Frequently Asked Questions – Louisville, KY
FAQs About Pediatric Dentistry
Regarding Diet & Cavity Prevention
How do I know if my child is getting the appropriate amount of fluoride in their diet?
If you do not reside in a community that has fluoridated water or have the appropriate amount of natural fluoride in your well water, your child will need some sort of supplement in their diet. We can help you determine how much of a supplement your child needs based upon their weight, age, current water fluoride level, and brand of toothpaste.
What is an appropriate diet for my child?
It is important that your child receives a naturally balanced diet that includes the important nutrients your child needs in order to grow. A daily diet should include the major food groups of meat/fish/eggs, vegetable/fruit, bread/cereal as well as milk and other dairy products.
Can my child’s diet affect their dental health?
Absolutely. It is important that you initiate a balanced diet for your child so that their teeth develop appropriately. In addition, this will positively affect healthy gum tissue surrounding the teeth. Please note that a diet high in sugar and other forms of carbohydrates may increase the probability of tooth decay.
Should I eliminate all sugar and starch from my child’s diet?
Of course not. Many of these foods are incredibly important to your child’s health. Starch-based foods are much safer to eat for teeth when eaten with an entire meal. Foods that stick to teeth are also more difficult to wash away by water, saliva, or other drinks. It’s important that you talk to our staff about your child’s diet and to maintain proper dental care.
What helpful information can you give me regarding tooth decay in infants?
Most importantly, don’t nurse your children to sleep. Do not put them to bed with a bottle of milk, juice, or formula. When a child is sleeping, any liquid that remains in the mouth can support the bacteria that produce acid and harm the teeth.
Regarding Tooth Loss
What should I do if my child’s baby tooth is knocked out?
What should I do if my child’s permanent tooth is knocked out?
Rinse the knocked out tooth in cool water. Do not scrub the tooth. If possible, replace the tooth in the socket and hold it there with clean gauze. If you can’t put the tooth back into the socket, place the tooth in a container of milk (or water if milk is not available.) Come to our office immediately. Feel free to call our emergency number if it is after hours. The tooth has a better chance of being saved if you act immediately.
What should I do if my child’s tooth is fractured or chipped?
Contact our office as soon as possible. Time is of the essence! Our goal is to save the tooth and prevent infection. Rinse the mouth out with water and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. It’s possible that if you can find the broken tooth fragment, it can be bonded back to the tooth.
What do I do if my child has a toothache?
Call our office immediately to schedule an appointment. To help comfort your child, rinse out the mouth with cold water and apply a compress.
How can we prevent dental injuries?
Simple. Sport-related dental injuries can be reduced or prevented by wearing mouth guards. Childproofing your home can help reduce injuries at home. In addition, regular dental checkups will contribute to preventative care
What are sealants?
Tooth sealant refers to a plastic that a dentist bonds into the grooves of the chewing surface of a tooth as a means of helping prevent the formation of tooth decay.
How do sealants work?
In many cases, it is nearly impossible to clean the tiny grooves in teeth. When a sealant is applied, the surface of the tooth is somewhat flatter and smoother. There are no longer any places on the chewing part of the tooth that the bristles of a toothbrush can’t reach and clean. Since plaque can be removed more easily and effectively, there is much less chance that decay will start.
What is the life expectancy of tooth sealants?
The longevity of sealants varies. Sealants that have remained in place for three to five years would be considered successful, however, sealants can last much longer. It is not uncommon to see sealants placed during childhood still intact on the teeth of adults. Our office will check your child’s sealants during routine dental visits and will recommend repair or reapplication when necessary.
Which teeth should be sealed?
Any tooth that shows characteristics of developing decay should be sealed. The most common teeth for a dentist to seal are a child’s back teeth, and of these teeth, the molars are the most common teeth on which dental sealants are placed. The recommendation for sealants should be considered on a case-by-case basis.
What is the procedure for placing sealants?
Generally, the procedure takes just one visit. Placing dental sealants can be a very easy process. The grooves, or “pits and fissures” of the tooth are prepared using a very small rotating bur in a dental handpiece. The tooth is then cleaned, conditioned, and dried. The sealant then flows into the grooves of the tooth where it is hardened with a special light. All normal activities can occur directly after the appointment.
How important is brushing and flossing after sealants are applied?
It is just as important for your child to brush and floss their teeth. Sealants are only one part of the defensive plan against tooth decay.
How much does it cost?
This treatment is quite affordable, especially when you consider the value of protection against tooth decay. Most dental insurance companies cover sealants. Check with your insurance company about your child’s coverage.
Regarding Mouth Guards
What is a mouthguard?
A mouthguard is comprised of soft plastic. They come in standard or custom fit to adapt comfortably to the upper teeth.
Why is a mouth guard important?
A mouth guard protects the teeth from possible sports injuries. It does not only protect the teeth, but the lips, cheeks, tongue, and jaw bone as well. It can contribute to the protection of a child from head and neck injuries such as concussions. Most injuries occur to the mouth and head area when a child is not wearing a mouthguard.
When should my child wear a mouthguard?
It should be worn during any sport-based activity where there is a risk of head, face, or neck injury. Such sports include hockey, soccer, karate, basketball, baseball, skating, skateboarding, as well as many other sports. Most oral injuries occur when children play basketball, baseball, and soccer.
How do I choose a mouth guard for my child?
Choose a mouth guard that your child feels is comfortable. If a mouth guard feels bulky or interferes with speech to any great degree, it is probably not appropriate for your child.
There are many options in mouth guards. Most guards are found in athletic stores. These vary in comfort, protection as well as cost. The least expensive tend to be the least effective in preventing oral injuries. Customized mouth guards can be provided through our practice. They may be a bit more expensive, but they are much more comfortable and shock absorbent.