Family Dental Care FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
Questions Answered By Orlando Kid’s Dentistry
- What happens during the exam?
- Tell me about dental x-rays (Radiographs).
- Are dental x-rays safe?
- Why are baby teeth so important? They’ll be replaced anyway.
- Why are you so concerned about decay?
- How do cavities form?
- What are sealants?
- How can I help my child stop sucking his/her thumb?
- Who are patients with special needs?
Kids Dental Exam
At every exam we will review your child’s health history; take any necessary x-rays; clean your child’s teeth (if any are present); conduct a thorough clinical examination of your child’s mouth, palate, gums, tongue and teeth; and teach them about good food choices and how to brush and floss their teeth. Prevention in dentistry is the best treatment we can offer!
After every examination, we provide parents with essential information about your child’s dental health:
An assessment of your child’s risk for decay;
An evaluation of your child’s soft tissues and gums;
An evaluation of your child’s bite and dental growth; and
An assessment of your child’s oral health as it pertains to his or her overall health including suggestions about nutrition.
Tell me about dental x-rays (Radiographs)
Radiographs (X-Rays) are a vital and necessary part of your child’s dental diagnostic process. Without x-rays, certain dental conditions can and will be missed because they can’t be seen solely by visual examination.
Radiographs allow us to diagnose and treat health conditions, to evaluate the results of an injury or to plan an orthodontic treatment. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable for your child.
We recommend obtaining radiographs when necessary. This will be different for each child. For most children this works out to approximately every two years, although that may be more frequent for children with a high risk of tooth decay.
Are dental x-rays safe?
With contemporary safeguards, the amount of radiation received in a dental X-ray examination is extremely small and the risk is negligible. We use digital x-rays, which further lowers radiation, as well as lead body aprons and shields to protect your child. Today’s equipment filters out unnecessary x-rays. Shielding assures that your child receives a minimal amount of radiation exposure.
It is important to maintain the health of the primary or baby teeth to establish a good foundation of oral health for your child. Neglected primary teeth frequently lead to problems that can affect developing permanent (adult) teeth and create a lifetime of dental problems.
Primary baby teeth are essential for proper chewing and eating: they are the first steps in the digestive system. Primary teeth affect speech development, provide space for the permanent teeth and encourage normal development of the jaw and surrounding muscles. They also contribute to an attractive appearance. Unhealthy teeth can lead to poor self-esteem and other issues that affect one’s confidence, and can prevent a child from reaching his or her full potential.
Why are you so concerned about decay?
Dental decay in children is on the rise. According to a February 2010 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dental decay is the most common chronic disease of childhood – five times more common than asthma!
The good news is that we know that decay detected at the beginning stages of enamel demineralization can actually be reversed using fluoride as a trace mineral. Demineralization refers to the damage done to the tooth’s enamel caused by acid from the bacteria; when this occurs, important minerals have been depleted from the enamel. Demineralization is also commonly referred to as a ‘white spot’ or ‘white spot lesion.’ However, we can reduce demineralization with careful applications of fluoride in the office. When the tooth enamel begins to harden again, it is called–no surprise!–remineralization. If caught in time, remineralization allows the tooth to avoid the need for a traditional filling. We monitor and track these areas of concern at every dental visit so these teeth can stay healthy and avoid fillings if at all possible.
How do cavities form?
Toddlers need assistance brushing their teeth.The good news is cavities don’t form overnight! Cavities form when traces of food particles (carbohydrates) combine with the natural bacteria of your mouth and produce a thick layer of sticky plaque, especially at the gum line. The chemical combination of food and bacteria creates a lactic acid that is strong enough to weaken and eventually disintegrate the natural enamel on teeth, causing the enamel to break down. Plaque becomes a natural breeding ground for decay (cavities) and periodontal disease, which affects the health of the gums or gingival.
We suggest that parents and children don’t share food, utensils or toothbrushes. The reason? The bacteria that cause cavities are transmitted from the parent or caregiver to the child. Even parents and caregivers need to be mindful of and maintain their own oral health!
What are sealants?
A sealant is a clear or shaded plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces (grooves) of the back teeth (premolars and molars). Sealants act as a barrier to food, plaque and acid to protect the decay-prone areas of the teeth-the chewing and eating surfaces. Most cavities in permanent teeth are found in these molars, and sealants have been found to prevent cavities when applied early, usually just after the teeth have erupted (around age six). Sealants do not protect between teeth, so it’s important to continue to floss if a sealant is applied.
How can I help my child stop sucking his/her thumb?
Thumb sucking often occurs when a child is anxiousSucking is a natural reflex and a self-calming habit for very young children. Infants and young children frequently use thumbs, fingers, pacifiers and other objects to suck to create a sense of relaxation and induce sleep. It may make them feel secure and happy or provide a sense of security at difficult periods.
Whether or not dental problems result from thumb sucking depends on how intensely a child sucks on fingers or thumbs. Children who rest their thumbs passively in their mouths are less likely to have difficulty than those who vigorously suck their thumbs. Prolonged thumb sucking habits can lead to delayed language skills, speech impediments, tongue thrusting, difficulty in swallowing, prolonged drooling, and cross bites.
Children should cease thumb sucking by the time their permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. Usually, children stop between the ages of two and four when they can begin to verbalize their frustrations. Peer pressure also causes many school-aged children to stop.
Pacifiers are no substitute for thumb sucking. They can affect the teeth essentially the same way as sucking fingers and thumbs. However, use of the pacifier can be controlled and modified more easily than the thumb or finger habit. Please discuss your concerns about thumb sucking or use of a pacifier with the doctor during your child’s dental exam.
Who are patients with special needs?
Our office has extensive experience treating patients with conditions such as Down Syndrome. “Special needs” is a term that refers to persons with medical, mental or psychological disabilities that require additional assistance. We treat many children and adults with a range of conditions, such as Down Syndrome, autism, visual impairments, trauma, hemophilia, and cystic fibrosis, to name a few, along with severe anxiety. Depending on the patient, sedation in the office or a hospital setting may be necessary to complete treatment. We have extensive experience, as does our staff.