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Dental FAQs For Kids

Smiling boy with missing tooth, in Arlington, WA. We know that you probably have a lot of questions about your child's teeth — when will they come in, when will they fall out, when should they see the dentist, how to brush them, and so many more. Being a new parent can sometimes result in information overload, especially when it comes to your child's health and dental care. Fortunately, you do not have to navigate the process of caring for your child's teeth alone. Here are a few of the questions — and answers — that our pediatric dentistry office here at Arlington Pediatric Dentistry is asked all of the time.

When Should My Child First See the Dentist?

Our dentists at Arlington Pediatric Dentistry are experienced in providing dentistry for kids. Children should first visit the dentist when they are a year old. During this visit, we will examine the development of teeth and do a cleaning. Around six years old your child's baby teeth will fall out and their permanent teeth will grow in. Practicing proper dental health during childhood is a form of preventative dentistry. By teaching proper dental hygiene, your child's teeth can be properly maintained for the remainder of their lives.

How Often Should My Child See the Dentist?

Regular dental exams will help you know the state of your child's teeth and how to care for them properly. By bringing your child to have their teeth examined every six months, your child's individual needs can be planned for as they grow their teeth. During childhood growth, dental complications are far more likely than when they become adults.

When Should I Start Brushing My Child's Teeth?

You should start brushing your child's teeth as soon as the first one pops up, which is usually around six months of age. Doing so prevents any plaque from accumulating and keeps your child's mouth healthy and clean. An infant toothpaste is most appropriate at this stage in your child's life. Infant toothpaste is available in dozens of different mild flavors that can make brushing much more enjoyable for your little one.

How Often Should My Child Brush?

Your child should brush their teeth two times per day for two minutes per session. This helps keep plaque, tartar, and cavities away. We do suggest children and teens with deep grooves in their molar teeth get dental sealants to help protect against cavities.

What Toothbrush Should My Child Use?

The appropriate toothbrush for your child will vary based on their age. Infants and toddlers should have a brush that has a small head and soft bristles. It should also have a large handle to eliminate the risk of choking.
Slightly older children can help pick their toothbrushes. Allowing your child to pick a brush with their favorite cartoon character can go a long way in making brushing fun.

Should My Child Use Fluoride Toothpaste?

While fluoride toothpaste is appropriate for some children, it is not right for everyone. Our team will discuss this with you in detail during your visit. Fluoride toothpaste is generally not appropriate for infants as they will swallow their paste and the fluoride with it.
With that said, you should make sure you are using age-appropriate toothpaste for your child. Tubes of toothpaste will be labeled with phrases such as "3 and up" or "infant" to let you know if it is suitable for your child. You should also keep an eye out for a label that says if the toothpaste is certified by the American Dental Association.

Will My Child Need Braces?

When your child practices excessive thumb sucking during their toddler stage it will cause your child's permanent teeth to become misaligned. Persistent thumb sucking can shape the roof of their mouth, affect the formation of their jaw, and cause an overbite to form. Overbites are formed when the upper front teeth protrude from the jaw. Overbites and underbites are also caused by having too much or too little room in the jaw for all of the teeth. When teeth are not properly aligned, then the top or bottom set will begin to creep over the other.

While your child is visiting a pediatric dentist they may also be recommended for orthodontic treatments. Misaligned teeth are common and if it does not cause problems with your child's health, they do not need to receive orthodontic treatment. If it is recommended by our dentist, your child's first visit to the orthodontist should occur when they are eight years old. If your child has space and misalignment problems because of jaw size, growth of wisdom teeth, or just genetics, it can be solved with orthodontic practices.

What if My Child is Afraid to Go to the Dentist?

To ease your child's mind about visiting the dentist you can try a few education methods beforehand. Introducing your child to our pediatric dentist at a young age will prevent anxiety about these visits for the remainder of their lives. Use positive language when you talk about visiting the dentist and open up about your experience - this will help your child enjoy their visit.

Be sure to let your child know that the dentist is a safe place and visits are important to good health. Knowledge of what might happen will make your child less nervous. Dental practices are a good opportunity for children to exercise their independence and feel proud of themselves. When your child knows they will be taken care of and rewarded for taking care of themselves they will enjoy their time at the dentist.

What if Your Child Has a Pediatric Emergency?

If your child has a pediatric emergency the best thing you can do is stay calm. Most emergencies are toothaches, and many toothaches go away on their own in about 30 minutes. Sometimes they can last longer, and when this happens, or if your child is reporting extreme discomfort, then you should call us so we can advise you on the best course of action.

Still Have Questions?

Taking your child to the dentist for the first time can be a bit overwhelming. You will probably be overloaded with questions regarding how best to care for your child's teeth. While our professionals at Arlington Pediatric Dentistry do an excellent job of answering these questions, there is still a chance that you may remember something after your visit is over or want to know some information beforehand. To get answers to all of your questions or to schedule an appointment, call 360-657-1650.
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