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Common Questions

Pediatric Dental Questions
General Anesthesia/ Hospital

What is a pediatric dentist?

Oral/Conscious Sedation

A pediatric dentist has an extra two to three years of specialized training in addition to the normal four years of dental education. The very young, pre-teens, and teenagers all need different approaches in dealing with their behavior, monitoring their dental growth and development, and helping them avoid future dental problems. The pediatric dentist is best qualified to meet these needs.

When should my child be seen by a pediatric dentist?

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, your child should visit a pediatric dentist when his or her first teeth erupt on the lower front (around age 6 months).

When does the first tooth erupt and where?

Teething, the process of baby (primary) teeth coming through the gums into the mouth, is variable among individual babies. Some babies get their teeth early and some get them late. In general the first baby teeth are usually the lower front (anterior) teeth and usually begin erupting between the ages of four to eight months.

How will my child react to teething?

Because your child’s teeth will be going through bone and gum tissue at a very slow rate; irritability, crying and drooling will be a common occurrence.

How do I brush and what toothpaste should I use?

During the early months while the first teeth erupt, 4 on the top front and 4 on the bottom front, you can use a strip of cloth with a touch of non-fluoridated toothpaste to wipe off plaque 2 times a day in the morning and at night. When the molars in the back start to erupt you can move to a finger brush or a very soft tooth brush (run in warm water to soften bristles) and use the same toothpaste until your child begins to show complete removal of toothpaste from the mouth. Once you are sure your child is removing all of the toothpaste (spitting out) then you can begin to use fluoridated toothpaste. Use only a half of a pea size toothpaste amount.

What kinds of foods cause tooth decay? And why do they form?

In general any foods that contain sucrose (sugar) will cause tooth decay. Some unexpected foods include chocolate/strawberry milk, juices, fruit snacks, kids and adult cereal. Tooth decay is the result of chronic acid attack which is a byproduct of sucrose digestion by the bacteria that live on our teeth.

What is the best way to care for my child’s teeth?

Brush 2 times a day once in the morning and once at night. Floss at least 2 times a week with waxed floss. If your child has a snack before bedtime make sure he or she brushes again. Do not send your child to bed with any substance other than pure water if a bottle is necessary. (Watered down juice is just as harmful as regular juice!)

How will my child feel/react after treatment?

What is conscious sedation and who should be sedated?

Conscious sedation is a way of using medication to relax a child without the loss of consciousness. Children with severe anxiety and/or the inability to relax are candidates for sedation.

Why utilize conscious sedation?

Conscious sedation aids in calming a child so that he/she can accept dental treatment in a more relaxed state. This can help prevent injury to the patient and provide a better environment for treatment.

What medications are used?  Is sedation safe?

Many different agents can be used for conscious sedation from inhalation agents to medications provided orally or by injection. None of these sedatives render the child unconscious but sedate your child enough to receive treatment under safe and comfortable conditions. Your pediatric dentist will discuss sedation recommendations and options with you. 

What special instructions should I follow before the sedation appointment?

To alleviate potential anxiety, your pediatric dentist may recommend minimal discussion of the dental appointment with your child. Should your child become ill, contact your pediatric dentist. It may be necessary to post pone the appointment. It is important not to have a meal before a sedation appointment. Your pediatric dentist will inform you about food and fluid intake guidelines prior to the sedation appointment.

What special instructions should I follow after the sedation appointment?

Children who have been sedated are usually requested to return home for the remainder of the day with appropriate supervision. Your pediatric dentist will discuss post-sedation instructions with you, including appropriate diet, physical activity, and requested supervision.

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