Pediatric Dentistry FAQs

Jun 26, 2018

Kids in Newport Beach ask a lot of great questions! (And so do their parents.) We’ve compiled some of the most frequently asked questions of our Orange County pediatric dentists, orthodontists, and staff and given you answers that might help. The friendly professionals at Hersch Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics are experts in treating kids – with services from cavities to braces. We are happy to answer these questions and any more that you may come up with throughout your orthodontic treatment. 

When should I make my child’s first appointment?

This is often the first and most-asked question of our Newport Beach pediatric dentistry staff. We want your child’s health to get started on the right track and so we agree with the The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s recommendation that your child see us by the ftime their first tooth emerges, or no later than their first birthday. This early appointment is usually brief and enjoyable, as your child gets to know our Newport Beach office. You’re welcome to hold your little one as Dr. Hersch or Dr. Butler examines your child’s teeth and mouth and notes any concerns of developmental growth. We’ll also discuss ways you can help keep your child’s teeth, gums, and mouthy healthy as your child grows.

What’s different about a pediatric dentist?

Just like you would take your child to a pediatrician and not a general practice doctor, you would also take them to a pediatric dentist rather than a general dentist. Pediatric dentists are specialists in kids’ teeth. They have taken usually two or three  years of additional training in order to know best how to diagnose and treat oral health in infants, children and adolescents. They are also trained in treating children, and adults, with special needs. Your Orange County pediatric dentist and his entire staff love treating kids. Our Newport Beach dentist office atmosphere, procedures, and staff work together to give your child the best and most comfortable dental care available.

What will my child’s first trip to the dentist be like?

We understand that your child’s very first trip to the dentist may be a bit unsettling for them, but our pediatric dentists and friendly staff aims to wash away any fears and make it a fast and friendly visit. We’ll take the time to get to know you and your child while we check out his or her teeth and general oral health. We’ll provide all of our Orange County patients with basic dental care instructions for home and help get them started on the road to great oral health. You can help your child’s experience by having a calm and positive attitude about visiting the dentist and working with them to keep their teeth and gums healthy.

What are the most common oral health problems our kids’ dentists see?

At each stage in a child’s development, from baby to adolescent, there are different challenges in maintaining great oral health. If your baby falls asleep with their bottles or sucks their thumb or lips, these habits could develop into serious problems in the development of their incoming teeth as well as the potential for inflamed gums, which can be an early form of gum disease. When teeth begin to emerge, some children find challenges with crowded or crooked teeth or teeth with gaps between them. Working directly with our pediatric dentists, our in-house orthodontist can treat orthodontic problems as soon as the permanent teeth come in. Some kids will suffer the loss of a tooth early, either naturally or from some type of accident or trauma. But, by far, the most common concern we see in our Newport Beach dentist office is cavities caused by tooth decay. These can be avoided by consuming less sugar and proper care of teeth and gums.

Why should I take care of baby teeth when they eventually will fall out?

This common topic seems to defy rational minds. They reason that if your child’s baby teeth are going to fall out anyway, why worry about taking care of them? This is a totally misguided thought. Although it’s true they don’t last long, your child’s primary or “baby” teeth are extremely important in the development of good oral and overall health. Once in place, these teeth help your child smile, speak, and chew properly. But even more importantly, baby teeth hold a spot for their permanent teeth, giving them a clear path for emerging straight and in the correct place. If your child loses a baby tooth early, the permanent teeth can shift into the open space causing crowding and crooked teeth. Baby teeth also help the jaw and jaw muscles to develop properly. And, lastly, having great oral health is important to your child’s overall health. For all of these reasons, your Orange County pediatric dentist will team up with you and your child to take care of those little teeth until they are ready to make way for new permanent ones.

How do I provide the best diet for my child’s teeth?

At Hersch Pediatric Dentistry, we work with you to create the very best care for your child’s oral health and that includes what they eat. Working towards a balanced diet for your child means choosing one serving each per meal of: fruits and vegetables; breads and cereals; milk and dairy products; and meat, fish and eggs. One of the most important thing you can do for your child’s teeth is to limit the amount of sugars and starches in their diet. Foods like sugary drinks, citrus fruits, sticky candy, chips, bread and pasta can all contribute to tooth decay. Instead, put these foods on your child’s meal and snack menu: crunchy, high-fiber fruits and vegetables like apples, celery and carrots; eggs, milk, cheese and carrots; broccoli and green leafy vegetables; and nuts and seeds.

How should I clean my baby’s teeth and gums? 

From the time you bring your baby home from the hospital, you take care of their health and well-being and oral health is no exception. Before teeth even appear, our Newport Beach pediatric staff recommends that you clean his or her gums after each feeding with a damp, soft washcloth. Once the first tooth emerges, use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush to gently begin brushing all sides of the tooth. 

What causes cavities and how can I help my child avoid them?

Your child’s teeth decay from the acids that are created when bacteria that lives in our mouths mixes with the sugary foods that are left behind after we eat. The bacteria and sugar combo forms a film over our teeth’s enamel called plaque which then releases the acids that attack the minerals in your teeth. Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. Over time these acids will destroy the tooth’s enamel, forming a cavity, and inflaming your gums.  If the cavity is left without a dentist’s treatment, the decay in the tooth can reach into the roots of the tooth, eventually requiring a root canal to remove the infection. 

Brushing and flossing can eliminate the food particles, preventing the bacteria from forming plaque and reversing the chances of a cavity. Our Orange County dentist staff recommends your child brush at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. After your child’s teeth begin to touch, flossing should be added to your daily routine once a day. Our dental hygienists can show you and your child the best ways to brush and floss.

What are dental sealants and does my child need them?

As your child begins to learn to take care of their developing teeth, they may need some extra help in making sure they avoid cavities. Dental sealants are a fast and comfortable way to help protect your child’s teeth and help them avoid cavities. They work by filling in the pits and fissures in the tops of teeth, especially the back teeth, where it’s more difficult to brush. The sealant blocks out any food particles that could form the bacteria that causes tooth decay. These treatments are a great way to protect your child’s oral health.

Will dental X-rays be taken of my child’s teeth and are they safe?

At Hersch Pediatric Dentistry, our entire Newport Beach staff works to keep your child safe and healthy. We use the most up-to-date technologies and procedures in all we do, including dental X-rays. With current equipment and precautions there is very little radiation exposure from dental X-rays. In fact, the exposure is less than being outside in the sun. The benefits, on the other hand, are many. Dental X-rays can help us:

  • Locate tooth decay hidden out of view
  • Discover any cysts or tumors 
  • Find out how your permanent teeth are emerging and if there are any extra teeth
  • Detecting oral cancer problems
  • Detecting root involvement with the sinuses
  • Help decide whether or not to remove primary teeth

We recommend your child have their first X-rays of their upper and lower teeth when their teeth begin to contact each other. After all of the baby teeth are in, we usually X-ray regularly, at least yearly to make sure your child’s teeth and jaw are healthy and properly aligned.

When should my child begin orthodontic screenings?

As we work with your child’s teeth, we will discover the needs that he or she has for orthodontic treatment. With our orthodontist, Dr. Harrison working in our Newport Beach office, we have a ready team to address your child’s needs as they emerge. We often begin consulting with Dr. Harrison and you when your child’s first permanent tooth erupts because by diagnosing and beginning any needed treatment early, we can offer kids a more effective treatment with less discomfort.

More Questions? Call Our Newport Beach Office Today!

We are committed to providing your child the best pediatric dental care in Orange County. One of the important steps in achieving this goal is to communicate clearly and effectively through every step of your child’s treatment. That’s why we encourage our Newport Beach area patients to ask questions at any time. We are happy to answer your questions, explain treatment, and make your child’s trips to the dentist enjoyable and rewarding. Please give us a call at 949.644.0611 to ask your questions or to make your next appointment. Or, request your appointment using our convenient online scheduler. We look forward to welcoming you into the Hersch Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontist family!

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