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Welcome to our Pediatric Dentistry Learning Center! Check out the Frequently Asked Questions below or browse the general topics at right.

Frequently Asked Questions




What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?
A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime.
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When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?
In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday.
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What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?
Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years 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 health needs.
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Are baby teeth really that important to my child?
Primary, or "baby," teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt.
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What should I do if my child has a toothache?
First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Give the child acetaminophen (i.e. Tylenol) for any pain, rather than placing aspirin on the teeth or gums. Finally, see a dentist as soon as possible.
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Are thumbsucking 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 past the age of three, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist.
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How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?
Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bed-time bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child's teeth. Take your child to a pediatric dentist regularly to have his/her teeth and gums checked. The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child's first birthday.
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How often does my child need to see the pediatric dentist?
A check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your pediatric dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.
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Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use?
The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Use a "smear" of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child less than 2 years of age. For the 2-5 year old, dispense a "pea-size" amount of toothpaste and perform or assist your child’s toothbrushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively.Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.
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How do I make my child's diet safe for his teeth?
Make sure your child has a balanced diet, including one serving each of: fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products, and meat fish and eggs. Limiting the servings of sugars and starches will also aid in protecting your child's teeth from decay. You can also ask your pediatric dentist to help you select foods that protect your children's teeth.
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How do dental sealants work?
Sealants work by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years.
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How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride?
Have your pediatric dentist evaluate the fluoride level of your child's primary source of drinking water. If your child is not getting enough fluoride internally through water (especially if the fluoride level is deficient or if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride), then your pediatric dentist may prescribe fluoride supplements.
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What can I do to protect my child's teeth during sporting events?
Soft plastic mouthguards can be used to protect a child's teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sport related injuries. A custom-fitted mouthguard developed by a pediatric dentist will protect your child from injuries to the teeth and face and even provide protection from severe injuries to the head.
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What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth?
The most important thing to do is to remain calm, then find the tooth. Hold it by the crown rather than the root and try to reinsert it in the socket. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk and take your child and the glass immediately to the pediatric dentist.
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How safe are dental X-rays?
There is very little risk in dental X-rays. Pediatric dentists are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. Lead aprons and high-speed film are used to ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation.
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How can parents help prevent tooth decay?
Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. Then, the dentist can recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing, and other treatments for parents to supervise and teach to their children. These home treatments, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.
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Information and stock photos on this page courtesy American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

General Topics

Dental Care For Your Baby
The Pediatric Dentist
Emergency Dental Care
Thumb and Pacifier Habits
Regular Dental Visits
Enamel Fluorosis
Diet and Dental Health
Sealants
Mouth Protectors
X-Ray Use and Safety
Preventive Dentistry

MouthHealthy.org MouthHealthy.org MouthHealthy.org

Quick Tips for Busy Parents

"I Don't Wanna Brush!"

AAPD President Dr. William C. Berlocher (2009-2010), shares his insight on those hard-to-brush preschoolers:

“A pediatric dentist's average day in the office includes a number of encounters with children who are initially not cooperative. Sometimes this uncooperative behavior is a result of a child being anxious in a new and foreign environment. Other times it is simply a child manifesting some recently appreciated control in their lives.”

Fear of the unknown is usually handled quite easily using several basic behavior guidance tools.

These are:

Tell/Show/Do - a technique that involves explanation of procedures in age-appropriate levels (Tell), demonstration of the procedure in a carefully defined, nonthreatening setting (Show) and then without deviating from the explanation and demonstration, completion of the procedure (Do).

Positive Reinforcement - positive feedback is used to reward desired behavior and strengthen the recurrence of these behaviors.

Modeling - a technique that involves allowing children to observe activities that are new to them by watching other more experienced children engage in these activities.

“Children who have discovered they have some control in their lives and are resistive to their parent’s direction and instruction can be a more challenging issue. A term that I've found to be extremely useful in these situations is "cheerful persistence." First of all, parents need to be positive and keep a smile on their face when working with their child. Parents give many nonverbal cues to their children. If you go into a tooth-brushing session looking like you're going to war, more than likely it will be just that! Secondly, oral hygiene is something that works only if it is undertaken on a regular basis. Therefore, daily brushing is a must. Avoiding tooth brushing because of the potential for a clash between a child and parent dramatically increases the potential for development of dental cavities."

 



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The pediatric dental office of Marsha Adler Gordon, D.D.S. and Wanda J. Janik, D.M.D. is located in Allentown, PA and provides your child with a fun and friendly environment as well as excellent dental care.