Below you will find frequently asked questions. If you don’t see your particular question, please feel free to give us a call!
Q. What are your office hours?
A. Growing Smiles Dental Care is open Monday through Thursday, 8:00 am-5:00 pm.
Please note that our office will be closed in observance of the following holidays:
New Year, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Friday after Thanksgiving, Christmas’ Eve and Christmas.
Q. When should a child have his/her first dental visit?
We, as well as The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association, recommend that a visit to the dentist should be scheduled by the child’s first birthday. By getting started at a young age, problems can be detected, treated early, or avoided completely. More importantly, it can help establish a positive relationship between your child and the dentist.
Q. What is the difference between pediatric dentistry and family dentistry?
Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. Pediatric dentistry is a specialty that focuses on the oral health of young people. Following dental school, a pediatric dentist has two to three additional years of training to focus solely on the unique needs of infants, children and adolescents, including those with special needs.
Q. What Will Happen During My Child’s First Visit?
The Pediatric Dentist will perform a comprehensive examination of your child’s teeth and mouth while checking for decay and any other abnormalities that may be present. Your child’s growth and development of the jaw, spacing for permanent teeth, proper alignment and occlusion (bite) will be evaluated as well. X-rays may be taken to look for hidden decay in between the teeth and to check on the proper development of the un-erupted permanent teeth. A preventative dental prophylaxis (cleaning) will be completed including a fluoride treatment. Dr. Tabares and her staff will advise you on a program of preventive health care including brushing, flossing, proper nutrition, and the use of fluoride. They will also go over information on growth and development, what you need to know about preventing injuries to the mouth and teeth and provide a cavity risk assessment.
Q. How often does my child need to visit the pediatric dentist?
We recommend that children come for a check-up every six months. However, this may vary depending on the child’s specific needs.
Q. What Do I Tell My Child About Seeing the Dentist?
It’s important to talk to your child in a positive manner about their first trip to the dentist. A visit to the dentist should be a delightful experience and Dr. Tabares and her staff do everything in their power to make it so! Most fear for children comes from fear of the unknown and a parent’s reassurance is invaluable. Feel free to let them know that the dentist is a friendly doctor who will help them take care of their teeth and teach them all about it!
Q. When will the first teeth appear?
The two lower front teeth (central incisors) usually begin to appear between 6 months and 8 months of age. This is usually followed by the upper central incisors. The remainder of the 20 baby teeth usually appear by two to three years of age. The baby teeth do not necessarily erupt in the orderly sequence of front to back.
Q. Baby teeth aren’t permanent. Why do they need special care?
Your child’s first teeth play an important role in his or her development. While they’re in place, these primary teeth help your little one speak, smile, and chew properly. They also hold space in the jaw for permanent teeth. If a child loses a tooth too early, the nearby teeth may encroach on that space, which can result in crooked or misplaced permanent teeth. Although they don’t last as long as permanent teeth, baby teeth affect your child’s oral health, which then affects your child’s general health.
Q. What can I do if the gums seem sore while my child is teething?
Sore gums are, unfortunately, a normal part of teething. To ease the discomfort, you may give the child a frozen washcloth or a frozen teething ring. If your child seems to be in extreme discomfort, you may give an appropriate dose of children’s acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Avoid rubbing topical numbing agents on the gums.
Q. How can I care for my infant’s gums and first teeth?
For an infant, a damp washcloth or a small wipe can be used to clean the gum tissue. This will also allow the child to become accustomed to the daily regimen. Once the child has teeth, a toothbrush with soft bristles, a small head, and larger handle is the best choice. Brushing is recommended twice daily to remove plaque that can lead to decay.
Q. When should I start using toothpaste and how much should I use?
A child can start using toothpaste as soon as the first teeth appear. Fluoridated toothpaste can be safely used with the guidance for recommended dosage from the Pediatric Dentist.
Q. What are cavities and how do they form?
Cavities form when the mouth is acidic. Four things are necessary for a cavity to form—surface (the tooth), bacteria, carbohydrate (sugar) and time. Plaque is a thin deposit of bacteria that forms on people’s teeth. When people eat and then do not clean the teeth, the sugars in the food cause the bacteria in the plaque to produce acid and attack the tooth enamel. Over time, the enamel breaks down and a cavity is formed. The speed of this process and the resulting cavities is different for everyone.
Q. As a parent, what can I do to help my in child with oral health care?
Parents play a major role in preventing cavities for children by guiding them through an excellent oral hygiene regimen, providing a healthy diet with lots of water and scheduling their regular dental check-ups. Parents can also help by providing an example of consistent and effective brushing and flossing themselves at home.
Q. What are dental sealants and why should my child get them?
Sealants are a clear or slightly shaded resin coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to help keep them cavity free. Sealants fill in the grooves and pits of the back teeth where it can be difficult to brush. Along with good oral hygiene, sealants can effectively protect your child’s teeth for many years, and they are fast and easy to apply.
Q. What is nitrous oxide and is it safe?
Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is the gas we administer in order to calm our patients and help them keep still. It is the safest form of sedation; the child will breathe the nitrous, along with oxygen, and it will not stay in our patients’ systems once they leave the office.
Q. Are dental x-rays safe for children?
With contemporary safeguards, such as lead aprons and high speed film, the amount of radiation received in a dental x-ray is extremely small. While the risk is very small, pediatric dentists are particularly careful to limit the amount of radiation to which the children are exposed by prescribing radiographs base on your child’s individual needs. Dental x-rays represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem.
Q. What is baby bottle tooth decay (early childhood caries)?
Baby bottle tooth decay, now known as early childhood caries, is a pattern of rapid decay associated with prolonged, on demand nursing or letting the child fall asleep with the bottle. During sleep, the flow of saliva is reduced, and the natural self-cleansing action of the mouth is diminished. Sugars from the milk left on the teeth from nursing or bottle feeding to sleep can cause this kind of decay.
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. The goal is to have your child weaned off the bottle by 12 months of age.
Q. “Is it OK that my child is a thumbsucker?”
Thumb sucking habits that go on for a long period of time can create crowded, crooked teeth or bite problems. The goal is to try to end the thumb sucking by the age of 4 to be sure the habit is long gone by the time the permanent teeth arrive. Most children stop these habits on their own, but the Pediatric Dentist will review with you, ways to help your child quit.
Q. My child plays sports. How should I protect my child’s teeth?
A mouth guard should be a top priority on your child’s list of sports equipment. Athletic mouth protectors, or mouth guards, are made of soft plastic and fit comfortably to the shape of the upper teeth. They protect a child’s teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sports-related injuries. Any mouth guard works better than no mouth guard, but a custom-fitted mouth guard fitted by our doctor is your child’s best protection against sports-related injuries.
Fillings, Crowns, and Nerve Treatments
Spitting should be avoided.
Please contact your dentist immediately if your child experiences prolonged fevers, vomiting, and/or facial swelling at 813.591.1568