Pediatric Dentistry of Prospect Turtle Logo Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Pediatric Dentist?
Like our pediatrician colleagues, pediatric dentists complete additional training beyond that of general dentist with a focus on the oral health needs of infants, children and adolescents including those with special health care needs. In addition to the anatomical and developmental differences between children and adults, pediatric dentists spend significant time studying the psychology of a child in order to help a child cope with a potentially stressful event. During her pediatric dental residency, Dr. Danielle received her master’s degree with an emphasis in child psychology.

How should I clean my baby’s teeth?
As soon as the first tooth arrives use a soft bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants. This should be used at least once a day, preferably at bedtime. Before age two, do not use any toothpaste. When your child is old enough and notices that you put toothpaste on your brush and wants some too, place only a tiny amount - just enough to taste. The toothbrush keeps the teeth, gums, palate, and tongue plaque free—not the toothpaste.

Should my child get Fluoride?
Fluoride plays an important role in keeping teeth healthy by preventing tooth decay (cavities). Fluoride treatments are a routine part of dental cleanings. Fluoride helps strengthen enamel (the translucent/white material that covers your teeth) by bonding and interlacing into the enamel. Stronger enamel helps minimize the effects of demineralization – the loss of minerals caused by the damaging acid that bacterial plaque produces. Our office uses a fluoride varnish that is appropriately dosed for children. We brush this onto the teeth for a more even coverage and the saliva helps it adhere to the teeth. This method has been shown to be more effective than the “swish and spit” method you may remember as a child. Dr Danielle recommends fluoride treatments every 6 months for all children.

Why baby teeth are important?
Primary (baby) teeth are important for several reasons. Foremost, good teeth allow a child to eat and maintain good nutrition. Healthy teeth allow for clear pronunciation and speech habits. The self-image that healthy teeth give a child is immeasurable. Primary teeth also guide eruption of the permanent (adult) teeth. If a baby tooth has a large cavity and becomes infected, it may cause permanent damage to the growing adult tooth.

What is baby bottle tooth decay and how can I prevent it?
Baby bottle tooth decay is a pattern of rapid decay associated with prolonged breast or bottle feeding during sleep hours. If the child is allowed to fall asleep with milk in their mouth this leads to deposits of acid and milk sugars on the teeth throughout the night. The acid breaks down the enamel on the teeth and causes cavities over time. To avoid baby bottle tooth decay, we encourage you to wean your child from the bottle by 12-14 months of age. Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bedtime bottle and encourage your child to drink from a cup as they approach their 1st birthday.

What are sealants?
Sealants are clear or tooth-colored resin applied to the teeth to help keep them cavity free. Sealants fill in the grooved and pitted surfaces of the teeth, which are hard to clean. Sealants shut out food particles and bacteria that could get caught, causing cavities. Fast and comfortable to apply, sealants can effectively protect the teeth for many years.

How safe are dental x-rays?
We take x-ray exposure very seriously in our office. Not only do we always use lead aprons and thyroid shields, we have one of the most advanced digital x-ray systems available. This method, as opposed to older film-based methods, significantly reduces radiation exposure to your child. X-rays of your child’s teeth are only taken if Dr. Danielle feels they are diagnostically required to ensure that your child is receiving the best dental care she can offer.

Should parents stay with their child through the dental treatment?
Generally speaking, children under three years old benefit from having their parent with them to reassure them during an unfamiliar situation. Children four and over typically are able to handle dental treatment independently and most feel empowered going without their parent. Feel confident that our highly skilled team will help you and your child determine whether your presence is needed. Each child is unique and Dr. Danielle welcomes an open discussion with you about what is best for your child.

What should I do in case of an accident or other emergency?
ACCIDENT — First and foremost, remember to stay calm and make sure there are no head injuries involved. Then, call our office ASAP and we will see your child immediately if necessary. If a baby tooth is knocked out do not try to put it back in the mouth. If a permanent tooth is knocked out, rinse it gently but DO NOT TOUCH THE ROOT OF THE TOOTH. Try to reinsert it in its socket. Have the child hold the tooth in place by biting on a clean gauze or cloth. If reinsertion is not possible, place the tooth in a cup of white milk for preservation. Time is of the essence. EMERGENCY — All other situations i.e. toothache, broken appliance, loose teeth etc. Dr Danielle will be happy to discuss each of these with you as they arise, you may call the office for her on-call number if after hours or schedule an appointment during normal business hours.