Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a family dentist and a pediatric dentist?
Your child sees a pediatrician, a doctor that specializes in children, and should see a pediatric dentist as well. A pediatric dentist has two to three years of additional school and training following dental school to specialize in treating children from infancy to adolescence.

When should my child see a pediatric dentist for the first time?
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a child should see a dentist within six months of their first tooth appearing. Their first visit should be no later than their first birthday. Seeing the dentist early in life allows the dentist to monitor the growth and development of teeth over time and to catch any problems early while they are small and easy to treat. It is also important to build an early positive relationship between the child, parent, and dentist that will last to adulthood.

How often should my child see a pediatric dentist?
The frequency of dental checkups depends on the individual child’s oral health. However, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have a routine dental checkup with a pediatric dentist every six months to prevent and treat cavities and other dental problems.

Are baby teeth important to my child’s oral health?
Primary or baby teeth may not last your child’s entire life, but they are vital for long term oral health. The placement of primary teeth acts as guides for permanent teeth. If the primary teeth are missing, there may not be space for permanent teeth to grow correctly. Healthy primary teeth also assist with children learning to speak clearly and chew naturally.

Are pacifiers and thumb sucking harmful for my child’s teeth?
Thumb sucking or use of pacifiers is common for infants and toddlers. While most children stop on their own, there is a reason to be concerned if it continues for a long period. Pacifiers or thumb sucking past the age of three may cause concern by changing the shape of the mouth and position of teeth. These changes may affect the healthy placement of permanent teeth in the future. Discuss concerns and solutions for long-term thumb sucking and pacifiers with your pediatric dentist.