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Pediatric Dentistry

Little boy laughing at dentist

Have questions about pediatric dentistry? One of our very own dentists took some time to share information and answer common patient questions to help educate about dentistry for kids and the importance of instilling good dental habits early for children. View the table of contents below to learn more or find your question and get an answer from one of dentists!

 

 

The following content was provided by Dr. Leena Hamad, D.D.S., and has been medically reviewed for accuracy. Some relevant links have been added to audio transcripts to provide resources for additional information.

When should kids start going to the dentist?

Answer provided by Dr. Leena Hamad, D.D.S. Transcription provided below.

Dr. Leena Hamad:

Baby teeth start erupting around eight months and most children have all of their baby teeth by age three. So we tell parents to start bringing your child in as soon as you see the first baby tooth erupt, so ideally between six months to a year of age. It’s just dental age varies per patient.

How often should kids go to the dentist?

Answer provided by Dr. Leena Hamad, D.D.S. Transcription provided below.

Dr. Leena Hamad:

Parents should help their children develop a habit of visiting their dentist every six months. However, this can vary depending on treatment needs, oral hygiene, their personal habits, just stuff like that. Some kids may have to come more often than others, but usually it’s every six months.

How is dentistry for kids different from adults?

Answer provided by Dr. Leena Hamad, D.D.S. Transcription provided below.

Dr. Leena Hamad:

Yeah, so dentistry for kids depends heavily on behavior management. For instance, if sedation is necessary, pediatric dentists usually treatment plan for more aggressive, definitive treatments to avoid the need for multiple visits. So we try to take care of as much as we can in a shorter period of time.

At what age should kids switch from their pediatric dentist to going to a regular general dentist?

Answer provided by Dr. Leena Hamad, D.D.S. Transcription provided below.

Dr. Leena Hamad:

So it depends on the pediatric dentist and the patient, but there is no set age. So when they are able to cooperate without the need of advance behavior management, that can be switched over. But there are a lot of kids that farewell with general dentists at a very young age. So it all depends on the kid.

How do you help kids who are afraid of the dentist?

Answer provided by Dr. Leena Hamad, D.D.S. Transcription provided below.

Dr. Leena Hamad:

We make our environment very kid-friendly at Lane and Associates. So for instance, we’ll implement, tell, show, do techniques. And what that is, is we’ll tell the kid exactly what we’ll be doing, we’ll show them what we’ll be using prior to us doing anything. So we’ll use explanations they understand, we’ll show them our drills, we’ll refer them as Mr. Bumpy and Mr. Whistles. We’ll allow them to hear the sound it makes, feel the water coming out of them. All before beginning our treatment so that they’ll know what to expect going in.

We also recommend if the child has older siblings or even parents, it’s nice for the child to watch their older sibling or parent have work done so that they see what it entails. And a lot of them look up to them, so they see that, “Oh, they do it, like I can do it too.” We also offer nitrous sedation, which is laughing gas in most of our offices. And that can be used at the discretion of the doctor, so it all depends on the patient.

What does a pediatric dentist do?

Answer provided by Dr. Leena Hamad, D.D.S. Transcription provided below.

Dr. Leena Hamad:

Pediatric dentists, they obviously focus solely on kids. A lot of times it’s kids with behavior management issues. They’ll treat the patient’s dental needs while guiding their dental growth and ideally help them develop into adult patients that are not fearful of visiting the dentist. We want them to have good experiences coming in, so that they have a long life of visiting the dentist without any fear.

What is the Lane and Associates child’s first dental visit program?

Answer provided by Dr. Leena Hamad, D.D.S. Transcription provided below.

Dr. Leena Hamad:

Yeah, so at their first visit we try to make their experience fun, easy, interactive. We provide them with keepsakes, including a t-shirt that says, “My first dental visit,” on it. They get a fun Polaroid picture that comes with a cute frame to put it in. They get a doll and a baby tooth album. And they get to visit the treasure box at the end of their treatment and that is not only for their first visit, it’s any visit they have after that, where they can pick out a goodie.

The parents are always allowed back at the appointment, where we’ll review oral hygiene with the kids and the parents, we will allow the kids to show us how they brush and floss their teeth so that we can review how we can improve together. And we just ensure that the child has a memorable experience and we want to make them love coming in to see us.

How should I talk about the dentist with my kids?

Answer provided by Dr. Leena Hamad, D.D.S. Transcription provided below.

Dr. Leena Hamad:

Yeah, so just be honest with them, be up front, but do not instill fear into your kids. So if you’ve had a bad experience at the dentist, don’t use that fear when you’re explaining a dental experience to your child. If you’re unsure about anything, ask the dentist and we can help you explain it to your child. We’re here to help guide you, we just want you to prepare them for a fun, easy experience. Inform them that we’re here to help them, we’re not there to hurt them.

How early should kids start flossing their teeth?

Answer provided by Dr. Leena Hamad, D.D.S. Transcription provided below.

Dr. Leena Hamad:

Yeah, so I recommend trying to develop the habit as early as your child develops manual dexterity. So as early as them being able to hold the floss and using it correctly is when you should start. But the most important time for them to start is when their teeth start to contact. So usually baby teeth don’t contact, so food can go in and out passively. But slowly they’ll start to contact and then once they get their adult teeth, they’ll have contacts and so flossing is very important then. But just developing the habit as soon as your kid develops the manual dexterity is the most important thing.

How can parents get their kids to brush and floss?

Answer provided by Dr. Leena Hamad, D.D.S. Transcription provided below.

Dr. Leena Hamad:

I usually recommend an incentive. So what I’ll tell parents is create a chart with the days of the week and if you see your child brush their teeth correctly twice a day, then they get a check on the chart or sticker or whatever you’d like. And after they finished that week and they brush their teeth correctly every day, twice a day, then you’ll give them some sort of incentive. However you’d like to do it. But I find that usually gets kids to do it. If they start to see they’re not getting those checks and they’re not going to get that incentive at the end, they’ll start to brush. Just make sure that you’re watching them as they’re brushing and make sure they’re doing it correctly.