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Parent FAQs

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

Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two or three years of specialized training after dental school, limiting his or her practice to pediatrics only. Pediatricians are those who primarily care for infants and children with special health needs through adolescence.

When should I first bring my child into the dentist?

An initial exam is recommended by your child’s first tooth or first birthday. This first exam can give both the dentist and the parent an opportunity to review some fundamentals of pediatric dental growth and development, check for cavities, and review some important preventative measures. Early detection and management of oral conditions can improve your child’s oral health and overall health and well-being. Delayed treatment can sometimes lead to more extensive and expensive care.

What can I expect from the first visit?

This first visit gives your child the opportunity to meet the dentist in a non-threatening and friendly manner. We will complete an ophthalmic examination of the mouth and teeth, observe your child’s behavior and may request vital x-rays to check areas that are not visible to the naked eye We want to keep the appointment short and enjoyable for the child. This may mean that we will wait until the second visit to complete a cleaning or perform any dental work your child may need. We may ask you to wait in the reception area during part of the visit so that a relationship can be built between your child and the dentist.

How should I prepare my child for their first visit?

Children are often cooler than their parents when it comes to going to the dentist. Try not to put some of your anxiety on your little one. Just relax and be honest – tell your child they are going to the dentist, which is a good thing. You can also say: “The doctor will count your teeth”, and that it will be interesting – we are pretty sure it will be!

How often should I bring my child to the dentist?

Check-Ups should usually be done every six months to prevent cavities, look for cavities early and catch any new dental problems. However, we will recommend to you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.

Do you accept assignment or direct billing?

We will bill your insurance company directly and collect the balance from you (if any) at the time of treatment.

Do you accept government social services insurance plans?

Yes, we accept social services including the Alberta Children’s Health Benefit (ACHB) program and First Nations Uninsured Health Benefits (NIHB).

Why should we fix baby teeth if they are just going to fall out?

Your child will keep some of their primary or “baby” teeth until approximately 9 – 13 years old. Primary teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak more clearly and chew more naturally, but they also help create a pathway for permanent teeth when they are ready to erupt. Untreated dental cavities in primary teeth can result in pain and infection.

How often should I be brushing my child's teeth?

Brush your teeth at least twice in the morning and before bed. The most important time to brush is before your baby goes to bed at night.

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

One of the most crucial things you can do for your oral health is to brush your teeth. When looking for a toothpaste for your child, make sure to pick one that is recommended by the Canadian Dental Association as shown on the box and tube. These toothpastes have undergone testing to ensure they are safe to use.

From birth, clean your baby’s mouth with a baby toothbrush or soft cloth or water. Start brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate toothbrush as soon as teeth begin to appear. Rinse with a toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice for a child under 2 years old. For a 2-5 year old patient who can spit, offer a “pea-shaped” toothpaste, or help brush the child’s teeth. Remember, young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth properly. Let kids scream and don’t swallow excess toothpaste after brushing their teeth.

Should I floss my child's teeth?

Even if your child’s teeth are just baby teeth, you start brushing your teeth. Children often develop cavities between their teeth. Brushing your teeth alone will not clean these areas properly and can cause food and bacteria to build up between your teeth. When a child’s teeth start to fit properly around the age of two to six, parents should start using floss daily and as their skills improve, you can help them learn to floss. Children tend to develop the ability to spin strings that they will spin on their own in about 10 years.

What is a good diet for healthy teeth?

Healthy eating habits lead to healthy teeth. Like the rest of the body, teeth, bones and soft tissues of the mouth require a balanced diet.

Most foods that children eat can cause allergies. The more frequently a child eats snacks, the higher the chances of tooth decay. How long food stays in your mouth also plays a role. For example, hard candies, sticky foods and breath mints stay in your mouth for a long time, causing acid attack on tooth enamel for a long time. If your child must eat meals, choose healthy foods such as vegetables, low-fat yogurt and low-fat cheese, which are healthy and good for children’s teeth.

Children should consume a variety of foods from all five major food groups. Most foods that children eat can cause allergies. The more frequently a child eats snacks, the higher the chances of tooth decay. How long food stays in your mouth also plays a role. For example, hard candies, sticky foods, and breath mints stay in the mouth longer, causing acid to attack tooth enamel longer. If your child must eat meals, choose healthy foods such as vegetables, low-fat yogurt and low-fat cheese, which are healthy and good for children’s teeth.

What is baby bottle tooth decay?

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (BBTD) is a devastating form of tooth decay that can rapidly destroy a child’s four upper front teeth and lower back teeth by the age of two or three. BBTD develops when the child’s bottle containing milk, juice or sugar-containing liquids is left in the child’s mouth for prolonged periods of time.

How can I prevent baby bottle tooth decay?

START EARLY with good feeding habits. The bottle should only be used at mealtimes, not as a pacifier during the day or night. Do not bottle feed your child soft drinks, fruit juices, gelatin waters or other sweetened drinks.

If your baby is currently drinking from a bottle at bedtime or at night, you can break this habit immediately, provided the baby is healthy and the caregivers are prepared for two to three nights of crying that will end when the baby adjusts in the other way Or you can mix water in the bottle and slowly move away from this tendency.

Are my child's teeth coming in at the right time?

By about 3 years of age, all 20 primary teeth are visible, but with varying rates and sequences of eruption. Generally, the first baby teeth to exit through the gingiva are the lower middle molars, followed closely by the upper and middle molars. Most children get their first baby teeth at about 6 months, although some get them sooner or later, which is perfectly normal. Some children don’t get their first tooth until their first birthday! Permanent teeth typically erupt around 6 years of age, beginning with the primary molars and the lower central molars.

Why does my child grind their teeth? Should I be worried?

Often, parents are concerned about nocturnal teeth grinding (bruxism). The first indication is usually a teething noise a child makes while sleeping, or you may notice tooth decay or shortening Most childhood bruxism does not require any treatment. The good news is that most children control bruxism. Grinding decreases between 6-9 years of age and children stop grinding between 9-12 years of age. Consult your pediatric dentist if you believe your child may have bruxism.

What are sealants?

A sealant is a clear or white acrylic resin applied to the chews (grooves) of the back teeth (front teeth and gums), where most cavities are found in children This sealant acts as a barrier to food, plaque and acid, therefore protecting areas of tooth prone to decay. It is a simple, non-invasive, and cost-effective procedure, which has been shown to significantly reduce the likelihood of holes and cracks forming in caves.

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