A. Just as a pediatrician treats your child’s health needs, a pediatric dentist is trained to treat your child’s oral needs. A pediatric dental specialist has received two additional years of training after dental school to specifically treat children. Our office is designed to meet the needs of your child. It is a comfortable place where your son or daughter will be welcomed and encouraged to learn and practice great oral hygiene habits.
A. Eruption, the process of baby teeth coming through the gums into the mouth, is variable among individual babies. In general the first baby teeth that appear are the lower front teeth and they usually begin erupting between the age of six and eight months. By three years old, twenty baby teeth will ultimately be present.
At age six, the baby teeth will start to fall out and continue to do so through age thirteen. These will be replaced by twenty-eight permanent teeth. In high school, the four wisdom teeth will try to erupt. Remember, this process can vary with each child and we will be here to help guide you through their development.
A. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association recommend having your child’s first dental check-up at age 1 or when the first teeth erupt. This allows us to educate you regarding oral care and habits and to make sure your baby is off to a great start.
A. Your child learns most from your positive attitude so avoid expressing any apprehension or fear of going to the dentist. Have them see you actively participating in good oral habits like brushing and flossing, with yourself and with them. You can help them practice opening wide and counting their teeth.
If your child is apprehensive about their first visit, you can casually tell them that only kids get to see Dr. Ted and he’ll answer their questions and make everything fun. You can leave the rest to us!
A. It is very important to maintain the health of the baby teeth. Neglected cavities can and frequently do lead to problems which affect developing permanent teeth. Baby teeth are necessary for (1) proper chewing and eating, (2) maintaining space for the permanent teeth and guiding them into the correct position, and (3) permitting normal development of the jaw bones and muscles. Baby teeth also affect the development of speech and add to an attractive appearance. While the front 4 teeth last until 6-7 years of age, the back teeth aren’t replaced until age 10–13.
A. Tooth decay is caused by sugars left in the mouth that turn into an acid, which can break down teeth. Children are at high risk for tooth decay for a simple reason: many children and adolescents do not practice regular, good oral hygiene habits. Proper brushing and flossing routines combined with regular dental visits help keep tooth decay away.
Your child should visit Dr. Loiben every six months for regular check-ups, which include cleanings along with fluoride treatments to strengthen their teeth. Dental sealants on the permanent molars are recommended because they “seal” the deep grooves in your child’s teeth, helping to prevent decay from forming in these hard to reach areas. We’ll discuss sealants at the proper time for your child.
A. You can definitely play a role in decreasing your child’s risk for baby bottle tooth decay. Children should not fall asleep with a bottle containing anything but water. Encourage your child to drink from a cup as he or she approaches the first birthday.
Speaking of cups, the sippy cup should be used only briefly as a transitional tool and should be discontinued as soon as your child can hold a regular cup. This will prevent chronic exposure to sugary liquids which can lead to decay. Please keep in mind that milk and juice do contain natural sugars.
At-will nighttime breastfeeding should be avoided after the first baby teeth begin to erupt. After each feeding, wipe the baby’s gums and teeth with a damp washcloth or gauze pad to remove plaque. The easiest way to do this is to sit down and place the child’s head in your lap.
A. When the teeth first begin to come in, parents should clean them gently with water and a soft-bristled toothbrush or with a non-fluoridated toothpaste. At two years of age, a fluoridated toothpaste should be introduced and used under supervision to make sure that a “smear” of toothpaste is used, just enough to create foam on the toothbrush. Children should try to spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing. After age three, a pea-sized amount should be used. Children should have their teeth brushed at least twice every day.
A. Before the age of eight, many children don’t have the dexterity to floss. As parents you should floss your child as soon as they can tolerate it. Make sure to get between any teeth that are closely in contact with one another.
A. Fluoride helps your child’s teeth remain strong and healthy. Getting an adequate amount of fluoride is necessary to allow proper enamel development and to prevent or limit dental decay.
A. X-rays are an important of your child’s dental diagnostic process. Without them, certain conditions can and will be missed. X-rays detect much more than cavities. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable for your child and more affordable for you.
We are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. We decrease radiation exposure by using a protective lead apron and the latest digital x-ray sensors which require even less radiation than previous generation digital X-ray systems.
A. Very important. A daily diet should include all of the major food groups of meat/fish/eggs, vegetable/fruit, bread/cereal, as well as milk and other dairy products. Snacking should also be limited.
A. A sealant is a protective coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces (grooves) of the back teeth (premolars and molars), where four out of five cavities in children are found. This sealant acts as a barrier to food, plaque and acid, thus protecting the decay-prone areas of the teeth. The sealant procedure is fast and easy and your child may eat immediately afterward.
A. Every six months. By seeing your child every six months, we can clean the teeth so they are free of plaque and tartar before serious problems develop. Children grow and change very quickly, and Dr. Ted will not only check for dental decay but also observe any irregularities in the bite, spacing and mobility of teeth as well as facial structure. Regular dental checkups at an early age will help your child accept good dental care as part of the normal routine.
A. Here are some helpful resources: