Still have questions?
What is dentistry?
Dentistry is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of conditions, disorders, and diseases of the teeth, gums, mouth, and jaw. Often considered necessary for complete oral health, dentistry can have an impact on the health of your child’s entire body.
Who is a dentist?
A dentist is a specialist who works to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral health problems. Your dentist has completed at least eight years of schooling, and received either a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree, or a DMD (Doctor of Medical Medicine) degree. If your dentist is a pediatric dentist, this means that he or she specializes in caring for children from infancy through their teen years. A pediatric dentist has recieved the proper education and training to wok with young children. Other specializations include:
- Endodontics (root canals)
- Oral and maxillofacial (including pathology, radiology, and surgery)
- Orthodontics and dentofacial othopedics
- Periodontics (gum disease)
- Prosthodontics (implants)
Why is visiting the dentist so important?
Visiting the dentist regularly will not only help keep your child’s teeth and mouth healthy, but will also help keep the rest of their body healthy. Dental care is important because it:
- Helps prevent tooth decay
- Protects against periodontal (gum) disease, which can lead to tooth and bone loss
- Prevents bad breath – brushing, flossing, and seeing the dentist regularly will help reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth that causes bad breath
- Gives your child a more attractive smile and increases their self-confidence
- Helps keep teeth looking bright by preventing them from becoming stained by food, drinks and tobacco
- Strengthens their teeth so that they can enjoy healthy, beautiful smiles for the rest of their lives
My child's teeth look fine. Do they still need to visit the dentist?
Your child’s teeth may feel fine, but it’s still important to see the dentist regularly because problems can exist without you knowing. Your child’s smile is important and Dr. Hart can help keep your child’s smile healthy and looking beautiful. With so many advances in dentistry, you no longer have to settle for stained, chipped, missing, or misshapen teeth. Today’s dentists offer many treatment choices that can help your child smile with confidence. These include:
- Professional teeth whitening
- Fillings that mimic the appearance of natural teeth
- Tooth replacement and full smile makeovers
What should I look for when choosing a dentist?
Choosing a dentist who clicks with you and your children is important, and you may wish to consider several dentists before making your final decision. During your first visit, you should be able to determine whether the dentist is right for you and your children. During your appointment, consider the following:
- Is the appointment schedule convenient?
- Is the office easy to get to and close by?
- Does the office appear to be clean and orderly?
- Was your child’s medical and dental history recorded and placed in a permanent file?
- Does the dentist explain techniques for good oral health?
- Is information about cost presented to you before treatment is scheduled?
- Is your dentist a member of the ADA (American Dental Association)?
How can I take care of my child's teeth between dental checkups?
- Always Remember to brush their teeth at least two times a day, and floss at least once.
- Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your dentist if your child needs a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities.
- Avoid foods with a lot of sugar (sugar increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth causing more plaque and possible cavities).
- Don’t be afraid to brush the tongue. By brushing the tongue, you will remove food particles and reduce the amount of plaque-causing-bacteria. Tongue brushing also helps keep your child’s breath fresh.
- Be sure the schedule your child’s routine checkup. It is recommended that your child visit the dentist every six months.
At what age should I start taking my child to see the dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children first see a dentist as early as six months of age and no later than one year of age. During this time, your child’s baby teeth will be coming in and your dentist can examine the health of your child’s first few teeth. After the first visit, be sure to schedule regular checkups every six months.
How often should my child see the dentist?
Children, teens, and adults should all see the dentist for a regular checkup at least once every six months. Patients who are at a greater risk for oral cancer or gum disease may be required to see the dentist more than just twice a year. Dr. Hart will help determine how often your child should visit the dentist for regular checkups.
What is a cavity?
A cavity is a small hole that forms inside the tooth because of tooth decay. Cavities are formed when plaque buildup on the outside of the tooth combines with sugars and starches in the food you eat. This produces an acid that can eat away the enamel on your teeth. If a cavity is left untreated, it can lead to more serious oral health problems. Cavities can be prevented by remembering to brush your teeth at least two times a day and floss between teeth at least once.
What is a filling?
A filling is a synthetic material that your dentist uses to fill a cavity after all of the tooth decay has been removed. Fillings do not hurt because your dentist will numb your mouth with an anesthetic. Fillings are made from a variety of different materials, including composites, amalgam, or ceramic. If your child needs a filling, be sure to talk to Dr. Hart about what type is best for your child and their teeth.
How often should I brush my child's teeth?
According to your dentist and the American Dental Association, you should brush their teeth at least two times a day. Brushing keeps their teeth, gums, and mouth clean and healthy by removing bacteria-causing plaque. It is also recomended that you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride when you brush your child’s teeth. You should spend at least a minute on the top teeth and a minute on the bottom teeth, and remember to brush their tongue. It will help keep their breath smelling fresh.
When should I change my child's toothbrush?
Their toothbrush will eventually wear out, especially if you are brushing their teeth twice a day for two to three minutes each time. Dr. Hart recommends that adults and children change their toothbrush every three months. If you are using an electric toothbrush, be sure to read the directions because you may not need to change their toothbrush heads as frequently. Patients with gum disease are encouraged to change their toothbrush every four to six weeks to keep any bacteria from spreading. After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with hot water to kill germs and keep the bristles clean. If your child has been sick, be sure to change their toothbrush as soon as possible.
What is gum disease?
Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease is mostly caused by plaque and bacteria buildup that is not treated in its early stage. Other causes of periodontal disease include tobacco use, teeth grinding, some medications, and genetics. Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease, and if detected, is treatable. Gingivitis left untreated may turn into gum disease. Advance gum disease will lead to tooth and bone loss, and is a permanent condition. Brushing your teeth regularly and visiting the dentist every six months will help prevent gingivitis and more severe cases of periodontal disease. Common signs of gum disease:
- Red, irritated, bleeding, or swollen gums
- Chronic bad breath
- Loose teeth, or loss of teeth
- Extreme tooth sensitivity
- Receding gum line
- Abscessed teeth
If my child has braces, do they still need dental checkups every six months?
Yes. In fact, it is even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your child’s toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities , gingivitis, and gum disease. Dr. Hart will work closely with your child’s orthodontist to make sure that their teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.
How do I schedule my child's next checkup?
Simply call our practice. Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule your child’s next dental checkup at your convenience. If you are a new patient, please let us know and we will provide you with all the information you need for your child’s first dental visit.