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Dental Office

For Caregivers

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Welcome to Durham Kids Dentistry! Here is some important information about our practice and your child’s dental health.

Pacifier Use and Thumbsucking

Sucking is a natural reflex that all babies are born with. Your baby may suck on their fingers, thumbs, pacifier or any other object. Sucking gives babies a feeling of security and happiness and it helps soothe and relax them.

Most kids stop using a pacifier or sucking their thumb on their own with some encouragement. Sucking should be discouraged after 3 years of age as prolonged sucking habits can create bite problems and crooked teeth.

Many parents wonder if they should give their baby a pacifier so they won’t suck their thumb. Both can affect the teeth in the same way. HOWEVER, the use of pacifiers can be controlled so it’s a much easier task to take away a pacifier from a child than to get them to stop sucking their thumb.

If you are having difficulty helping your child break this habit, you can try some of the following:

  • Reward them when they aren't sucking
  • If they are sucking for comfort, try to substitute their need for comfort with a hug or a stuffed animal.
  • If they are feeling anxious or insecure work on the underlying cause of this anxiety.
  • Consider bandaging their thumb or putting a sock on it at night.
  • Make an appointment and have someone from our team explain to them what will happen if they continue sucking.
  • Your dentist may recommend a mouth appliance to help them kick the habit!

Bottles and Sippy Cups

Breastfeeding, bottle feeding, and sippy cups are all part of raising a healthy baby. However, you need to be careful they don’t cause cavities. Cavities can be caused when your baby’s teeth are frequently exposed to liquids that contain sugar, especially if it’s for a long period of time. Since breast milk, formula, milk and juice all contain sugar, clean your baby's mouth with a wet washcloth after feeding. Also try to avoid giving your baby a bottle at nighttime.

What Toothpaste should I use?

There are a lot of toothpastes out there, so which one is the best for your child? While we don't recommend a particular brand, we do recommend toothpastes that contain fluoride. Research shows that brushing with a fluoride toothpaste reduces tooth decay by more than 50%.

Grinding Teeth

Teeth grinding (bruxism) is mostly a harmless habit and doesn’t require any treatment. What causes kids to grind? No one really knows! There are several theories including stress in their lives (ie parental divorce, change at school, etc) or pressure changes in their ear.

Most children grow out of grinding. Between 6-9 years of age the grinding decreases and by 12 (or once a child loses all their baby teeth), children usually stop. In rare cases, this habit may continue into the teen years. If this occurs, or if there is excessive wear and tear on the teeth, a mouth guard may be required.

How to brush your kid’s teeth

Before your infant has any teeth, you can simply wipe their gums with a soft cloth at bath time. Many babies love this because they like sucking the water off the cloth. It is important to start early as it helps prepare your baby for having their teeth brushed.

When your child's teeth breakthrough, it’s time to start brushing with a toothbrush! We have toothbrushes available for all ages, so you are always welcome to come in and we will happily provide you with one. You are also welcome to make an appointment if you would like a hands-on demonstration of how to brush your child's teeth.

Toothpaste is not important initially, the important thing is to get your child brushing! When a child is not able to spit, the toothpaste you will choose will be one WITHOUT fluoride. When your child is able to spit and you are confident they will not swallow the toothpaste, you can choose a toothpaste with fluoride. A pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste can be used when you help your child brush their teeth twice a day.

When we brush, we are aiming to remove plaque from all surfaces of our teeth (inner, outer and chewing). The proper brushing technique involves placing the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle along all these surfaces. Consider using a soft, circular motion. You can complete the brushing by doing the tongue to help freshen their breath!

What’s the difference between a pediatric dentist and a general dentist?

In the same way that pediatricians are trained specifically to meet a child's medical needs, a pediatric dentist is uniquely qualified and trained to care for your child's oral health care. Pediatric dentists such as Dr. Evan receive specialized training to meet the unique needs of infants, children, and teenagers.

Why are baby teeth important?

Baby teeth (primary teeth) are important because they help with chewing and speech development and are integral to your child's beautiful smile. A child who can chew easily, speak clearly and smile confidently is a happier child. Health baby teeth help allow for the normal development of the jaw bones and muscles. Additionally, they act as place holders for the permanent teeth. While the front 4 teeth last until 6-7 years of age, the back teeth aren't replaced until age 10-13.

My child is nervous about going to the dentist. How can I help them?

It’s important to try and refrain from displaying any fear or anxiety in front of your child. They will look to you for reassurance.

While in the waiting room, kids get to acclimatize by playing with various toys, watching movies and even playing with our life-size tree! Dr. Evan greets many kids in the waiting room and plays with them so they’ll be comfortable with him. This helps build trust before they enter the treatment room.

Our team uses an array of various behaviour guidance techniques to ensure your child has a non-threatening visit to the dentist! Some of the techniques offered include: tell-show-do, distraction, positive reinforcement, local anesthesia, laughing gas (nitrous oxide), oral sedation and general anesthesia.

We will gladly work with you to help determine what is in the best interest of your child and to use the approach that will make your child's dental treatment as safe and comfortable as possible.

Can I stay with my child during their visit?

Absolutely! We love our parents to fully understand and know exactly what treatment your child is having. Additionally, your child may want you there for support. On occasion, your child may need some physical reassurance such as hand-holding or hugging during treatment. This may help to relieve their anxiety.

Do you see children with special needs?

Absolutely! We provide care for children with various physical, developmental, cognitive, sensory, behavioural and emotional concerns.

When will my baby get their first teeth?

This is different for every baby. Typically, babies begin getting their teeth between 6-8 months of age. The first baby teeth to make an appearance are usually the lower front teeth.

When should my baby start using toothpaste?

You can begin using fluoridated toothpaste once your child can spit reliably Before then, you can help your child learn the skill by using "training toothpaste," which is toothpaste without fluoride (this avoids you having to be concerned if they swallow anything). When you are using toothpaste, use no more than a pea-sized amount on the brush.

How can I prevent my child from getting cavities?

Cavities are caused by bacteria. Good oral health care helps to remove bacteria and the leftover food that combine to create cavities. Establishing great brushing habits is one way to help prevent cavities. As your child starts eating snack foods, it is important to limit the number of snacks containing sugar.

Additionally, regular visits to the dentist are helpful in preventing cavities. Our team may recommend protective dental sealants or fluoride treatments for your child depending on several risk factors. These treatments can help prevent cavities as well.

Are X rays necessary for baby teeth?

Yes. X-rays help diagnose cavities and dental anomalies and oral pathology and allow us to see teeth before they come into the mouth. Our low energy digital X-rays only expose your child to a tiny amount of radiation.