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    Why are Baby Teeth important?

    Primary teeth are important to your child's future dental health because they help with proper chewing and eating, aid in speech development and add to an attractive appearance. A child who can chew easily, speak clearly and smile confidently is a happier child. Primary teeth permit normal development of the jaw bones and muscles. They save space for the permanent teeth and guide them into position. If a baby tooth is lost too soon, the teeth beside it may tilt, causing permanent teeth to come in crooked. In addition, your child's general health can be affected if diseased baby teeth are not treated.


    When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?

    You can make a "Mommy and Me" appointment at our office for your child age 3 and younger. Dr. Bautista will perform a knee-to-knee examination to check your child's teeth for decay and proper eruption.. Dr. Bautista will discuss proper oral hygene, diet, and habits that can influence your child's dental health and well being. This first visit is a great opportunity for you to ask any questions you may have.


    How should I prepare my child for the first visit?

    We strive to make each child's first visit to the dentist a fun, positive start to a lifetime of dental health. Your first visit will be a consult. Dr. Bautista will complete a comprehensive oral examination to evaluate your child's bite, discuss any habits, tooth eruption, and check for dental decay (cavities). If any dental treatment is recommended, Dr. Bautista will make sure you have a good understanding of your treatment options and our policies. After the initial consult and exam, the next step is to schedule a cleaning.


    Do I stay with my child during the visit?

    For children over the age of 3 years old, we suggest you allow your child to accompany our staff through the dental experience. We can usually establish a closer rapport with your child when you are not present. We also feel that the child behaves better without the parent in the room. Our purpose is to gain your child's confidence and overcome apprehension. However, proceeding exam and xrays you will be invited to sit and discuss treatment options with Dr. Bautista. For the safety and privacy of all patients, other children who are not being treated should remain in the reception room with a supervising adult.


    Is it OK for children to cry?

    Crying is a normal reaction to almost any kind of anxiety in a young child. New experiences, strange people and places fit in that category for the very young. Please do not let your child's occasional tears upset you as it is very common and we anticipate crying in some small children. The more relaxed we (parent and dental staff) are at that time, the sooner the child will overcome his/her anxiety.


    Why a pediatric dentist?

    Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years of specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special needs.


    Toothpaste: when and how much?

    Fluoridated toothpaste should be introduced when a child is two to three years of age. Prior to that, parents should clean the child's teeth with water or non-fluoridated "training toothpaste" and a soft-bristled brush. Parents should supervise brushing and make sure that no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste is used. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste.


    What are sealants?

    A sealant is a plastic material (resin) that is applied to the back teeth that protects the chewing surface from plaque and acids.


    Are thumb sucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child's teeth?

    Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers when the permanent teeth erupt, a mouth appliance may be recommended.


    Why are my child's permanent teeth coming in "yellower" than his/her baby teeth?

    At approximately six to seven years of age, parents begin to notice the new permanent teeth are coming in darker than the baby teeth. Our permanent teeth have a greater amount of dentin, which is yellow in color. Since the enamel is translucent, the color of the dentin shows through. When all the permanent teeth have erupted the color will blend and appear uniform.


    How does my children's diet affect their dental health?

    They must have a balanced diet for their teeth to develop properly. They also need a balanced diet for healthy gum tissue around the teeth. Equally important, a diet high in certain kinds of carbohydrates, such as sugar and starches, may place your child at extra risk for tooth decay.


    What are space maintainers?

    Space maintainers are appliances made of metal or plastic that are custom fit to your children's mouth. They are small and unobtrusive in appearance. Most children easily adjust to them after the first few days.


    What are the advantages of tooth-colored fillings?

    Because composite resins are tooth-colored, they look more natural than other filling materials. Your child can smile, talk, and eat with confidence. In addition, tooth-colored fillings are compatible with dental sealants. A tooth can be filled and sealed at the same time to prevent further decay.


    What are disadvantages?

    First, tooth-colored fillings are not for every tooth. They work best in small restorations and low-stress areas. For example, your pediatric dentist may not recommend a tooth-colored filling for a large cavity or for the chewing surface of a back tooth. Second, tooth-colored fillings may cost a bit more than silver fillings because they take longer to place.


    Are X-Rays safe?

    Our office uses digital X-ray technology that reduces your child's exposure to radiation by as much as 90% and it eliminates the use of chemicals for development. It is better for your child and the environment. Since every child is unique, the need for dental X-ray films varies from child to child. Films are taken only after a complete review of your child's health, and only when they are likely to yield information that a visual exam cannot.

    In general, children need X-rays more often than adults. Their mouths grow and change rapidly. They are more susceptible to tooth decay than adults. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends X-ray examinations every six months for children with a high risk of tooth decay. Children with a low risk of tooth decay require X-rays less frequently.