Frequently Asked Questions

We recommend that your child be seen after his/her first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday which follows the ADA guidelines for pediatric patients. This allows us to detect any dental problems early on while preventing any problems in the future. It is also important for us to develop a healthy, positive relationship with your child for a lifetime of optimal oral health. After your child’s examination here at Petaluma Kids Dental Care, we will assess your child’s individual needs and make a recommendation for future appointments.

Although these habits are natural for a young child, they can become a problem if they continue for a long period of time. Once the permanent teeth come in, sucking may cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and alignment of the teeth. It can also cause changes in the roof of the mouth. While most children stop these habits on their own between the ages of 2 and 4, if they persist past the arrival of their permanent teeth (approx age 6), other methods may be recommended to deter the child from these sucking habits. Your child’s oral development will be monitored during their routine examinations with our doctor.

Before the age of 2, we recommend parents clean the child’s teeth with warm water and a soft bristled toothbrush. Fluoridated toothpaste should be introduced when a child is 23 months of age under adult supervision. The toothpaste should be applied to a soft bristled toothbrush in a peasized amount and the child should spit out all excess toothpaste after brushing without swallowing.

Dental sealants are recognized as an effective approach to preventing pit and fissure caries by the ADA. They are a resin based material usually applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth where decay occurs most often on children and adolescents. While brushing and flossing is an effective way to remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth, toothbrush bristles are unable to reach into the microscopic pits and grooves on the chewing surfaces of teeth, leaving them susceptible to cavities. Dental sealants form a barrier between the tooth’s enamel surface and the harmful bacteria and acids in the mouth. Sealants are a painless, simple procedure and under typical wear, may last several years before reapplication is needed. During your regular visits, we check the condition of your child’s sealants and will schedule to reapply them as needed.

Sports accidents account for 10 to 39% of all dental injuries in children. A customfitted mouthguard should be a part of any athlete’s protective equipment and is highly recommended. A high quality mouth guard will stabilize the teeth while allowing the child to speak and breathe normally. This will protect the teeth against being broken, knocked out, or displaced as well as the tissues around the teeth, jaw, and temporomandibular joint. Mouth guards have even proven to help protect against brain injuries during sports related injuries.These mouth guards can be custom made for a fraction of the cost of repairing an injury.

Petaluma Kids Dental care’s modern digital xray units have several contemporary safeguards that will minimize the exposure of our patients to radiation. The amount of radiation a patient receives is extremely small making the risks negligible. The benefits of a full xray exam go beyond detection of a cavity. They are used to survey the child’s unerupted permanent teeth, diagnose bone diseases, evaluate injuries, and anticipate the need for future orthodontic treatment.

Primary teeth or “baby teeth” begin forming before the baby is born. These primary teeth usually first appear between 6 and 12 months of age and all 20 teeth are usually fully erupted by the age of 3. These teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to emerge from the gums. These teeth are prone to cavities and if left untreated, will lead to infection and eventual tooth loss. These problems can spread to the permanent teeth if left unresolved. Here at Petaluma Kids Dental Care, we believe the key to building good habits for a lifetime of optimum oral health is to begin early in the child’s life.

Grinding of the teeth in children is a fairly common occurrence that begins at around age 4 or 5. Because the child’s jaw is growing and the teeth are starting to erupt, the child starts to compensate for this by grinding to find a comfortable position for the bite. The majority of cases of pediatric bruxism do not require any treatment. If excessive wear of the teeth (attrition) is present, then a mouth guard (night guard) may be indicated at around age 13. Wearing a mouthguard at night can prevent damaging wear to the permanent teeth. The good news is that most children outgrow bruxism. The grinding decreases between the ages 6 to 9 and children tend to stop grinding between ages 9 to 12.

Teething is a generally unpleasant experience for both the parent and child, but there are ways to soothe your child. Primary teeth will usually appear around 4-7 months of age, children will have their full set of 20 teeth usually by the age of 3. As their teeth erupt, some babies are inclined to get sore gums which can make them irritable and fussy, they may even lose their appetite or drool more than usual. Diarrhea, rashes and fever are not normal for a teething baby and a call to your pediatrician is recommended. Gently rubbing your baby’s gums with a clean finger, a small cool spoon, or moist gauze can be soothing as well as a clean teething ring. It is important to remember using over the counter topical lidocaine or benzocaine products for children younger than 2 years of age should not be used unless recommended by their doctor as they can be harmful.