Frequently Asked Questions
Why a pediatric dentist?
Pediatric dentists are like the pediatricians of the mouth and teeth. Pediatric dentists complete an additional two to three year residency in pediatric dentistry after completing four years of dental school. This training makes pediatric dentists specialists of infants, toddlers, children, teens, and people with special needs.
Dr. Dosanjh and Dr. Kim are also diplomats of the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry. Pediatric dentists who choose to become board certified need to pass written and oral exams showing expertise in the field. To maintain diplomate status, they need to complete additional educational requirements each year.
When should my child see the dentist?
Children should see the dentist at the age of one, or within 6 months of the first tooth, whichever comes first. The age one visit is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (Pediatricians), and the American Dental Association.
Early visits can help dentists catch problems early, when preventive measures can still be used. The age one visit also provides a dental home for children in case of dental injury, or if questions arise. A 2006 scientific paper in Pediatric Dentistry revealed that children who waited past their first birthday and did not see a dentist until age two or three “were more likely to have subsequent preventive,restorative and emergency visits.”
Why are baby teeth important?
Baby (primary) teeth are important for speech development, as well as maintaining good nutrition by allowing proper chewing. They ‘hold the place’ for the permanent teeth, which take the place of the baby tooth after it falls out. Also, children feel more confident when they have a healthy smile.
Aren’t baby teeth just going to fall out anyways?
Yes, eventually! The primary (baby) teeth begin the process of exfoliation (falling out) around age 6. The front teeth are typically exfoliated between the ages of 6 and 8 years old. The back teeth, the canines and molars, typically exfoliate between the ages of 10-12 years old. So, the primary teeth, which are so important for chewing, speaking, and function, are in the mouth for quite a long time.
Click here to see a chart showing when to expect new teeth.
How should I clean my child’s teeth?
Babies: Begin cleaning your baby’s mouth during the first few days after birth by wiping the gums with a clean, moist gauze pad or washcloth. As soon as teeth appear, decay can occur. A baby’s front four teeth usually push through the gums at about 6 months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months.
Children younger than 3 years: caregivers should begin brushing children’s teeth as soon as they begin to come into the mouth by using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing to ensure that they use of the appropriate amount of toothpaste.
Children 3 to 6 years of age: use a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by a dentist or physician. Supervise children’s brushing and remind them not to swallow the toothpaste.
Until you’re comfortable that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste.
Flossing: When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin flossing their teeth daily. This can happen when they are babies!
What if my child has a dental emergency?
If you have concerns about your childs medical status, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room to be evaluated. Call us at 510-964-0168 so your child can be seen as soon as possible. We have a 24 hour a day, 7 days a week answering service for dental emergencies.
If your child has facial swelling, has dental trauma such as a broken tooth, a displaced (moved out of its normal spot) tooth, or if your child has knocked a tooth out, you should call the on-call dentist right away.