The Center for Pediatric Dentistry

Frequently asked questions

Child in dental chair with sun glasses

Frequently Asked Dental Questions

Does it hurt to lose a tooth?

It doesn’t have to hurt. Usually it hurts if you try to get your tooth to fall out before it is ready. Sometimes the dentist has to pull your baby tooth out so the adult tooth can grow in. Kids are sometimes scared that this will hurt, but dentists do a great job to make sure that it doesn’t hurt. The strange feeling you feel when your tooth falls out can sometimes be scary, but it doesn’t have to hurt. Just be patient, and the tooth will fall out. (toothfairyland.com)

When should my child have their first dental visit?

In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears or no later than his/her first birthday. (aapd.org)

Do you have any tips for getting a toddler to brush their teeth?

  • Singing a song while brushing their teeth
  • Letting them play with the toothbrush in order to get used to it in their mouth
  • If you are brushing your child’s teeth have them lie on a couch or the floor with their head in your lap
  • Incorporate it into your morning and night time routines
  • Brush your teeth together
  • Use a favorite stuffed animal to “model” brushing, or even have the stuffed animal be the one to hold the toothbrush
  • Have them roar like a lion, dinosaur, or bear to get them to open wide (parents.berkeley.edu)

How many times a day should you brush your teeth?

At least twice a day. (ada.org)

How many times a day should you floss your teeth?

At least once a day. (ada.org)

How often does my child need to see the pediatric dentist?

A check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your pediatric dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health. (aapd.org)

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?

Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs. (aapd.org)

What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?

A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime. (aapd.org)

Are baby teeth really that important to my child?

Primary, or “baby,” teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt. (aapd.org)

What should I do if my child has a toothache?

First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Give the child acetaminophen for any pain, rather than placing aspirin on the teeth or gums. Finally, see a dentist as soon as possible. (aapd.org)

Are thumb sucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child's teeth?

Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist. (aapd.org)

Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use?

The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Use a “smear” of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child less than 2 years of age. For the 2-5 year old, dispense a “pea-size” amount of toothpaste and perform or assist your child’s toothbrushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing. (aapd.org)

How often should I change my toothbrush?

Adults and children should change their toothbrush every 3 months because they become worn out and are not as effective as they once were. Exceptions to this would be if you were using an electric toothbrush, and the manufacturer states otherwise. Some electric rechargeable toothbrushes have very good brush heads that only need to be changed every 6 months. If you have gum disease, you should change your toothbrush every 4 – 6 weeks because bacteria can harbor in the bristles. You should always rinse your toothbrush out with hot water after every use and change it after you have been sick. (ada.org)

When will my child have teeth come in and fall out?

The average age for the first tooth to erupt in infants is 6 months. This tooth is the bottom central incisor. Your child should have 20 primary (baby) teeth by 2 ½ to 3 years of age. The first permanent molars, or 6 year molars, come in around the age of 6 and they erupt behind all of the primary teeth. Your child should lose their first tooth (lower central incisor) around the age of 6-7 years. The average age for a child to lose their last baby tooth is 12 years of age. (smiles-for-kids.com)