* All information is provided by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

What should I use to clean my baby's teeth?

- A toothbrush will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime.

When should I take my child to the dentist for their first time?

- In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday.

Are baby teeth really that important?

- Primary, or "baby," 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 erupt.

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

- Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years 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 health needs.

What should I do if my child has a toothache?

- First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Give the child acetaminophen (e.g., Children's Tylenol) for any pain, rather than placing aspirin on the teeth or gums. Finally, see a dentist as soon as possible.

Are thumb-sucking and pacifier habits harmful for my 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 past the age of three, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist.

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