Dentistry for Children FAQ
Our pediatric dental office in Edinburg, TX, provides specialized dentistry for children and adolescents in a caring, warm, and child-friendly environment. Did you know that as pediatric dentists, we have an additional 2 to 3 years of training after dental school? This prepares us to work with kids and address their unique dental needs with compassion and expertise.
Here at Gigglesville Pediatric Dentistry, our focus is on preventative care to ensure your child grows up with a healthy smile that will last a lifetime. We welcome children of all ages, teens, and kids with special needs. If you are looking to learn more about dentistry for children in Edinburg, TX, we are happy to answer your questions. Keep reading to learn more, or give us a call today.
How Do I Care For My Child’s Teeth?
Healthy teeth are essential to your child’s overall development and health. Your child’s primary teeth (baby teeth) help them eat and digest food, help their permanent teeth erupt correctly, and help them to speak properly. Teeth also play a role in the structure of your child’s face.
Our pediatric dentist recommends these few tips on how to care for your child’s teeth:
- Help your child floss daily.
- Ensure your child brushes their teeth twice daily. You should also make sure they are brushing properly, and for two minutes (if they have most of their primary or adult teeth).
- Bring your child to our office for regular cleanings and checkups.
- Ask your pediatric dentist about preventative care.
- Help encourage your child to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet.
- Ensure your child wears a mouth guard if they play sports
When Should I Take My Child to the Dentist For the First Time?
To prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth erupts, which is usually between 6 and 12 months of age. Your child’s first visit should be no later than your child’s first birthday. If you’d like to learn more about what you can expect at your first visit with us, check out our First Visit Page here.
Why Should My Child See a Pediatric Dentist Instead of Our Regular Family Dentist?
A child’s mouth differs greatly from an adult’s, which is why the specialized field of pediatric dentistry exists in the first place. As pediatric dentists, we have an additional 2 to 3 years of training in dentistry for children in Edinburg, TX. Our field specializes in the oral health of adolescents. Our education and experience prepare us for the unique needs of infants, children, and adolescents, including those who have special health needs. Meet our team here!
What Is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay & How Can I Prevent It?
Baby teeth that come in contact with too many sugars can suffer from “baby bottle tooth decay.” Sugar is a food source for bacteria in the mouth; when these bacteria feed on those sugars, it produces acid as a waste product. This acid then attacks the enamel of the teeth, causing tooth decay.
You can find sugar in:
- infant formula
Sugar is especially prone to building up on the teeth when the infant falls asleep with a bottle or when they use bottles or sippy cups for an extended period of time. This puts the child at higher risk for fast-acting tooth decay. During their sleep, the flow of saliva is reduced, and the natural cleansing action of the mouth is diminished.
Avoid nursing your child to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bedtime bottle. You can encourage your child to drink from a cup before they approach their first birthday, and they should be weaned from the bottle at 12 to 14 months of age.
Can Thumb-Sucking Harm My Child’s Teeth?
If the thumb and pacifier sucking habits continue for a long period of time, it can lead to bite problems or crooked teeth. If your child is still sucking their thumb or fingers when their permanent teeth arrive, they may be required to use a mouth appliance recommended by your dentist. Your child must stop these habits on their own, and you can encourage them to do so.
When Should My Child Start Using Toothpaste?
When your baby’s teeth are first coming in, you can gently use a soft, clean cloth or your finger and water to clean their gums. When their teeth erupt, you can use just a small smear of baby toothpaste and a very soft toothbrush. When children reach age three, parents are advised to supervise their child’s brushing and make sure to use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. It is also important that your child does not swallow excess toothpaste.
How Do I Prevent My Child From Getting Cavities?
Cavities can be the result of poor oral hygiene or a diet high in sugary foods. When your child doesn’t floss or brush well enough, the bacteria in their mouth feed on the sugars and carbohydrates that are left behind on their teeth; this develops into plaque and eventually tartar.
If it is not removed, plaque causes periodontal disease, decay, cavities, and other oral health issues. Your child might experience sensitivity to temperatures, like in hot or cold foods and drinks, discomfort, and pain as a result of tooth decay. If they experience any of these symptoms, it is important that they see our pediatric dentist as soon as possible to ensure there is no persistent decay that could spread.
You can help your child prevent tooth decay by the following practices:
- Floss and brush daily
- Make sure your child uses fluoridated toothpaste.
- Ensure your child keeps going for regular dental cleanings and checkups, as preventative care is essential for healthy teeth and gums
- Have your child use an antibacterial mouth wash
- Ask your dentist about fluoride and dental sealants, which benefit tooth strengthening and prevent cavities.
- Minimize your child’s intake of starchy and sugary foods (be sure to look out for hidden sugars in things like juices and yogurts)
- If your child chews gum, choose the gum with xylitol as it reduces bacterial growth and strengthens teeth.
When Does My Child Require Orthodontic Screening?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children receive their first orthodontic screening by age 7. Your child’s teeth should be developed enough that any issues will be apparent, and your orthodontist will be able to decide whether treatment is required and when it should begin.
Early evaluation and treatment are beneficial in detecting and correcting problems before they become more serious and affect your child’s oral health in the future.
Your dentist here at Gigglesville Pediatric Dentistry will check your child’s teeth and mouth to make sure they are developing and growing properly. This may include X-rays as well as the performance of regular dental examinations.
If we think your child should meet with an orthodontist, we will refer you accordingly to meet with a trusted specialist so that your child receives their screening to find out if orthodontic treatment is required.
How Your Child’s Diet Affects the Health of Their Teeth
Your child’s diet and nutrition have an impact on their oral and overall health. If your child ingests too much sugar, it can increase their risk of cavities. Poor nutrition increases their risk of developing damaging dental conditions such as gum disease and defects in their tooth enamel.
Many nutrients work to keep your child’s teeth and mouth healthier. Vitamin A and B help aid in tooth formation and help keep the teeth, gums, and tongue functioning correctly.
Here are a few ways to ensure your child maintains a nutritious and balanced diet:
- Limit sugary foods and drinks
- Read food labels to check for hidden sugar.
- Ensure your child eats enough fresh vegetables and fruit
- Encourage them to drink more water.
- Provide them with foods high in phosphorous and calcium
- Ensure your child brushes and flosses their teeth after each meal, especially after sticky foods that may stick to and in between their teeth.
Start Your Child’s Smile Journey Today!
If you want to learn more about our pediatric dentistry services for your child, give us a call or schedule a consultation today! Our friendly staff will happily assist you.
We look forward to meeting you and starting your smile journey together!
Gigglesville Pediatric Dentistry proudly serves the Edinburg, TX community and the surrounding cities of McAllen, Mission, and Pharr, TX.