Many parents have questions about their child’s oral health and dental treatments.  We have provided answers to some of the questions we hear most often on this page.  If you have further questions, please feel free to call Colmar Dentistry for Kids at (215) 822-6777.  We will be happy to provide you with more information and help you schedule your child’s appointment with Dr. Deanna Dudenbostel in Montgomeryville, Pennsylvania.

What is a pediatric dentist?
Pediatric dentists are specialists who complete 2-3 years of additional training following dental school to learn how to care for infants, children, and teenagers.

What are primary teeth so important?
Primary teeth are important for a number of reasons, including:

  • Providing space for the permanent teeth, and a pathway along which these teeth can later erupt
  • Aiding in the development of jawbone and facial muscles
  • Aiding in the development of speech
  • Promotion proper digestion
  • Providing your child with a confident, beautiful smile

When can I expect my child’s teeth to erupt?
Children’s teeth actually being forming before birth.  The first baby teeth can erupt as early as 4 months.  The front 4 teeth get replaced by permanent teeth between 6-8 years of age, while the back teeth (cuspids and molars), typically fall out between 10-13 years of age.

What do I do if I have a dental emergency?
If your child’s tooth is broken or knocked out, please contact our office as soon as possible.  Time is a critical factor is saving the tooth.  If possible, bring the tooth with you to your appointment.  Rinse it with water, and handle it only by the crown.  Keep it moist, either in water or in the patients’ mouth (carried beside the cheek, for example).

For chipped or fractured teeth, call our office immediately.  Rinse your child’s mouth with water and apply cold compresses to reduce swelling.  If possible, locate and save any broken tooth fragments and bring them with you to our office.

If your child has a cut or bitten tongue, lip, or cheek, apply ice to the injured areas to control swelling, and apply firm but gentle pressure with a gauze or cloth to stop bleeding.  If bleeding cannot be controlled, call a doctor or visit the emergency room.

If your child receives a severe blow to the head, take them to the nearest hospital emergency room.  If his or her jaw might be broken or fractured, prevent the jaw from moving and visit the emergency room.

Our dentist and team can provide you with more information when you call our practice about your dental emergency.  You can reach us at (215) 822-6777.

Are dental X-rays safe?
Dental X-rays are among the lowest emitting dosages of radiation compared to other types of X-rays.  In fact, they produce less radiation than you receive during your day-to-day activities.  For example, radiation from 2 bitewing X-rays is the equivalent of ½ day of everyday exposure, or from a 45-minute airplane ride.  Our practice also takes special precautions to further reduce your child’s exposure, and our machines are regularly checked for safety and performance.

What do I do if my child sucks his or her thumb?
Thumb and finger sucking is a natural reflex, and most children will grow out of it on their own.  If your child does not stop sucking on his or her own, it may cause problems in the eruption of permanent teeth, tooth alignment, and with the proper growth and development of the mouth.  Our caring pediatric dentist and team will be happy to discuss the effects of thumb sucking and offer solutions to help your child develop a healthy smile.

What is pulp therapy?
Pulp therapy, also known as a baby root canal or pulpotomy, is a treatment used when a tooth develops an infection.  Cavities and traumatic injury are the main reasons why this treatment may be necessary.  Pulp therapy may be recommended to save a tooth that isn’t due to fall out for some time.

What is a dental sealant? 
Sealants are a preventive treatment, usually applied to the back teeth, that block out plaque, food debris, and other harmful materials to protect the teeth from cavities.

When should my child begin orthodontic treatment?
The American Association of Orthodontics recommends that children receive an orthodontic consultation at age 7 to determine whether or not they need early intervention.  At this time, your orthodontist and pediatric dentist will provide you with their assessment of your child’s growth and development and with the information you need to make decisions about your child’s treatment.  Your child may also be placed on an appointment schedule to continue monitoring his or her oral development.

What happens when permanent teeth come in?
Usually, the adult teeth will push out the baby tooth.  However, sometimes the permanent teeth may come in behind the baby tooth instead, and a tooth extraction might be necessary.

How can I keep my child’s teeth healthy?
Visit a pediatric dentist regularly.  This will help us monitor your child’s oral growth and development and quickly provide treatment for any developing issues.

At home, we recommend that you:

  • Brush and floss regularly. You should floss your child’s teeth daily, and should brush their teeth at least twice each day, or after every meal.
  • Provide your child with a healthy, nutritious diet
  • Limit the amount of sugary and starchy foods they consume
  • Use an ADA-approved fluoridated toothpaste, and an alcohol-free mouth rinse
  • Do not share utensils, cups, or food. This can cause bacteria from your mouth to transfer to your child’s mouth, and may contribute to tooth decay or other oral conditions.

How can I help my child feel comfortable at the dentist’s office?
Establish a “dental home” for your child early on, preferably by one year of age.  This makes it more likely that your child will receive appropriate preventive and routine dental care.  If your child is old enough to understand, inform them of their appointment in advance, answer their questions, and tell them that their dentist will explain what they are doing and answer their questions.  Do not use words that might cause fear, such as needle, drill, pull, or hurt.  Use words that are pleasant and non-frightening to your child.