Pediatric Dental FAQs

Why are baby teeth important?

Primary teeth are important to your child’s future dental health because they help with proper chewing and eating, aid in speech development and add to an attractive appearance. A child who can chew easily, speak clearly and smile confidently is a happier child. Primary teeth permit normal development of the jaw bones and muscles. They save space for the permanent teeth and guide them into position. If a baby tooth is lost too soon, the teeth beside it may tilt, causing permanent teeth to come in crooked. In addition, your child’s general health can be affected if diseased baby teeth are not treated.

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When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?

The Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children make their first visit to the dentist before their first birthday or six months after they get their first tooth. Prevention and education are key to a lifetime of healthy smiles. You can make a “Baby and Me” appointment at our office for your child under 2 years of age. Dr. Kailes will perform a knee-to-knee examination to check your child’s teeth for decay and proper eruption.. A highly-trained member of our team will discuss proper oral care, diet, and habits that can influence your child’s dental health and well being. This first visit is a great opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have.

And it is a great opportunity to introduce your child to dentistry in a fun and positive way. Establishing a “dental home” is also important in the case of a dental emergency as your child begins the world of walking and exploring.


How should I prepare my child for their first visit?

We strive to make each child’s first visit to the dentist a fun, positive start to a lifetime of healthy smiles. One of our caring team members will greet you and your child in the waiting room where there are games and toys to make your child comfortable. You will then be asked to accompany your child to a patient room. At this time, you and your child will be taught how to maintain a healthy smile, with brushing, flossing, and a good diet. Your child will also receive a dental cleaning with a fun- flavored toothpaste. X-Rays will be taken if they are indicated with our special “camera”.

Dr. Kailes will then complete a comprehensive oral examination to evaluate your child’s bite, discuss any habits, tooth eruption, and check for dental decay (cavities). If any dental treatment is recommended, Dr. Kailes and her team will do their best to make sure you have a good understanding of your treatment options and our policies. Your child will then receive a fluoride treatment and be rewarded for their first visit with a sticker and a token for our treasure tower. A “goodie” bag will be given to your child with a new toothbrush, floss, and other helpful information.

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May I stay with my child during the visit?

Sure! Parents are always allowed in the back. During new patient exams, we encourage parents to get involved by learning about how their child can prevent decay with proper home care and diet. For all other visits, we ask that parents follow these guidelines so that we can develop a caring and trusting relationship with your child:

One parent present at a time, If possible, avoid bringing very small siblings to the appointment. Please allow Dr. Kailes and her team to be the only ones giving your child instructions and explanations of procedures. This helps us establish rapport and trust. You are welcome to offer words of praise and encouragement. Cell phones should be turned off.


Is it OK for children to cry?

Crying is a normal reaction to almost any kind of anxiety in a young child. New experiences, strange people and places fit in that category for the very young. Please do not let your child’s occasional tears upset you as it is very common and we anticipate crying in some small children. The more relaxed we (parent and dental staff) are at that time, the sooner the child will overcome his/her anxiety.


Why choose a pediatric dentist?

Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years of specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special needs.

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Toothpaste: when and how much?

Fluoridated toothpaste should be introduced when a child is two to three years of age. Prior to that, parents should clean the child’s teeth with water or non-fluoridated “training toothpaste” and a soft-bristled brush. Parents should supervise brushing and make sure that no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is used. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste.


What are sealants?

A sealant is a plastic material (resin) that is applied to the back teeth that protects the chewing surface from plaque and acids. More about sealants…


Are thumb sucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child’s teeth?

Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers when the permanent teeth erupt, a mouth appliance may be recommended. More about Thumb, Finger and Pacifier Habits…


Why are my child’s permanent teeth coming in “yellower” than his/her baby teeth?

At approximately six to seven years of age, parents begin to notice the new permanent teeth are coming in darker than the baby teeth. Our permanent teeth have a greater amount of dentin, which is yellow in color. Since the enamel is translucent, the color of the dentin shows through. When all the permanent teeth have erupted the color will blend and appear uniform.

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How does my children’s diet affect their dental health?

They must have a balanced diet for their teeth to develop properly. They also need a balanced diet for healthy gum tissue around the teeth. Equally important, a diet high in certain kinds of carbohydrates, such as sugar and starches, may place your child at extra risk for tooth decay.


What are space maintainers?

Space maintainers are appliances made of metal or plastic that are custom fit to your children’s mouth. They are small and unobtrusive in appearance. Most children easily adjust to them after the first few days. More about Space Maintainers…


What are the advantages of tooth-colored fillings?

Because composite resins are tooth-colored, they look more natural than other filling materials. Your child can smile, talk, and eat with confidence. In addition, tooth-colored fillings are compatible with dental sealants. A tooth can be filled and sealed at the same time to prevent further decay.

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What are disadvantages?

First, tooth-colored fillings are not for every tooth. They work best in small restorations and low-stress areas. For example, your pediatric dentist may not recommend a tooth-colored filling for a large cavity or for the chewing surface of a back tooth. Second, tooth-colored fillings may cost a bit more than silver fillings because they take longer to place.


Are dental x-rays safe for kids?

Our office uses digital X-ray technology that reduces your child’s exposure to radiation by as much as 90% and it eliminates the use of chemicals for development. It is better for your child and the environment. Since every child is unique, the need for dental X-ray films varies from child to child. Films are taken only after a complete review of your child’s health, and only when they are likely to yield information that a visual exam cannot.

In general, children need X-rays more often than adults. Their mouths grow and change rapidly. They are more susceptible to tooth decay than adults. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends X-ray examinations every six months for children with a high risk of tooth decay. Children with a low risk of tooth decay require X-rays less frequently.

X-rays detect more than just cavities, they allow us to diagnose and treat conditions that cannot be detected during clinical examinations. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable and affordable. More about X-Rays…


Why are fluoride treatments important for kids?

Fluoride is a mineral compound containing fluorine, a naturally occurring element. It helps prevent tooth decay by making the tooth more resistant to acid and plaque and strengthens the enamel by replacing nutrients.

While small amounts of fluoride are found in many toothpastes, rinses and city water sources, the fluoride treatments used in our dental office are much more concentrated. Studies have shown that children who receive regular fluoride treatments, once every 6 months, may have up to 40% fewer cavities than those who do not.

Fluoride treatment is easy and affordable. Dr. Kailes recommends topical fluoride varnish treatments for all children every 6 months. Fluoride varnish is much easier and more enjoyable than traditional fluoride rinses, foams and trays; and does not require any waiting to eat or drink afterwards. After teeth are cleaned, the assistant will quickly paint the varnish on the teeth. When it comes in contact with the tooth, it spreads across the entire tooth surface and is absorbed over the next 24 hours.

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