I have a question, Doctor (for children 2 - 5 years)

I am worried about my child’s visit to get teeth filled, is there anything I can do to help?

We would all like the dental visit to be a good experience. Research tells us that anxious parents can pass their anxieties to their children. So, try and be relaxed and positive. Treat the visit as a routine part of life and health care. You can access “How parents can help?” section in our website. Extensive information on this website can be used to explain procedures. You may also ask friends and other family members about dental practices that are oriented toward children or about dentists who limit their practice to children. Other children in the dental office and a dental team who look forward to treating children can be a big help to the child.

By two years of age, are all the baby teeth present?

That is a hard question without a dental examination. The answer likely is no! Baby teeth begin to arrive around 6 months of age. By age two, 16 teeth usually are present and the last of the molars begin to appear, but they do not finish erupting until around 30 months. The upper molars are usually the last to come in.

What type of toothbrush do you recommend?

Many types of toothbrushes are available in the market. Some manufacturers specialize in the development of children’s toothbrushes. Rather offering a brand name, we would like you to think about what you want in a toothbrush for a child 2 -5 years old. Look for a brush with a short and bulky handle as this is easier for the young child to manage. Bristles should be soft to avoid injury.

How often do you recommend cleaning teeth?

One of the most important things about a tooth cleaning schedule is developing good habits. Brushing should be done at least twice daily – morning and at bedtime. Of course, if it is done more often that is good. Brushing teeth after meals or sweet snacks is very beneficial. Cleaning is best done by children and parents.

What can be done if my child doesn’t like toothpaste?

In young children the most important thing is to remove the food debris from around the teeth and gums. To do this, toothpaste is not needed. Rather than argue with your child, brush with water. At a lajout toothpaste this benefit is lost. Toothpastes also neutralize acids in the mouth. And, of course, toothpastes help to have a pleasant breath. However, such fluoridated toothpastes should be used when the child is able to spit out and don’t ingest the paste. Usually, child gains such an ability around 3 years of age.

Why do my child’s upper and lower front teeth do not contact each other?

This is typical of what dentists call an “open bite”. This situation can be seen in younger children (2-5 years) and in some older ones too. There are several reasons that this may occur. One of the most common causes of an open bite is a habit. Sucking fingers or thumbs, placing the tongue between the teeth and holding objects between the teeth all are habits that can cause this problem. It also can be due to a growth problem but this is rare.

There are choices for dealing with open bites due to habits. The condition can be left without treatment. There are several ways that a habit can be eliminated. When this is done, very often the teeth move back into a better position without further treatment. Your Pediatric Dentist should be consulted if your child has any of these habits.

What do you suggest to get my child to stop sucking the thumb?

At 2 to 5 years age we are not too aggressive. We suggest that an occasional reminder to remove the finger is reasonable. Not too often, however. Be positive. Encourage and reward the child for not sucking. Praise the child for their grown up behaviour. Parents sometimes want to tackle the habit problem too early. About half of the children who suck a digit, give the habit up spontaneously at about age three. Many of those who persist will drop the habit about age 6. Loose front teeth at that age and peer pressure will cause many children at this age to give up the habit. Nevertheless, it is advisable to get the child examined by a pediatric dentist.

What is the black stain on my child’s teeth?

Black stain is a result of a combination of many things in the mouth related to saliva, bacteria and foods. Black stain on the surfaces of teeth is usually associated decay. Other kinds of stains also appear on the outside of teeth; brown and gray stains are the most common. These stains may indicate poor hygiene and under them early signs of tooth decay may be found.

Should children’s first teeth be flossed?

Dental flossing cleans between the teeth in areas that the toothbrush cannot reach. For some children, it is important addition to the cleaning routine. Baby or first teeth tend to be spaced or non-spaced. If spaced, they do not require flossing as the toothbrush can reach the areas between teeth. If they are not spaced, children’s first teeth can be flossed especially between the molars. At this age children cannot be expected to floss themselves. Parents need to help them. We suggest that you speak to your pediatric dentist for advice as to the need to floss.

Why do baby teeth need fillings?

When they have cavities (decay), baby teeth are filled. All the decayed parts of teeth are cleaned and fillings are placed to repair them until they fall out normally. If teeth are removed early, space may be lost in the dental arch.The end result is that the permanent teeth may become crowded in a mouth that might have had a good, straight set of teeth.

Another reason that baby teeth are filled is to prevent dental abscess and facial infection. Teeth left to decay can lead to unnecessary health problems.

A third reason that baby teeth are filled is to reduce the amount of bacteria (germs) in the mouth that cause tooth decay. These bacteria multiply in areas of decay. Eventually, the decay spreads to other teeth and even to the permanent teeth when they come into the mouth.

Why are my child’s gums red or bleed while brushing?

Bleeding gums are not healthy. There are many possible reasons for gums becoming red or bleed when brushing. The main reason relates to improper cleaning of the teeth. If the teeth are not straight, they may be more difficult to clean. The gums and teeth need to be brushed regularly at least twice daily. Dental flossing can help clear up the situation as the floss gets between the teeth and removes plaque from areas that the brush cannot reach. Parents and children can tell when the gums are getting healthier because the bleeding decreases and the gums become pink. Other causes are related to medical conditions. Some parents and children avoid brushing the gums because they bleed. This is a mistake. Consultation with the dentist is recommended.

Why do the gums bleed when brushing?

There are many possible reasons for gums bleeding when brushing. Most common cause is the plaque and bacteria accumulated over the teeth. Other causes are related to medical conditions. Bleeding gums are not healthy. Some parents and children avoid brushing the gums because they bleed. This is a mistake. Consultation with the dentist is recommended.

Does it matter that my child had a baby tooth removed?

Yes, it may be a problem later-on especially if back teeth are severely decayed or lost early. Baby or primary teeth are of a specific size and occupy a certain amount of space in the jaw. If baby tooth is removed, the nearby teeth may drift into the space that has been created by the lost tooth. This means there will be insufficient space in the future for the permanent tooth that will replace the lost tooth. The end result is that the way the teeth bite together may be affected.

What is a space maintainer?

A space maintainer is an appliance that reserves space in the jaw that is created when a baby tooth is lost prematurely. The design of a space maintainer depends upon the teeth missing, the teeth present and the child’s tooth development.