliva (water is a second alternative only) and bring it with you to the dental office. If there are no sharp areas cutting the mouth and/or no sensitivity on the broken tooth, immediate care is not necessary. Follow-up with your pediatric dentist during office hours.
If your child suffered blunt head or neck trauma… Seek immediate medical attention with your child’s physician or at the nearest hospital.

If a PERMANENT tooth is displaced in position… Acting within hours of the displacement and contacting your pediatric dentist are important steps. The tooth may be able to be repositioned and stabilized if acted on quickly.

If your child has a toothache… Rinse your child’s mouth with water and use over-the-counter children’s pain medication, dosed according to your child’s weight and age. You may apply a cold compress or ice wrapped in a cloth to the face in the area of the pain, but do not put heat or aspirin on the sore area. Schedule a visit to the office.

Baby Tooth Trauma … Most trauma to baby (primary) teeth is aimed at making the child comfortable. If a baby tooth is lost, it will not be replaced back into the mouth due to potential damage that could occur to the growing permanent tooth under the gums. If a baby tooth is displaced in position, most times, it is left in this position and watched carefully. If a baby tooth is displaced and is very loose as a result, it may be a swallowing/choking hazard and considering an extraction of the tooth is necessary. Contact your pediatric dentist to discuss baby tooth trauma when it happens.

How should I be caring for my baby’s mouth?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry provides good information in regard to Dental Care for Your Baby

How does diet and snacking affect my child’s teeth?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry provides a couple of good tips on Diet and Snacking

What is fluoride?

Learn all about fluoride, how it works and why we use it in the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s pamphlet on Fluoride

My child needs Nitrous Oxide when they visit the dentist, what is that?

Nitrous oxide is a safe, effective sedative agent used to calm a child’s fear of the dental visit and enhances communication. Additionally, it works well for children whose gag reflex interferes with dental treatment.

What are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants protect the grooves and pitted surfaces of the teeth, especially the chewing surfaces of back teeth where most cavities in children are found. Made of clear or shaded Resins (plastics), sealants are applied to the teeth to help keep them cavity-free.

How does Enfield Pediatric Dentistry feel about X-rays?

Every child is unique and the need for dental X-ray films varies from child to child. In general, children need X-rays more often than adults. Their mouths grow and change rapidly. For children with a high risk of tooth decay X-rays can occur every six months vs children with low risk of tooth decay who might get X-rays less frequently.

Is thumb/finger sucking bad for my child’s teeth? What about a pacifier?

Children suck on their thumb or their fingers as means to provide security. For young babies, it’s a way to make contact with and learn about the world. In fact, babies begin to suck on their fingers or thumb in the womb. We will carefully watch the way your child’s teeth erupt and jaws develop, keeping the sucking habit in mind. Persistent habits may cause long term problems and intervention may occur as early as the age of three.

Why do we need to consider space maintenance when a tooth is lost PREMATURELY?

Baby teeth are important to your child’s present and future dental health. They encourage normal development of the jaw bones and muscles. They save space for the permanent teeth and guide them into position.  When a tooth is lost earlier than intended, teeth behind the empty space where the baby tooth that was lost will begin to shift forward without using a “holder” or space maintainer.  All baby teeth have replacement teeth under them.  Thus, the baby tooth naturally acts as a space holder for the adult tooth that will eventually erupt. Space maintainers are appliances made of metal or plastic that are custom fit to your child’s mouth. They are small and unobtrusive. Most children easily adjust to them after the first few days.

My child has to undergo general anesthesia for their dental care, what are the risks?

General anesthesia is a controlled state of unconsciousness that eliminates awareness, movement and discomfort during dental treatment. A physician or dentist with specialized training can use various medications to provide general anesthesia for patients receiving dental care. Although there is some risk associated with general anesthesia, it can be used safely and effectively when administered by an appropriately-trained individual in an appropriately-equipped facility. Precautions are taken to protect your child during general anesthesia; personnel who are trained to manage complications will monitor your child closely. We will discuss all the benefits and risks and why it is recommended for your child so you can make the proper decision.

If General Anesthesia is recommended or considered for your child, we will set up a consultation to address and inform you of the process, the risk and benefit of general anesthesia, any alternatives, and answer any of your questions.