Q: What are the benefits of a Orthodontist/Pedodontist Specialist?
A: There are very few combined orthodontist/pedodontist specialists in the country. If you can find one within driving distance in your area, an Orthodonist/Pedodonist is in the position of providing all-in-one solutions to your child's dental health needs. Unlike a traditional dentist, your child will not need to go to different offices for follow-ups or consultations. Moreover, a focus is given to preventative dental care. By combining both Orthodontics and Pedodontics, potential problems with your child's teeth can be identified and corrected at an early age and may prevent costly treatment later.
Q: At what age should my child begin dental care?
A: The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that infant dental care begin first with dental health counseling for newborns, and then with a first dental visit at age one. This ensures that your child will receive the proper preventative care and avoid potential costly treatments later-on.
Q: Which type of toothbrush should I use?
A: The brand of the toothbrush is not as critical as the type of bristle and the size of the toothbrush head. A soft toothbrush with a small head is recommended because medium and hard brushes tend to cause irritation and contribute to the recession of the gums, and a small head allows you to get around each tooth more completely and is less likely to injure your gums. It's unnecessary to "scrub" the teeth as long as you are brushing at least twice a day and visiting your dentist at least twice a year for cleanings.
Q: Is one toothpaste better than others?
A: Generally, no. However, it's advisable to use a fluoride-containing toothpaste to decrease the incidence of dental decay, as long as your child is old enough to spit it out totally. This usually occurs after 3 years of age. Until then, your child should use only a minimal amount of flouride-free (ingestable) toothpaste.
Q: How often should I floss?
A: Flossing of the teeth once per day helps to prevent cavities from forming between the teeth where your toothbrush can't reach. Flossing also helps to keep your gums healthy.
Q: What's the difference between a "crown" and a "cap"?
A: These are restorations to repair a severely broken tooth by covering all or most of the tooth after removing old fillings, fractured tooth structure, and all decay. The restoration material is made of gold, porcelain, composites, or even stainless steel. Dentists refer to all of these restorations as "crowns". However, patients often refer to the tooth-colored ones as "caps" and the gold or stainless steel ones as "crowns".
Q: What about "silver" fillings versus "white" fillings?
A: Although the U.S. Public Health Service issued a report in 1993 stating there is no health reason not to use amalgam (silver fillings), more patients today are requesting "white" or tooth-colored composite fillings. We also prefer tooth-colored fillings because they "bond" to the tooth structure and therefore help strengthen a tooth weakened by decay. While these fillings are also usually less sensitive to temperature, and they also look better. However, "white" fillings cannot be used in every situation, and if a tooth is very badly broken-down, a crown will usually be necessary and provide better overall satisfaction for the patient. They are generally more expensive and some dental insurance companies do not cover the extra cost.
Q: Do I need to have a root canal just because I have to have a crown?
A: No. While most teeth which have had root canal treatments do need crowns to strengthen the teeth and to return the teeth to normal form and function, not every tooth needing a crown also needs to have a root canal.
Q: What to do when your child chipped or knocked-out a tooth?
Call your child's dentist immediately, especially if it's a permanent tooth. If the dentist cannot be reached, go to the emergency room (ER). Reinsert the kocked-out permanent tooth (but not any baby tooth) back into its socket as soon as possible if your child can hold it in place by biting into a clean paper towel. Otherwise, keep it in a container with milk.