Frequently Asked Questions
When should I take my child to see the dentist?
The American Dental Association recommends that your child be seen by a dentist as soon as his/her first tooth erupts, but at least no later than the first birthday (JADA, Vol 133, Feb 2002).
Please take advantage of our free initial exam for children 18 months and under, and get your child on a path to a lifelong healthy and bright smile.
Why are primary (baby) teeth so important?
Primary teeth are important for: proper chewing and eating, providing space for the permanent teeth and guiding them into the correct position, permitting normal development of the jaw bones and muscles. Primary teeth also affect the development of speech, good appearance and self-esteem.
At Bright Star Kids Dentistry we strive to help your child stay cavity free and maintain healthy teeth and gums.
How do I prevent cavities?
Good oral hygiene, a healthy diet and regular visits to the dentist are the best ways to prevent decay. Brush daily as soon as the child’s first tooth erupts. For infants, use a wet gauze or clean washcloth to wipe the plaque (mixture of bacteria, milk and food debris) from teeth and gums. Avoid putting your child to bed with a bottle filled with anything other than water. Older children should at least brush their teeth twice and floss once a day. A pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste may be used after the child is old enough to avoid swallowing the tooth paste. It is important to use a small amount of toothpaste so that if your child does swallow it, they will not swallow too much. Swallowing too much fluoride toothpaste can cause white or yellow spots on your child’s teeth.
Healthy eating habits are essential to your children’s healthy teeth. Children should eat a variety of foods from the five major food groups. The majority of snacks that children tend to eat can lead to cavity formation. It’s best to choose nutritious foods such as fruits, raw vegetables, low-fat yogurt, nuts, nut butters and low-fat cheese which are healthier and better for children’s teeth. The more frequently a child snacks, the greater the risks for tooth decay. Please choose healthy snacks for your children and minimize the frequency of snacking.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends visits to the dentist at least once every six months for a professional exam and cleaning. Regular dental visits are essential for your child to maintain healthy teeth and gums.
What is “baby-bottle” tooth decay?
Tooth decay can occur as soon as a baby’s teeth appear. One of the risk factors for early childhood caries (sometimes called “baby bottle tooth decay”) is frequent and prolonged exposure of a baby’s teeth to liquids containing sugar, including milk, formula and fruit juice. Babies who go to bed with a bottle of milk, formula or juice are more likely to get tooth decay. Teeth can decay quickly because the sugar in formula, milk or juice stays in contact with them for a long time during the night.
Some tips to avoid baby-bottle tooth decay:
- Avoid putting the child to bed with a bottle of milk or juice, use plain water if needed
- Stop nursing when your child is asleep or has stopped sucking on the bottle
- Try not to let your child walk around with a bottle of milk or juice
- Start to teach your child to drink from a cup at about 6 months of age. Plan to stop using a bottle by 12 to 14 months at the latest
- Don’t dip your child’s pacifier in honey or sugar
What and how often your child should drink?
Do not let your child constantly sip liquids containing sugar (including milk and juice drinks), because that encourages tooth decay. Offer these liquids only at mealtimes. Saliva production increases during a meal and helps to neutralize acid production and rinse food particles from the mouth. If your child is thirsty between meals offer water in a cup. Once your child has learned how to sip, then the training cup has achieved its purpose and is no longer needed.
In case of a dental emergency, please call our office as soon possible at (303) 286-2679. We will always make time to see your child in an emergency or in a case of dental pain.
Our schedule may be delayed as we attend to an injured child. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience this may cause those that have a scheduled appointment. We know you’d want us to jump right in if it were your child, so we know you’ll understand.
What should I do if my child’s tooth is knocked out?
If your child knocks out a permanent tooth, the first hour is very critical to successful treatment. Gently rinse the tooth in running water but DO NOT rub the root or you may damage the delicate living cells on the root surface. If possible (for a permanent tooth), gently place the tooth back into its socket. Your child can keep it in place until treatment by biting down on a wet piece of clean gauze. If this is not possible, place the tooth in a glass of milk, not water, and contact the office immediately (303) 286-2679.
If the knocked-out tooth is a baby tooth, do not try to put it back in your child’s mouth. At Bright Star Kids Dentistry, we will not attempt to re-implant the baby tooth, as this may cause damage to the permanent tooth underneath.
What should I do if my child’s tooth is chipped or fractured?
If your child chips a tooth, rinse your child’s mouth out with warm water to clean out any debris or foreign matter. Apply cold compresses or ice wrapped in a clean cloth on the child’s cheek or gum near the affected area to keep any swelling down. Call our office immediately (303) 286-2679. Quick action can save the tooth, prevent infection and reduce the need for extensive dental treatment in the future.
What if my child has a toothache?
Call our office (303) 286-2679 and plan to visit promptly. Over-the-counter children’s pain medication, dosed according to your child’s weight and age, might ease the symptoms. You may apply a cold compress or ice wrapped in a clean cloth to the face in the area of the pain, but do not put heat or aspirin on the painful area.
What if my child has a severe blow to the head or jaw?
You need immediate medical attention…..call 911. A severe head injury can be life-threatening. Keep in mind that an emergency medical team might be able to reach you faster than you can get to the hospital.
What if my child has an infected or abscessed tooth?
Call our office (303) 286-2679 and plan to visit promptly. If the tooth is abscessed, you may see a small and well defined swelling or bump on the gums next to the tooth. Please be aware that the infection can spread to other parts of the body and can cause serious risk to your child’s over-all health. Please never delay needed treatment.
POST OPERATIVE (HOME CARE) INSTRUCTIONS
Home care Instructions after Local Anesthetic is used.
Be aware that most dental procedures (beyond cleanings and sealants) require the use of a local anesthetic.
If the procedure was in the upper or lower jaw… the tongue, teeth, lip and surrounding tissue will be numb or asleep for approximately 2 hours. Most young children do not understand the effects of local anesthesia, and may chew, scratch, suck, or play with the numb lip, tongue, or cheek. These actions can cause minor irritations or may be severe enough to cause swelling, bleeding and abrasions to the tissue. Please monitor your child closely for approximately two hours following treatment. We recommend that you keep your child on a liquid or soft diet until the anesthetic has completely worn off.
Home Care Instructions after an Extraction.
Bleeding: This may last 15-30 minutes after the tooth extraction. Fold one of the gauzes you were given, place it over the bleeding area, have your child bite down and apply pressure on the extraction site for a continuous 10-15 minutes. Be aware there is a difference between actual bleeding and slight oozing of blood, which may continue for a longer period.
Pain: It is not uncommon for some patients to have pain following a dental extraction. To help with the potential pain, the child may take an age/weight appropriate dose of pain medication (e.g., Tylenol, Advil, Motrin) before the numbness wears-off. When the numbness wears off, pain medication may be continued for the next 24 to 48 hours as needed.
Diet: It is recommended to have a soft/liquid diet for the first 6 to 12 hours after a dental extraction. Avoid drinking through straws as the process of sucking in liquid may cause further bleeding. Cold foods, i.e., popsicles, milk-shakes (remember, no straw) and crushed ice (allowed to melt in the mouth, not chewed), are helpful during the first 6 to 12 hours.
Oral Hygiene: Brush and floss as usual, except in the immediate extraction site for 3 days. Use a moistened gauze or clean washcloth to gently cleanse the extraction site.
Stitches/ Swelling/Healing: If stitches are placed, your child may need to return to have them removed. The office staff or dentist will inform you what needs to be done for stitches. Swelling after an extraction is not uncommon and should not cause alarm. If this occurs, apply an ice pack for 15 minutes on and 15 minutes off as needed in the 24 hours following the extraction. Antibiotics are rarely needed after the extraction even when the patient has had a pre-existing dental infection, unless if there are signs of spreading of the infection or a systemic infection. Typically healing is complete within 14 days.
Numbness: Your child’s cheek, lip and tongue may be numb for approximately 2 hours. Please be very careful that your child does not bite at his/her cheek or pick at this area. A self-inflicted bite injury is the most common post-op complication. Please monitor your child carefully.
Home Care Instructions after Placement of a Space Maintainer.
If your child losses a baby tooth early due to decay or injury, there is a risk that the adjacent teeth will drift into the vacant space. This may result in crowding of the permanent teeth or even prevent their proper eruption. A space maintainer is a device that is placed in your child’s mouth to prevent the adjacent teeth from drifting into the space of a prematurely lost baby tooth.
Diet: We recommend that your child avoid eating sticky and chewy food or snacks, e.g., taffy, hard candy, gummy bears and chewing gum. Our space maintainers are cemented with strong dental cement, however, they can be dislodged when sticky and chewy foods are eaten. We can replace a non-damaged space maintainer, but if damaged, it will need to be re-made at additional cost….generally not covered by insurance plans.
Oral hygiene: Space maintainers will catch extra food debris so your child will have to make an extra effort in brushing and flossing to maintain healthy gums and teeth.
Patient Cooperation: Do not move the appliance with the tongue, because it may loosen, and avoid picking at the wires or bands with fingers.
Patient Comfort: For a newly placed space maintainer there may be an initial accommodation period of a few days to a week. During this time there may be an initial difficulty in speech and the appliance’s presence may be noticed. Usually, after this time the space maintainer is hardly noticed.
Home Care Instructions after Placement of a Crown (Cup).
Oral hygiene: The gum tissue surrounding your child’s newly placed crown may be red, inflamed, bleed easily, and be sore. This is normal at this time and may persist for 7- 1 0 days after crown placement. For the first 72 hours after crown placement do not brush the crowned tooth with a tooth brush, but use a moistened clean washcloth or gauze with tooth paste to clean the crown surfaces 3 times a day. All the other teeth may be brushed as usual. After the first 72 hours the crowned teeth as well as other teeth are to be brushed at least twice and flossed once a day.
Diet: We recommend that your child avoids eating sticky and chewy food or snacks, e.g., taffy, chewing gum. Crowns are cemented with strong dental cement, however, they can be dislodged when sticky and chewy foods are eaten. We can replace a non-damaged crown, but if damaged, it will need to be replaced at additional cost….generally not covered by insurance plans.
Crown gets loose or falls off: If your child’s crown is loose or has come off, call the office immediately (303) 286- 2679). Many times a loose crown can be re-cemented, if your child is treated immediately. If your child’s crown falls off, store it in a plastic baggy and bring it with you. Delay in seeking treatment could lead to need for a new crown, decay, or loss of the tooth in case it gets infected.
Home Care Instructions after Placement of Fillings.
If local anesthesia was used please do not let your child eat until numbness is gone. We recommend that you keep your child on a liquid or soft diet until the anesthetic has completely worn off. Your child may experience some cold or heat sensitivity and some gum soreness. This usually subsides within a few days.
WHY DOES MY CHILD’S DENTIST SAY THAT?
At Bright Star Kids Dentistry we try to avoid words that scare the child. We invite you to get familiar with our vocabulary. Please be supportive of our efforts in making your child’s visit with us a great experience by not using negative words. Our goal is to send our young patients home with a beautiful bright, happy smile. Help us achieve this goal.
|Do Not Use:||Our Equivalent is|
|Needle/ Shot||Sleepy Juice|
|Drill on a tooth||Tickle or Wash the tooth|
|Pull/ Yank/ Extract||Wiggle the tooth|
|Rubber dam||Rain Coat|
|Nitrous Gas||Laughing Gas|
|Examination||Count the teeth|
|Tooth Cleaning||Brush the teeth|
|Fluoride||Vitamins for your teeth|