Patient Education

Here you’ll find some frequently asked questions & some basic answers. We’re always happy to answer your questions. A huge part of long-term dental wellness is teaching you & your child to be active participants in his or her own care. That means asking us any question that comes to mind, even the ones you think you should already know the answer to. We’re not here to judge! If there is ever anything about your child’s dental health or the treatment we’re recommending that isn’t clear to you, please let us know so we can explain further.

What age should I bring my child in for their first checkup?

We recommend a child’s first visit to the dentist be as soon as he or she gets their first tooth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child be seen by 6 months after his or her first tooth erupts, or by one year old, whichever comes first.

Why are baby teeth important?

Primary (baby) teeth serve a very important purpose. They are important for chewing food, speaking & appearance, but they are also critical for holding the space & guiding developing permanent teeth into the correct position.

Can you tell me about fluoride?

Fluoride has been shown in multiple studies to dramatically decrease a person’s chances of getting cavities by making teeth stronger. It occurs naturally in water & many different foods. We can help you determine if your child is getting adequate amounts of fluoride in their system.

What should I use to clean my baby’s teeth?

We recommend a small toothbrush with very soft bristles, designed especially for infants. Even an infant’s teeth should be brushed at least once a day, at bedtime.

Does my child need sealants?

Sealants are a clear or tooth colored plastic material applied to the deep grooves & pits of teeth to block plaque & food particles from collecting, causing potential cavities. Talk to us about whether your child is a good candidate for sealants.

Is it a problem if my child is a thumb sucker or uses a pacifier?

Thumb & pacifier habits generally only cause a problem if they go on for a long period of time. Most children will stop on their own, but it becomes a problem if the habit is still ongoing as the permanent teeth appear, as it will potentially create crowded, crooked teeth, or bite problems.

What causes cavities & how can I help my child avoid them?

Cavities are the result of bacteria in our mouths that come into contact with sugary foods in our diets. Acid is produced, attacks the enamel & tiny holes are formed in the teeth called cavities.

Brushing & flossing twice daily, regular dental checkups, a proper balanced diet (limit sugary drinks & snacking between meals) & fluoride treatments are all integral components to cavity prevention.

What is “laughing gas” or nitrous oxide?

Nitrous oxide (commonly called “laughing gas”) is an extremely safe & effective method used to calm a child’s anxiety during dental visits. It is a mix of two gases: oxygen & nitrous oxide. It is inhaled through the nose & after a few minutes, the child experiences a sense of calm relaxation. Your child remains awake, & after the procedure is over, nitrous leaves the body quickly after breathing 100% oxygen.