CHILDREN’S DENTIST IN GREAT FALLS & HAVRE, MT
What is a pediatric dentist?A pediatric dentist has two extra years of specialized training and is dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy through teenage years. Infants, children, preteens and teenagers all need different approaches in dealing with their behavior, dental growth and development, and helping them avoid future dental problems. The pediatric dentist is best qualified to meet all of these needs.
When should a child first visit a pediatric dentist?Your child should visit the dentist by his or her first birthday. You can help make your child’s first visit a positive, pleasant experience. Your child should be told of the visit and that the dentist and staff will explain all procedures and answer any questions.
Why are primary teeth so important?The primary teeth, or baby teeth, are important for:
- Proper chewing and eating
- Providing space for the permanent teeth and guiding them into the correct position
- Permitting normal development of the jaw bones and muscles
How do you care for your child’s teeth?As soon as your child’s first tooth erupts, you should begin daily brushing. After the child is old enough to not swallow it, you can use a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste. By the age of four or five, children should be able to brush their own teeth twice a day with supervision until around age seven. But your dentist can help you determine when your child is skilled enough to brush properly on their own.
How does a good diet lead to healthy teeth?Like the rest of the body, the teeth and mouth need a well-balanced diet from a variety of foods from the five major food groups. Many snacks children eat can lead to cavity formation. The more frequently a child snacks, the greater the chance for tooth decay. In addition, when food stays in the mouth for a long time, this causes longer acid attacks on tooth enamel. When your child snacks, choose nutritious foods such as vegetables, low-fat yogurt and low-fat cheeses, which are healthier and better for children’s teeth.
How do I prevent cavities?
- Good oral hygiene. This removes bacteria and leftover food that can create cavities. For infants, use a wet gauze or clean washcloth to wipe plaque from teeth and gums.
- For older children, brush their teeth at least twice a day and watch the number of sugary snacks you give them.
- The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends six-month visits to the pediatric dentist starting at age one. Routine visits will create good oral health habits.
- Your pediatric dentist may recommend protective sealants or home fluoride treatments for your child.
What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (Early Childhood Caries)?Baby bottle tooth decay is a form of decay caused by frequent and long exposure of infant teeth to liquid containing sugar, such as milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice and other sweetened drinks.
When will my baby start getting teeth?Teething is variable among babies. Generally the first baby teeth are the lower front (anterior) and usually begin erupting between the ages of 6-8 months. See “Eruption of Your Child’s Teeth” for more details.
What will happen when my child’s teeth erupt?Children’s teeth begin forming before birth. As early as four months, the first primary (or baby) teeth to erupt are the lower central incisors, closely followed by the upper central incisors. All 20 primary teeth usually appear by age three, but the pace and order of their eruption widely varies.
What is dental fluorosis?Too much fluoride ingestion by preschool-aged children leads to dental fluorosis, which is a chalky white to brown discoloration of the permanent teeth. Being aware of a child’s potential sources of fluoride can help parents prevent dental fluorosis. Some of these sources are:
- Too much fluoridated toothpaste at an early age. Two and three year olds may not be able to spit out toothpaste when brushing, and therefore they ingest an excessive amount of fluoride. Because this is a critical period of permanent tooth development, this is the greatest risk factor in the development of fluorosis.
- Inappropriate use of fluoride supplements. Fluoride drops and tablets, as well as fluoride-fortified vitamins, should not be given to infants younger than six months. After that, they should only be given to children after all sources of ingested fluoride have been accounted for and on the recommendation of your pediatrician or pediatric dentist.
- Certain foods contain high levels of fluoride, especially powdered concentrated infant formula, soy-based infant formula, infant dry cereals, creamed spinach and infant chicken products. Please read the label or contact the manufacturer. Some beverages also contain high fluoride levels, including decaffeinated teas, white grape juice and juice or soft drinks manufactured in fluoridated cities.
- Use baby tooth cleaner on toothbrush of children who might swallow the toothpaste
- Use only a pea-sized amount of toothpaste when brushing children’s teeth
- Account for all sources of fluoride in a child’s diet before requesting fluoride supplements from your child’s physician or pediatric dentist
- Don’t give fluoride-containing supplements to infants until the are six months old
- Obtain fluoride level test results for your drinking water from your local water utilities before giving fluoride supplements to your child
What’s the best toothpaste for my child?Many toothpastes can actually damage a child’s smile. They contain harsh abrasives that can wear away at young tooth enamel. When picking a toothpaste, be sure to pick one recommended by the American Dental Association, because these have undergone testing to make sure they are safe.
Does your child grind his/her teeth at night? (Bruxism)Parents often first notice the noise created by the child grinding their teeth during sleep, or they may notice wear to the teeth. One theory is that stress due to a new environment, divorce, changes at school, etc. can cause a child to grind their teeth. Another theory says it may be caused by inner ear pressure at night.
Does your child suck his/her thumb?Sucking is a natural reflex and infants and young children may use thumbs, fingers, pacifiers and other objects on which to suck. It can provide a sense of security and happiness at difficult periods and can induce sleep.
- Rather than scolding children when they are thumb-sucking, praise them when they are not.
- Since children suck their thumbs when feeling insecure, focus on correcting the cause of the anxiety.
- Reward children when they refrain from sucking during a challenging period, such as when being separated from their parents.
- Your pediatric dentist can encourage children to stop sucking and explain what could happen if they continue.