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FAQ: Family & Pediatric Dentistry

The office of Matthew J Cavendish, DDS, PLLC is open to answering your most frequently asked questions about family and pediatric dentistry in Phoenix, AZ. We’ve offered family and children’s dentistry for over ten years, and we specialize in providing personalized treatment options for the entire family. From the time your baby gets their first tooth, we’re here for all your dental needs. Read on to have your most FAQs answered about family and pediatric dentistry! Contact us to schedule an appointment!

When should my child see a dentist?

When your child gets their first tooth, we recommend a dental visit. It’s important to help children feel comfortable in the dentist’s chair as soon as possible as their teeth erupt.

What should I expect at my child’s first dental appointment?

Your child’s first dental appointment is mostly about helping them feel comfortable and ensuring there are no significant issues in their mouth. We’ll check their teeth, gums, and jaw to assess their oral health needs and risk of cavities. The rest of the appointment is quick and easy as we’ll clean their teeth and apply a fluoride treatment. Your child will leave our office with a brand new toothbrush, education about their teeth, and a bright smile.

When should my child get dental X-rays?

We usually do X-rays when children are two to three years of age. X-rays at this age will be simple ones of their front, back, and lower teeth so we can determine their development.

How should I clean my baby’s teeth?

It’s best to clean your baby’s teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush designed for infants.

What toothbrush is best for my baby?

When your child gets teeth, you should use a soft-bristled toothbrush to brush their teeth and gums gently. A teething baby will try to place almost anything in their mouth to chew, so a baby toothbrush may become one of their favorites.

Why do we need to take care of baby teeth?

Baby teeth help your children speak, chew, and smile. Though they have an adorable look without those two front teeth, it’s still important to take care of them. If children lose their baby teeth too early, their other teeth may shift and cause overcrowding. Plaque and tartar buildup on either baby teeth or permanent teeth aren’t good for a child’s overall health and hygiene.

When should my child start using toothpaste with fluoride?

It’s best to wait until the age of three to use fluoridated toothpaste. Before the age of three, special toothpaste creations are made without fluoride, or you can clean your child’s teeth with water and a soft toothbrush. Once they start using toothpaste with fluoride, it’s important only to use a pea-sized amount. Parents should always supervise children brushing their teeth.

How can I help my children develop healthy oral hygiene?

Making brushing and flossing fun is essential to helping a child learn healthy oral hygiene habits. We can work together to help children understand the importance of healthy teeth and gums. Singing and dancing about brushing teeth is an exciting way to get children involved in the process.

What causes tooth decay?

Tooth decay is formed from bacteria and sugars that stick to your teeth. Dental plaque is a sticky, thin deposit that sits on the top of your teeth. If you don’t brush your teeth regularly, the enamel breaks down, forming a cavity.

How can my child avoid cavities?

Some children simply get more cavities even though they have healthy oral hygiene habits. You can help your child avoid cavities by:

  • Avoiding sugary and sticky foods
  • Ensuring your child brushes at least twice a day
  • Using a fluoride toothpaste
  • Flossing daily
  • Applying dental sealants

Should I fill a cavity in a baby tooth?

Baby teeth are important to form a path where permanent teeth sit when they erupt. If baby teeth are neglected, your child might face a tooth infection, gums and jaw infection, premature loss of teeth, and pain. It’s crucial to fill cavities on baby teeth to ensure the tooth decay doesn’t spread to permanent teeth.

How can I help my baby through the painful teething stage?

Many babies feel discomfort as teeth erupt through their gums. Some children find comfort in a frozen teething ring or teething biscuit. There are over-the-counter medications that are safe to rub on the gums to help alleviate the pain.

What should I do if my child knocks out a permanent tooth?

It’s a common thing for a child to knock out a permanent tooth. The first thing to remember is to stay calm. If you find the tooth, don’t hold it at the root. Try to place it back in the socket until you can get to the dentist. If you cannot place it into the socket, put it into a container of milk. The faster you can get to us, the better the chances of saving your tooth.

What do I do if my child’s baby tooth is knocked out?

The main thing is to remain calm. Your child is going to lose their baby teeth, so it shouldn’t be a big ordeal if they lose one prematurely. We recommend scheduling an appointment us to evaluate the area and ensure there is no extensive damage to the mouth.

How can I prepare my child for a visit to the dentist?

Your child may naturally feel anxious about a visit to the dentist. Focus on fun and help them realize it’s just a part of life. Talk to them about what to expect and play games with them like “open wide.” If you maintain a positive attitude about a visit to the dentist, they won’t feel as scared of the dentist.

How can I prevent tooth decay on my baby’s teeth from nursing or a bottle?

As your child approaches their first birthday, it’s important to encourage them to drink from a cup. They should never fall asleep with anything in their bottle. If they breastfeed at night, try to avoid it as their baby teeth begin to erupt.

How can I protect my child’s teeth while they play sports?

Your child can help protect their mouth during sports with a mouth guard. An athletic mouth protector is made of plastic and fits comfortably in your mouth. A mouth guard helps protect your children’s lips, cheeks, gums, and teeth. We can custom fit a mouth guard to your child’s mouth for optimal protection.

Are dental X-rays safe?

Yes, dental X-rays are safe. We use contemporary safeguards like high-speed film and lead aprons to make the radiation exposure as low as possible. Dental X-rays offer less radiation exposure than you receive on an everyday basis when outdoors.

What are dental sealants?

Dental sealants are made of shaded or clear plastic and applied to grooves in the teeth to help reduce the risk of cavities. Sealants fill in pitted surfaces of the teeth that are often hard to clean, leaving bacteria stuck in the grooves. Dental sealants are painless and can protect teeth for many years.

Do we really need to visit the family dentist even if we don’t have mouth pain?

Yes! It’s essential to visit the family dentist twice a year to get your teeth and gums cleaned and examined. We may find an undetected oral issue and need to address it at that time. We’ll quickly freshen your mouth and teeth at your appointments.

What are the signs I need a family appointment besides my regular appointment?

If you have teeth sensitivity to hot or cold liquid or food, it’s important to schedule an appointment as you may have a cavity. Additional signs include bleeding gums, tooth pain, halitosis, tooth pain, a bad taste, dry mouth, difficulty chewing and a popping jaw.

Contact Our Phoenix, AZ Dental Office Now!

If you have more questions about family and children’s dentistry, please contact our office! We’re here to answer your questions and help your family feel comfortable at the dentist. Dr. Cavendish and his compassionate team want to help you smile bigger and brighter. We look forward to helping your family grow their smiles!

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