FAQs

Here is a list of some commonly asked questions.

Q.

When should I take my child to the dentist for their first check-up?

A.

In order to prevent dental problems, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the need to get children to the dentist when the first tooth appears, which occurs on average between the ages if 6 and 12 months, or no later than his/her first birthday.

Q.

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

A.

The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. Parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Once children are 3 to 6 years old, then the amount should be increased to a pea-size dollop 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.

Q.

How can parents help prevent tooth decay?

A.

Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. Then, the dentist can recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing, and other treatments for parents to supervise and teach to their children. These home treatments, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.

Q.

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

A.

Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years of 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. There are over 8000 dentists registered in Ontario. Only 142 of those are registered specialists in pediatric dentistry.*

*Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, 2015

Q.

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

A.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a dental check-up at least twice a year for most children. Some children need more frequent dental visits because of increased risk of tooth decay, unusual growth patterns or poor oral hygiene. Your pediatric dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.

Q.

My child was referred to pediatric dentist for treatment of cavities. Now that the treatment is complete, where should we go for follow-up care?

A.

We highly recommend regular dental check-ups for children who have a history of decayed teeth. It is your choice to continue their care with your family dentist or at our office. You may want to consider continuing care at our office if your dentist is not comfortable treating children or if your child is not very cooperative at their office. Regardless of your choice, we will send a report to the referring dentist detailing the treatment that was completed.

Q.

How safe are dental X-rays?

A.

There is very little risk in dental X-rays. Pediatric dentists are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. Lead aprons and high-speed film are used to ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation. Our office use digital radiographs, which requires less radiation (70% less) to produce the same quality image than conventional radiographs.

Q.

They did the oral exam and did not see any caries in my child’s mouth, why do they still need to take x-rays on him/her?  

A.

An x-ray is a very important diagnostic tool in dentistry. It acts like another set of eyes for dentists. There are many benefits from X-rays including:

* ability to identify areas of decay that may not be visible with an oral exam; especially small areas of decay between teeth

* ability to determine the depth of the decay and if there is involvement of the nerve or an infection

* identify decay occurring beneath an existing filling

* reveal the development of abnormalities (supernumerary, missing or impacted teeth)

If you are a new patient, your dentist may take X-rays as part of the initial exam and to establish a baseline record from which to compare changes that may occur over time.

Q.

How often should my child have dental X-rays?

A.

In general, children need X-rays more often than adults. Their mouths grow and change rapidly. They are more susceptible than adults to tooth decay. For children with a high risk of tooth decay, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends X-ray examinations every 6 to 12 months interval. The frequency of getting X-rays often depends on their medical/dental history and current condition, your pediatric dentist will prescribe X-rays based on your child’s individual needs.

Q.

Why should we treat baby teeth if they will fall out eventually?

A.

The reasons for treating caries on baby teeth are to prevent the spread of the bacteria, maintain space and prevent infections (in the form of an abscess and facial cellulitis). Furthermore, carious teeth in children may result in pain, disrupt their quality of life and affect their overall development.

Q.

How do dental sealants work?

A.

Sealants work by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years. Sealants are indicated for both primary and permanent teeth. Your pediatric dentist will be able to assess the need for sealants on your child base on his/her oral condition.