For more information concerning pediatric dentistry, please visit the website for the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

General Topics

What Is A Pediatric Dentist?

A pediatric dentist has an extra two years of specialized training after dental school that is dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy through adolescence. Patients of different ages require varying approaches in behavior management, guidance of dental growth and development, and helping them avoid future dental problems. A pediatric dentist is best qualified to meet these specialized needs.

Why Are The Primary Teeth So Important?

It is very important to maintain the health of the primary teeth (or “baby teeth”). Neglected cavities can lead to problems which affect the developing permanent teeth. Primary teeth are important for many reasons, including the following: proper chewing and eating, providing space for the permanent teeth and guiding them into the correct position, and permitting normal development of the jaw bones and muscles. Primary teeth also affect the development of speech and add to an attractive appearance. While the front teeth last until 6-8 years of age, the back teeth are not replaced until age 10-12 years of age.

When Will My Child’s Teeth Erupt?

Children’s teeth begin forming in the jaw structure prior to birth. As early as 4 months of age, the first primary teeth to erupt through the gums are usually the lower central incisors. Although all 20 primary teeth usually appear by age 3, the pace and order of their eruption often varies. Permanent teeth begin appearing around age 6, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors. By the age of 8 years, you can generally expect the bottom 4 front primary teeth (lower central and lateral incisors) and the top 4 front primary teeth (upper central and lateral incisors) to be gone and permanent teeth to have taken their place. There is then approximately a one to two year break before the rest of the permanent teeth will continue to come in. This process continues until approximately age 21 (including the wisdom teeth).

Adults have 28 permanent teeth, or up to 32 including the third molars (or wisdom teeth).

What’s The Best Toothpaste For My Child?

Tooth brushing is one of the most important tasks for good oral health. When looking for a toothpaste for your child, make sure to pick one that is recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) as shown on the container. These toothpastes have undergone testing to ensure they are safe to use. Children’s and adult’s toothpastes have the same amount of fluoride. If choosing to use an adult toothpaste, just be sure not to choose a whitening/bleaching kind.

Children usually cannot spit properly until the age of 6 years and for this reason there are specific recommendations for the amount of toothpaste used. For children under 3 years of age, it is recommended to use a fluoridated toothpaste in the amount of the size of a grain of rice. For children 3 years of age and older, it is recommended to use a fluoridated toothpaste in the amount of the size of a pea.

There is no need to rinse after tooth brushing, this allows the fluoride’s action of re-mineralizing the teeth to be maximized.

Does Your Child Grind His Teeth At Night? (Bruxism)

Parents are often concerned about the nocturnal grinding of teeth (bruxism). This is a very common occurrence and the majority of cases of pediatric bruxism do not require any treatment. The good news is that most children outgrow bruxism. The grinding usually stops once all of the permanent teeth have erupted.

Why Does My Child Suck His Thumb?

Sucking is a natural reflex and infants and young children may use their thumbs, fingers, pacifiers or other objects to suck. It may make them feel secure and happy, or provide a sense of security at difficult periods. Since thumb sucking is relaxing, it may induce sleep.

If your child has a sucking habit, we can evaluate any changes that are occurring to their bite and discuss any concerns you have and make our recommendations.

When Is The Best Time For Orthodontic Treatment?

Developing malocclusions, or bad bites, can often be recognized as early as 2-3 years of age. Early steps can be taken to reduce the need for major orthodontic treatment at a later age. We will evaluate your child’s bite at every exam and prepare you for what will be future recommended treatment.

At around age 7-8 yrs old, once all of the permanent front teeth and first permanent molars are in, some children show skeletal issues that would be best treated early since your child’s hard and soft tissues are still usually very responsive to orthodontic or orthopedic forces. If no skeletal issues are evident, then we will continue to monitor and then re-evaluate once all the primary teeth have come out (around 12-13 yrs old).

The great news is, we have an orthodontist in our office who will be ready to help your child when the time has come for treatment!

Why Are My Child’s Adult Teeth Coming in Behind His Baby Teeth?

This is a very common occurrence with children, usually the result of a lower, primary (baby) tooth not falling out when the permanent tooth is already coming in. In a lot of cases if the child starts wiggling the baby tooth, it will usually fall out on its own. If it doesn’t, then please contact us, and we can easily wiggle out the tooth. The permanent tooth should then slide into the proper place with the tongue naturally pushing it forward with talking and eating.


Adolescent Dentistry


Tongue Piercing – Is It Really Cool?

People with pierced tongues, lips or cheeks, might be surprised to know just how dangerous these piercings can be.

There are many risks involved with oral piercings, including chipped or cracked teeth, receding gums, infections and scar tissue. Your mouth contains millions of bacteria, and infection is a common complication of oral piercing. Your tongue could swell large enough to close off your airway!

Follow the advice of the American Dental Association and give your mouth a break – skip the mouth jewelry!

Tobacco – Bad News In Any Form?

Tobacco in any form can jeopardize your child’s health and cause incurable damage. Teach your child about the dangers of tobacco.

Smokeless tobacco, also called spit, chew or snuff, is often used by teens who believe that it is a safe alternative to smoking cigarettes. This is an unfortunate misconception. Studies show that spit tobacco may be more addictive than smoking cigarettes and may be more difficult to quit. Teens who use it may be interested to know that one can of snuff per day delivers as much nicotine as 60 cigarettes. In as little as three to four months, smokeless tobacco use can cause periodontal disease and produce pre-cancerous lesions called leukoplakias.

Help your child avoid tobacco in any form. By doing so, they will avoid bringing cancer-causing chemicals in direct contact with their tongue, gums and cheek. Please consult with our office if in need of assistance with tobacco cessation.