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For Our Parents

Below, please find information to help you with your upcoming appointment. We look forward to seeing you, and if you have any additional questions, please let us know by filling out our contact us form.

Normally the first tooth erupts between ages 6 to 12 months. Gums are sore, tender and sometimes irritable until the age of 3. Rubbing sore gums gently with a clean finger, the back of a cold spoon or a cold, wet cloth helps soothe the gums. Teething rings work well, but avoid teething biscuits as they contain sugar that is not good for baby teeth.

While your baby is teething, it is important to monitor the teeth for signs of baby bottle decay. Examine the teeth, especially on the inside or the tongue side, every two weeks for dull spots (whiter than the tooth surface) or lines. A bottle containing anything other than water and left in an infant’s mouth while sleeping can cause decay. This happens because sugar in the liquid mixes with bacteria in dental plaque, forming acids that attack the tooth enamel. Each time a child drinks liquids containing sugar, acids attack the teeth for about 20 minutes. When awake, saliva carries away the liquid. During sleep, the saliva flow significantly decreases and liquids pool around the child’s teeth for long periods, covering the teeth in acids.

The primary, or “baby teeth” play a crucial role in dental development. Without them, a child cannot chew food properly and has difficulty speaking clearly. Primary teeth are vital to development of the jaws and for guiding the permanent (secondary) teeth into place when they replace the primary teeth around age 6.

Since primary teeth guide the permanent teeth into place, infants with missing primary teeth or infants who prematurely lose primary teeth may require a space maintainer, a device used to hold the natural space open. Without a maintainer, the teeth can tilt toward the empty space and cause permanent teeth to come in crooked. Missing teeth should always be mentioned to your family dentist. The way your child cares for his/her primary teeth plays a critical role in how he/she treats the permanent teeth. Children and adults are equally susceptible to plaque and gum problems hence, the need for regular care and dental checkups.

A child’s first dental visit should be scheduled around their first birthday. The most important part of the visit is getting to know and becoming comfortable with a doctor and his staff. A pleasant, comfortable first visit builds trust and helps put the child at ease during future dental visits. If possible, allow the child to sit in a parent’s lap in the exam room. Children should be encouraged to discuss any fears or anxiety they feel.

Primary teeth are important for several reasons. Foremost, good teeth allow a child to eat and maintain good nutrition. Healthy teeth allow for clear pronunciation and speech habits. The self-image that healthy teeth give a child is immeasurable. Primary teeth also guide eruption of the permanent teeth.

The teeth, bones and soft tissue of the mouth require a healthy, well-balanced diet. A variety of foods from the five food groups helps minimize (and avoid) cavities and other dental problems. Most snacks that children eat cause cavities, so children should only receive healthy foods like vegetables, low-fat yogurt and cheeses, which promote strong teeth.

A child’s teeth actually start forming before birth. As early as 4 months of age, the primary or “baby” teeth push through the gums; the lower central incisors are first, then the upper central incisors. The remainder of the 20 primary teeth typically erupt by age 3, but the place and order varies.

Permanent teeth begin eruption around age 6, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors. This process continues until around age 21. Adults have 28 secondary (permanent) teeth including the third molars (wisdom teeth).
Tooth decay in infants can be minimized or totally prevented by not allowing sleeping infants to breast or bottle-feed. Infants that need a bottle to comfortably fall asleep should be given a water-filled bottle or a pacifier. Our office is dedicated to fighting baby bottle tooth decay. Let us know if you notice any signs of decay or anything unusual in your child’s mouth.

Our practice can provide a wide range of dental services for your children. Our flexibility in our services saves you time and keeps your total dental care within one practice. Our emphasis is on total preventive care for our patients. Total care begins with regular hygiene visits, regular check-ups and continued home oral health routines.

We provide many preventative measures to keep your child’s teeth clean and healthy, including sealants and fluoride treatments. We also educate the parents in early detection of some common problems children may face, including thumb sucking, bruxism and baby bottle tooth decay.

Our primary goal for your children’s dental development is to achieve and maintain optimum oral health through advances in techniques, technologies and by maintaining their scheduled dental exams.


Dental caries, also known as cavities, can be caused by sugary and/or acidic foods and drinks in your child’s diet. Bacteria in the mouth consume sugar and produce acids as waste, which in turn causes weakened areas in the enamel. If these weakened areas progress, a hole, or cavity, results.

  • Cavities can occur on the chewing surface or along the gumline of the teeth, and these areas are visible to the naked eye.  This type of cavity is usually caused by sugary, starchy snacks such as cookies, crackers, chips, or sometimes through poor brushing habits.  
  • Cavities may also occur between teeth, and these areas are only visualized through cavity detecting x-rays, or bitewing x-rays. This type of cavity is frequently caused by drinks other than white milk and plain water, or by sticky, sour candies.  Our doctors prescribe these x-rays when back baby teeth are touching, and the child can follow directions to obtain them safely.

When your teeth and gums are constantly exposed to large amounts of starches and sugars, acids may form that begin to eat away at tooth enamel. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as candy, cookies, soft drinks, and even fruit juices leave deposits on your teeth. Those deposits bond with the bacteria that normally survive in your mouth and form plaque. The combination of deposits and plaque forms acids that can damage the mineral structure of teeth, with tooth decay resulting.

Your teeth expand and contract in reaction to changes in temperature. Hot and cold food and beverages can cause pain or irritation to people with sensitive teeth. Over time, tooth enamel can be worn down, gums may recede or teeth may develop microscopic cracks, exposing the interior of the tooth and irritating nerve endings. Just breathing cold air can be painful for those with extremely sensitive teeth.


These result if a tooth with a cavity is left untreated for a period of time.  Abscessed baby teeth are those which become infected and can no longer be saved by a restoration.  These teeth require extraction.  Without removal, abscessed teeth have the potential to cause facial cellulitis, a life-threatening infection that results in a swollen face and often requires hospital admission for treatment of IV antibiotics.


Gum or periodontal disease can cause inflammation, tooth loss, and bone damage. Gum disease begins with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. Gums in the early stage of disease, or gingivitis, can bleed easily and become red and swollen. As the disease progresses to periodontitis, teeth may fall out or need to be removed by a dentist. Gum disease is highly preventable and can usually be avoided by daily brushing and flossing. One indicator of gum disease is consistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth.

Canker sores (aphthous ulcers) are small sores inside the mouth that often recur. Generally lasting one or two weeks, the duration of canker sores can be reduced by the use of antimicrobial mouthwashes or topical agents. The canker sore has a white or gray base surrounded by a red border.


A bite that does not meet properly (a malocclusion) can be inherited, or some types may be acquired. Some causes of malocclusion include missing or extra teeth, crowded teeth, or misaligned jaws. Accidents or developmental issues, such as finger or thumb sucking over an extended period of time, may cause malocclusions. Our doctors trained two additional years to be competent in identifying potential growth issues at an early age and to offer early interventions when appropriate that may minimize the need for future interventions.  Our doctors utilize both clinical and radiographic examinations to identify orthodontic concerns.


Space maintainers are small retainers used to maintain proper growth and development when a baby tooth is lost early due to infection.  These retainers are cemented to an adjacent tooth and remain until the new permanent tooth is near eruption.


Panoramic x-rays are prescribed when the first permanent tooth erupts, which is in accordance with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s guidelines on prescribing radiographs in children.  This type of x-ray helps the doctors diagnose missing teeth, extra teeth, crowding, and other pathologies such as cysts, growths, or infections.

The American Academy of Pediatrics weighed in on juice back in 2017, and the stance is still the same today: no juice before age 1. A bottle or sippy cup containing anything other than water and left in an infant’s mouth while sleeping can cause decay. This happens because sugar in the liquid mixes with bacteria in dental plaque, forming acids that attack the tooth enamel. Each time a child drinks liquids containing sugar, acids attack the teeth for about 20 minutes. When awake, saliva carries away the liquid. During sleep, the saliva flow significantly decreases and liquids pool around the child’s teeth for long periods, covering the teeth in acids.

Because parents often unknowingly project their dental fears onto their children, it is important that our families support us in the use of kid-friendly terms and descriptors in conjunction with our various behavior management techniques. These synonyms help our patients to feel more relaxed and understand what to expect in an age-appropriate context.

We suggest the following guidelines to improve chances of a positive outcome:

  • The more matter-of-fact parents approach a trip to the dentist, the less likely your child will have anxiety.
  • Tell your child about the appointment a half-hour before they leave and treat it like it’s a visit to the grocery store
  • Inform your child that EVERYONE with good teeth goes to the dentist
  • NEVER express any of your own personal anxieties about dental care to your child
  • Allow us to prepare your child.  When age appropriate, we will explain to your child what we will be doing during the visit and guide them through the appointment.
  • Be supportive of our practice’s terminology. When preparing your child for a dental visit, do not use words that will frighten them like “needle” or “shot.” Please support us by NOT USING negative words that are often used for dental care.  Our intention is not to “fool” your child – it is to create an experience that is positive.
Don’t UseOur Equivalent
Needle or ShotSleepy Juice
Drill On ToothClean A Tooth
Pull Or Yank ToothWiggle A Tooth Out
Decay, CavitySugar Bug
ExaminationCount Teeth
Tooth CleaningTickle Teeth
ExplorerTooth Counter
Rubber DamRain Coat
Gas/Nitrous OxideHappy Air

Most importantly, please communicate with us. Inform us of any incident or condition that might be helpful in understanding your child’s behavior. Let us know how your child is feeling that day. A child’s emotional behavior can be significantly affected by an illness, a divorce, a death in the family, problems in school, and previous medical/dental experiences.

Our staff is well trained and experienced in helping your child have a successful appointment. Our goal is to make your child a happy patient for life!