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Frequently Asked Questions
When should I bring my child in for their first visit?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends your child should schedule their first visit at Oregon Kids Pediatric Dentistry within 6 months of their first tooth erupting or by 1 year old. This is mostly for parent education and to make sure your baby is developing as expected. In addition, studies support that children who start seeing their dentist at an early age have fewer cavities and less dental anxiety.
What To Expect At Your First Visit To OKPD
Please follow the link to read more about what to expect during Your Child’s First Visit To The Dentist.
Is Fluoride Bad For My Child?
In today’s day and age, many parents try to find the answer to this question on Dr. Google. Dr. Lentfer believes that fluoride is beneficial and is well supported by science. That being said, she stands with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s (AAPD) stance on fluoride but is also accepting and welcoming to her patient’s who choose to not use fluoride. To help accommodate families who choose to not employ fluoride, Dr. Lentfer has integrated restorative and preventative options in her practice that are fluoride free. If you choose to have fluoride free dental care, please let us know so we can accommodate you.
Here is a link to the AAPD’s Guideline on Fluoride Therapy
Does My Child Have To Have X-Rays?
Dr. Lentfer strongly agrees in reducing radiation exposure to young children and has taken steps in her office to get low radiation x-ray machines. That being said, if you take your car to the shop, they need to look under the hood to see what is wrong. That is why we take x-rays (aka radiographs). By looking in your child’s mouth, we can see the surface of the teeth, but we can’t see what is going on below, between, or underneath the teeth. Dr. Lentfer abides by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s guidelines on radiographs and only takes x-rays when absolutely needed.
When Should My Child Start Using Toothpaste and What Kind?
As soon as your child’s first tooth erupts you should begin using toothpaste. It is recommended to use fluoridated toothpaste as science supports topical application of fluoride is the most beneficial in preventing decay. If you are not comfortable using fluoridated toothpaste, a Xylitol toothpaste is recommended.
What is MOST IMPORTANT though is the amount of toothpaste you are placing on the toothbrush.
- For a child three years old or younger, you shouldn’t have more toothpaste than the size of a grain of rice, if not a little less.
- For a child who is 4 to 6 years old, use a pea sized amount of toothpaste.
- For children older than 6 years of age, they should be able to spit properly and not swallow the toothpaste. By this time, a size of a pea or a little larger is sufficient.
How Can I Prevent Early Childhood Cavities?
There are a number of reasons children get decay at a young age and unfortunately there is no silver bullet to prevent decay, but here are some recommendations to help reduce your child’s risk of decay:
- Brush with a fluoridated toothpaste at least twice a day for two minutes. If not using fluoridated toothpaste, use one of these other recommended toothpastes
- Floss at least once a day
- Keep snacking to a minimum, and when your child does snack, encourage whole foods
- Chew sugar free gum after snacking (not recommended until over four years of age as gum is a choking hazard)
- NO JUICE! NO SODA!
- Don’t let your child sleep with a bottle filled with milk, juice, or soda (follow your pediatrician’s recommendations if they advise otherwise)
- Bottom line – reduce processed carbohydrates (sugars) and keep those teeth clean!
What Is Bottle Rot & Nursing Decay? How To Prevent It
“Bottle Rot” is a commonly used term to describe when a child has significant cavities as a result of sleeping with, or using frequently throughout the day, a bottle or sippy cup that is filled with a carbohydrate (milk, juice, soda, formula)
“Nursing Decay” is a commonly used term when children who breast feed throughout the day and night show cavities on their baby teeth. The reason this happens is still somewhat a mystery, but risk of nursing decay is thought to increase after one year and after the child starts eating carbohydrates in addition to nursing.
How to prevent Bottle Rot and Nursing Decay
Unfortunately there is no silver bullet, but there are ways to reduce risk of this happening to your child:
- Don’t put a carbohydrate (milk, juice, soda) in a bottle or sippy cup when sleeping or to sip on throughout the day. If your child has any of these liquids, encourage them to finish it in one sitting
- Use Spiffie Wipes at night after nursing or at least try to wipe the teeth with a cloth of sort after nursing
- Brush those teeth! As soon as there is a tooth in your child’s mouth, a cavity can start
Should I Worry About My Child’s Thumb Sucking/Pacifier Habit?
Studies support that breaking habits by 3 to 4 years of age can reduce risk of damage to permanent dentition. Dr. Lentfer recognizes that a lot of children need the comfort of a pacifier or a thumb and breaking these habits can be easier said than done. That is why it is important to speak with Dr. Lentfer about the possible damage that the habit is causing to your child’s teeth and mouth and we can formulate a plan to help break the habit when indicated.
How Should I Prepare My Child For Their Visit?
At Oregon Kids Pediatric Dentistry, we specialize in Children’s Dentistry. Dr. Lentfer has over ten years of experience treating children and has built a staff that has years of experience in pediatric dentistry as well. When your child comes to see us, their experience will not be the same as your visits to a general dentist. We gear our words, instruments and overall experience to create a child friendly atmosphere. That being said, it is natural that you will want to answer your child’s questions about what is going to happen at the dentist. We recommend you keep it simple and let your child know that the dentist and her assistants will tell them everything we will do before we do it and that you will be with them for their visit.
What If My Child Asks If They Will “Get A Shot!”?
We get this all the time, naturally. Here at Oregon Kids Pediatric Dentistry, we employ child friendly explanations of the need for local anesthetic. Some treatment does, and some doesn’t, require your child having to get numb with local anesthetic. If your child asks this question, it is recommended you tell them that Dr. Lentfer can answer that question OR tell them that we will rub “sleepy jelly and squirt sleepy juice” to put the tooth to sleep. We are specialized in children and Dr. Lentfer has honed her skills to make this “scary” part not so scary. We find the more this is built up and discussed, the more fearful your child becomes. That being said, Dr. Lentfer recognizes that you know your child best and recommends preparing them how you see fit.