- When to bring your child to the dentist
- Is fluoride necessary?
- How much toothpaste should I be using?
- Which brands do you recommend?
- In-office Whitening?
- Emergency Patients
- Why are my teeth sensitive?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends children be seen by the eruption of their first tooth or their first birthday. We like for children to become accustomed to the dental setting at an early age. On their first visit, we seat them in the dental chair and show them the instruments used. Our goal during this appointment is to have them smile and open their mouths for us so we are able to see their teeth. If they are cooperative, we will go ahead and do a complete prophy/cleaning with the polishing paste.
Fluoride has been recognized as one of the greatest public health measures of our time. It is found in most drinking water and many toothpastes. Fluoride is wonderful in that it helps fight tooth decay and makes teeth stronger. During the day your teeth are continually demineralizing (breaking down) and remineralizing (building back up). This occurs because you have bacteria in your mouth that breaks food particles down into sugar and acid. This acid eats the tooth structure. Fluoride helps in the remineralizing process, along with calcium and phosphate, to strengthen the teeth and prevent decay. Children younger than 6 years old need to have the amount of fluoride used monitored to prevent fluorosis, which can cause teeth to mottle or brown if too much fluoride is used. For more questions on the proper type and amount of toothpaste to use, please see the question below.
The amount used depends on your age and the development of your teeth. For babies, a smear layer of fluoridated toothpaste should be applied to a soft, small toothbrush twice a day. For children ages 3-6, a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste should be used. As soon as a child is able to understand, spitting out the toothpaste instead of swallowing it should be practiced. Understand that it may take a few years for a child to learn this skill. Parents or caregivers should aid children in brushing their teeth at least until they can tie their own shoelaces, as it takes a lot of manual dexterity to properly brush one’s teeth. For children over 6 years old, the entire toothbrush can be coated in fluoridated toothpaste because the adult teeth are fully formed and are no longer prone to fluoridosis or mottled teeth from too much fluoride.
We recommend any toothpaste that has the ADA seal of approval on the front. This indicates that the toothpaste has the correct amount of fluoride to protect your teeth and has been FDA approved. We advise toothpaste that is non-abrasive. To check on the abrasiveness of toothpaste, you can do a web search for the Relative Dentin Abrasiveness (RDA) or ask us for a copy of our toothpaste chart at your next visit. Toothpastes that are ADA approved have an abrasion measurement number that is 250 or less. The lower the RDA number the better. Whitening toothpaste and gritty toothpaste are more abrasive.
Our office does do in-office bleaching.
In-office bleaching usually takes an hour, using a very strong concentration of carbamide peroxide and hydrogen peroxide. It involves isolating the teeth with cotton rolls and a specific gel to protect the tissues. The teeth are dried and the concentration is applied. The gel remains on the teeth for 15-minute increments and is reapplied up to 4 times. Patients are instructed to have bleaching trays fabricated following this appointment to maintain their new tooth shade. If you have a history of sensitive teeth, in-office bleaching may not be the best option for you.
If you have a dental emergency and are a patient of record, we make every effort to see you immediately. A dental emergency might entail pain, swelling, or a fever. Our patients make our practice very special, and we want to make sure everyone is cared for.
Tooth sensitivity can be from many different causes, including root surface exposure or recession, cracked teeth, teeth with microfractures, large decay, erosion, attrition, or parafunctional habits such as grinding and clenching. Diagnosing the cause of the sensitivity is the first step in treating it. For someone who has root exposure, changing your toothpaste to one with potassium nitrate can be a great solution. Both Sensodyne and Colgate Pro-enamel contain this ingredient.