Tooth Brushing Techniques

1. Pick the right tools. Toddler-sized toothbrushes are the ideal softness and size for your child’s mouth, while toothpastes made for toddlers are typically fluoride-free so kids can’t harm themselves if they swallow more than they should. If he’s old enough, let him pick out his own toothbrush, or choose one with a cartoon character that will appeal to him.

2. Let your child get used to the brush. Most kids will put anything in their mouths, so make your child’s toothbrush available to her during diaper changes or other inactive times. The more she is used to handling her toothbrush, the easier it will be to get her to brush properly.

3. Ask him to mimic what you do. Grab your own toothbrush and demonstrate proper technique such as brushing in a circular motion. It’s hard for kids to learn how to do something if they can’t see it.

4. Make it fun with music. Put on your child’s favorite song or music from her favorite movie, which gives her a beat to brush to and also encourages her to brush for a longer period.

What should I expect at my child’s first visit?

We have carefully designed our office to be a child-friendly, comfortable and fun environment. We complete our dental examination in an age-appropriate manner and work closely with children to gain their trust. We welcome your input on how you think your child will do best. With tender loving care and respect for your child’s own rhythm we encourage the child to watch one of our stuffed animals have a “tooth check”. Then we give your child oral hygiene instructions and explain how we count teeth. We also explain how our dental “tools” are used.

How can I prepare my child for visiting the dentist?

The best preparation for your child’s first visit to our office is maintaining a positive attitude. Children pick up on adults’ apprehensions and if you make negative comments about trips to the dentist, you can be sure that your child will fear an unpleasant experience and act accordingly. Show your child the pictures of the office and staff on the website. Let your child know that it’s important to keep his or her teeth and gums healthy, and that the doctor will help them do that. Our staff excels at putting children at ease during treatment.

What are dental caries?

If your child is diagnosed with cavities, a comprehensive treatment plan needs to be presented. Because the cause of the disease is bacterial, restoring the cavities is not enough. The treatment plan must address controlling the germs and identifying the steps for prevention of future decay. If this is not done, your child will continue to develop new cavities in untreated areas. The age of your child is also very important. The younger your child is, the more challenging it is to control the caries process. Children who develop cavities younger than 71 months of age are suffering from what the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry defines as “Early Childhood Caries” (ECC).

Are dental X-Rays necessary for treating my child?

X-Rays (radiographs) are an important part of your child’s dental diagnostic process. Without them, certain dental conditions can and will be missed. X-Rays detect much more than cavities. For example, x-rays may be needed to survey erupting teeth, diagnose bone diseases, evaluate the results of an injury, or plan orthodontic treatment. X-rays allow dentists to diagnose and treat health conditions that cannot be detected during a clinical examination. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable for your child and more affordable for you.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends x-rays and examinations every six months for children with a high risk of tooth decay. On average, most pediatric dentists request x-rays approximately once a year. Approximately every 3 years it is a good idea to obtain a complete set of x-rays, either a panoramic and bitewings or periapicals and bitewings. Today’s equipment filters out unnecessary x-rays and restricts the x-ray beam to the area of interest. High-speed film and proper shielding assure that your child receives a minimal amount of radiation exposure.

My kid plays sports; how can I protect her teeth?

When a child begins to participate in recreational activities and organized sports, injuries can occur. A properly fitted mouth guard, or mouth protector, is an important piece of athletic gear that can help protect your child’s smile, and should be used during any activity that could result in a blow to the face or mouth. Mouth-guards help prevent broken teeth, and injuries to the lips, tongue, face or jaw. A properly fitted mouth guard will stay in place while your child is wearing it, making it easy for them to talk and breathe. Ask Dr. Jared about custom mouth protectors.

How should I treat dental emergencies?

Toothache: Clean the area of the affected tooth thoroughly. Rinse the mouth vigorously with warm water or use dental floss to dislodge impacted food or debris. If the pain still exists, contact your child’s dentist. DO NOT place aspirin on the gum or on the aching tooth. If the face is swollen apply cold compresses and contact your dentist immediately.

Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek: Apply ice to bruised areas. If there is bleeding apply firm but gentle pressure with a gauze or cloth. If bleeding does not stop after 15 minutes or it cannot be controlled by simple pressure, take the child to hospital emergency room.

Knocked Out Permanent Tooth: Find the tooth. Handle the tooth by the crown, not the root portion. You may rinse the tooth but please DO NOT clean or handle the tooth unnecessarily. Inspect the tooth for fractures. If it is sound, try to reinsert it in the socket. Have your child hold the tooth in place by biting on a gauze. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, transport the tooth in a cup containing the patient’s saliva or milk. If the patient is old enough, the tooth may also be carried in the patient’s mouth. The patient must see the dentist immediately! Time is a critical factor in saving the tooth.

Please click the following link to visit the American Academy Pediatric Dentistry for more FAQ’s.

Can thumb sucking be harmful for my child’s teeth?

Thumb and pacifier sucking habits that go on for a long period of time can create crowded, crooked teeth or bite problems. If they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers when the permanent teeth arrive, a mouth appliance may be recommended by the dentist. Most children stop these habits on their own.

When do the first teeth start to erupt?

At about 6 months, the two lower front teeth (central incisors) will erupt, followed shortly by the two upper central incisors. The remainder of the baby teeth appear during the next 18 to 24 months but not necessarily in an orderly sequence from front to back. At 2 to 3 years, all of these 20 primary teeth should be present.

What is baby bottle tooth decay and how can I prevent it?

Baby bottle tooth decay is a pattern of rapid decay associated with prolonged nursing. It happens when a child goes to sleep while breast-feeding and/or bottle-feeding. During sleep, the flow of saliva is reduced and the natural self-cleansing action of the mouth is diminished. Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bedtime bottle. Encourage your child to drink from a cup as they approach their first birthday. He/she should be weaned from the bottle at 12-14 months of age.

How can I help my child through the teething stage?

Sore gums when teeth erupt are part of the normal eruption process. The discomfort is eased for some children by use of a teething biscuit, a piece of toast or a frozen teething ring. Your pharmacy should also have medications that can be rubbed on the gums to reduce the discomfort.

I noticed a space between my child’s two upper front teeth. Is this cause for concern?

Usually, the space will close in the next few years as the other front teeth erupt. We can determine whether there is cause for concern.

Where can I find more information?

If you would like more information please visit the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Website.
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