How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride?
Have your dentist evaluate the fluoride level of your child’s primary
source of drinking water. If your child is not getting enough fluoride
internally through water (especially if the fluoride level is deficient or
if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride), then your dentist
may prescribe fluoride supplements.
What can I do to protect my child’s teeth during sporting events?
Soft plastic over-the-counter mouthguards can be used to protect a child’s
teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sport related injuries. These
prefabricated mouthguards are adequate for younger children and for sports
where the risk of trauma is relatively low. However, they are inadequate
in preventing head injuries in contact sports such as football, and some
studies have actually suggested their use in such activities may actually
contribute to an increase in severe injuries to the head by instilling a
false sense of security to the wearer. A custom-fitted mouthguard
developed by your child’s dentist will protect your child from injuries to
head such as concussions. Ask your dentist if you believe your child may
benefit from such an appliance.
What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth?
The most important thing to do is to remain calm. Then find the tooth.
Hold it by the crown rather than the root and try to reinsert it in the
socket. If that is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk and take
your child and the glass immediately to the dentist.
How safe are dental x-rays for my child?
There is very little risk in dental x-rays. Dentists are especially
careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed.
Lead aprons and digital radiographs are used to ensure safety and minimize
How can parents help prevent tooth decay?
Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning
with the eruption of the first tooth. Then, the dentist can recommend a
specific program of brushing, flossing and other treatments for parents to
supervise and teach to their children. These home treatments, when added
to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a
lifetime of healthy habits.
What are dental sealants?
Sealants protect the grooved and pitted surfaces of the teeth, especially
the chewing surfaces of back teeth where most cavities in children are
found. Made of clear or shaded plastic, sealants are applied to the teeth
to help keep them cavity-free.
How do sealants work?
Even if your child brushes and flosses carefully, it is difficult –
sometimes impossible – to clean the tiny grooves and pits on certain
teeth. Food and bacteria build up in these crevices, placing you child in
danger of tooth decay. Sealants “seal out” food and plaque, thus reducing
the risk of decay.
How long do sealants last?
Research shows that sealants can last for many years if properly cared
for. So, your child will be protected throughout the most cavity-prone
years. If your child has good oral hygiene and avoids biting hard objects,
sealants will last longer. Your dental hygienist and dentist will check
the sealants during routine dental visits and can recommend reapplication
or repair when necessary.
What is the sealant treatment like?
The application of a sealant is quick and comfortable. It takes only one
visit. The tooth is first cleansed. It is then conditioned and dried. The
sealant is then flowed onto the grooves of the tooth and allowed to harden
or hardened with a special light. Your child will be able to eat right
after the appointment.
How much do sealants cost?
The treatment is very affordable, especially in view of the valuable decay
protection it offers your child. Most dental insurance companies cover
sealants. Some companies, however, have age and specific tooth
limitations. Check with your benefits provider about your child’s coverage
and talk to your dentist or hygienist about the exact cost of sealants for
Which teeth should be sealed?
The natural flow of saliva usually keeps the smooth surfaces of the teeth
clean but does not wash are the six-year and twelve year molars. Many
times the permanent premolars and primary molars will also benefit from
the protection of sealants. Talk to your pediatric dentist, as each
child’s situation is unique.
If my child has sealants are brushing and flossing important?
Absolutely! Sealants are only one step in the plan to keep your child
cavity-free for a lifetime. Brushing, flossing, balanced nutrition,
limited snacking and regular dental visits are still essential to a
bright, healthy smile.