Infant Dental Care

When do I start brushing my child’s teeth?

It is recommended to start cleaning the child’s gums while still an infant. Clean the gums with a clean, damp washcloth along top and bottom gums. When teeth start coming through, switch to a soft bristled, infant size toothbrush. Ask your dentist when you should start using a fluoride toothpaste. Brush twice per day; after breakfast and after last feeding.

My child needs a bottle to fall asleep. Is that ok?

NOTHING BUT WATER should be in the baby’s bottle, if he or she must have one to go to sleep. If given milk at bedtime, infants and toddlers may suffer from baby bottle tooth decay (also known as “bottle rot”). Bacteria in the child’s mouth will feed on the sugar in milk or juice that remains on the teeth or gums during sleep.

What do I do for teething pain?

Teething can begin as young as 3 months. The gums may become swollen and painful. Give your child something to chew on something hard or a cold washcloth. Don’t give him anything frozen as it might cause more pain. Do not use a topical gum pain reliever. It can wash away due to the child drooling or can sometimes cause numbness in the back of the throat. We may recommend a small dose of acetaminophen or ibuprofen to ease the pain.

When will my baby’s teeth start breaking through?

Children’s teeth begin forming before birth. They usually begin to erupt at approximately 4 months of age although the eruption times can be highly variable. The sequence of eruption is much more important than the timing of eruption. All 20 of their primary teeth usually have erupted by age 3.

General Questions

Why see a Pediatric Dentist?

Pediatric dentists have an extra 23 years of specialized training specifically designed to address the dental needs of children. We are the Pediatricians of the mouth.

When should my child start seeing a Pediatric Dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends all children see a dentist 6 months after the first teeth erupt or by the age of 1 year. If we can see the kids early, before problems appear, we can instruct parents on techniques to prevent problems in the future. We strongly feel that this first visit to our office will set your child up for a lifetime of excellent dental health.

What should I expect at my child’s first appointment

The first visit has several facets to it. First of all, we want to put you and your child at ease. We will discuss hygiene, diet, and any concerns you may have. For older children we would like to do a thorough exam, cleaning, x-rays, and a fluoride treatment. HOWEVER, we will never force the child to do anything he is not comfortable doing.

Will I be allowed to sit with my child during his appointment?

By all means! We encourage parents to sit with their child during their visit. The child often feels more comfortable with a parent nearby.

Does my child really need x-rays?

X-rays are a vital part of the dental exam. It can show cavities that are beginning below the surface and not yet visible to the naked eye. Our x-ray machine is digital and uses minimal radiation.

What kind of toothpaste should I use?

You can use a fluoride toothpaste that is approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) if your child is old enough to spit it out after brushing. Earlier than that, it is recommended to use either a fluoridefree toothpaste, no toothpaste, or only a “pea size” amount.

How often should my child see the dentist?

It is recommended the child see their dentist every six months to prevent cavities and other dental issues. There is a strong correlation between recurring dental visits and excellent dental health.

How do I prevent my child from getting cavities?

The best way to prevent cavities is to maintain a healthy diet (limiting sugar), brush twice daily, and visit your dentist regularly. (see blog post... how-sealants-provide-extra-protection-against-cavities)

My child is grinding his teeth.

Many children grind their teeth. A good portion of these kids will stop grinding before they become teen agers. If the grinding does not stop, we have techniques to help them reduce the intensity of grinding and often stoop grinding.

Will thumb sucking or using a pacifier cause problems?

Thumb sucking is perfectly normal for infants; most stop by age 2 and it should be discouraged after age 4. Prolonged thumb sucking can create crowded, crooked teeth or bite problems. Dentists can suggest ways to address a prolonged thumb sucking habit.


My child has a toothache.

Rinse with warm salt water, place cold compress on face, if swollen. Give him or her acetaminophen (if not allergic) for pain. Call your dentist as soon as possible. Don’t put it off because it could become abscessed and make things worse. Call our office. 386-760-0550.

What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a tooth?

If a tooth is knocked out, make sure it is a permanent tooth (baby teeth should not be replanted).

  • Keep your child calm.
  • Find the tooth and pick it up by the crown (the white part). Avoid touching the root.
  • If the tooth is dirty, wash it briefly (10 seconds) under cold running water and reposition it in your child’s mouth. Bite on a handkerchief to hold it in position.
  • If this is not possible, place the tooth in a suitable storage medium, e.g. a glass of milk or a special storage media for avulsed teeth if available (e.g. Hanks balanced storage medium or saline). The tooth can also be transported in the mouth, keeping it between the molars and the inside of the cheek. If the patient is very young, he/she could swallow the tooth therefore it is advisable to get the patient to spit in a container and place the tooth in it. Avoid storage in water!!
  • Seek emergency dental treatment at our office immediately. 386-760-0550.
  • Sedation

    What kind of sedation is used for dental procedures?

    Our office uses 3 forms of sedation depending on the level of anxiety and the child’s age. The one most commonly used sedative technique is nitrous oxide (laughing gas). This is used for children with mild to moderate anxiety.