At Blooming Smiles, we understand that you want the best for your child’s dental health and so do we! It is our goal to ensure that your questions and concerns are always answered. Our staff of experienced doctors and professional staff have put together a list of frequently asked questions regarding your child’s oral health or questions you may have forgotten to ask at the pediatric dentist. If your question is not listed, please never hesitate to contact one of our offices in Northridge or Woodland Hills. Together, we can ensure your child has a beautiful, healthy smile for life!

GettyImages-1019427352 copyQ: Why should my child see a pediatric dentist instead of our regular family dentist?

A: Pediatric dentistry is a dental specialty that focuses on the oral health of young people.
Following dental school, a pediatric dentist has two to three years of additional specialty training in the unique needs of infants, children and adolescents, including those with special health needs.

Q: At what age should my child have his/her first dental visit?

A: First visit by 1st birthday" is the general rule. To prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, usually between 6 and 12 months of age, and certainly no later than his/her 1st birthday.

Q: When do the first teeth start to erupt?

A: At about 6 months, the two lower front teeth (central incisors) will erupt, followed shortly by the two upper central incisors. The remainder of the baby teeth appear during the next 18 to 24 months but not necessarily in an orderly sequence from front to back. At 2 to 3 years old, all of these 20 primary teeth should be present.

Q: How can I help my child through the teething stage?

A: When teeth erupt, normally your baby’s gums are quite sore. The discomfort can be eased for some children by using a teething biscuit, a piece of toast, or a frozen teething ring. Your
pharmacy should also have medications that can be rubbed on the gums to reduce the

Q: How should I clean my baby's teeth?

A: A toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head, especially one designed for infants, is the best choice for babies. Brushing at least once a day, at bedtime, will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay.

Q: When should my child start using toothpaste?

A: Do not use fluoridated toothpaste until age 3. Before age 3, parents should clean their child's teeth with water and a soft-bristled toothbrush. After age 3, parents should help and supervise brushing. Remember, never use more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and make sure children do not swallow excess toothpaste.

Q: What is baby bottle tooth decay, and how can I prevent it?

A: Baby bottle tooth decay is a pattern of rapid decay associated with prolonged nursing. It
happens when a child goes to sleep while breastfeeding and/or bottle-feeding. During sleep, the flow of saliva is reduced, and the natural self-cleansing action of the mouth is diminished. Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bedtime bottle. Encourage your child to drink from a cup as they approach their 1st birthday. He/she should be weaned from the bottle at 12-14 months of age.

Q: Can thumbsucking be harmful to my child's teeth?

A: Thumb and pacifier sucking habits that go on for a long period of time can create crowded, crooked teeth or bite problems that may require braces later. If a child is still sucking their thumb or fingers when the permanent teeth arrive, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist. Most children stop these habits on their own.

Q: If my child gets a cavity in a baby tooth, should it still be filled?

A: Primary, or "baby" teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, but they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt. Some of them are necessary until a child is 12 years old or longer. Pain, infection of the gums and jaws, impairment of general health and premature loss of teeth are just a few of the problems that can happen when baby teeth are neglected. Also, because tooth decay is really an infection and will spread, decay in baby teeth can cause decay in permanent teeth. Proper care of baby teeth is instrumental in enhancing the health of your child.

Q: What causes tooth decay?

A: Four things are necessary for cavities to form – a tooth, bacteria, sugars or other
carbohydrates, and time. Dental plaque is a thin, sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria that
constantly forms on everyone's teeth. When you eat, the sugar in your food causes the bacteria in plaque to produce acids that attack the tooth enamel. With time and repeated acid attacks, the enamel breaks down and a cavity forms.

Q: What are dental sealants, and how do they work?

A: Sealants are clear or shaded plastic applied to the teeth to help keep them cavity-free.
Sealants fill in the grooved and pitted surfaces of the teeth, which are hard to clean, and shut out food particles that could get caught, causing cavities. Fast and comfortable to apply, sealants can effectively protect teeth for many years.

Q: If my child gets a toothache, what should I do?

A: To comfort your child, rinse his/her mouth with warm salt water, and apply a cold compress or ice wrapped in a cloth on your child's face if it is swollen. Do not put heat or aspirin on the sore area, but you may give the child acetaminophen for pain. See us as soon as possible.

Q: Is my child getting enough fluoride?

A: Fluoride has been shown to dramatically decrease a person's chances of getting cavities by making teeth stronger. Fluoride in the drinking water is the best and easiest way to get it. To make sure your child is getting enough fluoride, have your pediatric district evaluate the fluoride level of your child's primary source of water. If your child is not getting enough fluoride internally through water (especially in communities where the water district does not fluoridate the water or if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride), your pediatric dentist may prescribe fluoride supplements.

Q: My child plays sports. How should I protect my child's teeth?

A: A mouthguard should be a top priority on your child's list of sports equipment. Athletic mouth protectors, or mouthguards, are made of soft plastic and fit comfortably to the shape of the upper 4 teeth. They protect a child's teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sports-related injuries. Any mouthguard works better than no mouthguard, but a custom-fitted mouthguard fitted by our dentist is your child's best protection against sports-related injuries.

Q: What should I do if my child knocks out a permanent tooth?

A: First of all, remain calm. If possible, find the tooth and hold it by the crown rather than the root. Replace the tooth in the socket and hold it there with clean gauze or a washcloth. If you can't put the tooth back in the socket, place the tooth in a clean container with milk, and take your child and the container immediately to the pediatric dentist. The faster you act, the better your chances of saving the tooth.

Call Blooming Smiles For Your Local Pediatric Dentist Today!

If you are concerned about a specific dental issue or question with your infant or child, please let Blooming Smiles know! We will be more than happy to assist you and your little one. As your Northridge and Woodland Hills dentist for kids, we will ensure your child is in good hands and receives the dentistry care they deserve. To schedule your child’s next dental appointment call our office directly or fill out our easy online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!