Frequently Asked Questions

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 the first check-up? 

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.

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. 

Are baby teeth really that important to my child? 

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. 

Visit our infant dental health page to learn more>

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 for any pain, rather than placing aspirin on the teeth or gums. Finally, call our office for an appointment as soon as possible. 

Are thumbsucking 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 past the age of three, a mouth appliance may be recommended by Dr. Seibel.  (scroll down for more information on this topic)

How can I prevent decay caused by nursing? 

Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bed-time bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child's teeth. Take your child to Dr. Seibel regularly to have his/her teeth and gums checked. The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child's first birthday. 

How often does my child need to see the pediatric dentist? 

A check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, Dr. Seibel can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.  Contact us to schedule your appointment today>

Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use? 

The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. Parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Once children are 3 to 6 years old, then the amount should be increased to a pea-size dollop and perform or assist your child’s toothbrushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively.  Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.  

How do I make my child's diet safe for his teeth? 

Make sure your child has a balanced diet, including one serving each of: fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products, and meat fish and eggs. Limiting the servings of sugars and starches will also aid in protecting your child's teeth from decay. You can also ask Dr. Seibel to help you select foods that protect your children's teeth. 
Visit our nutrition page to learn more>

How do dental sealants work? 

Sealants work by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years. 

How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride? 

Have Dr. Seibel evaluate the fluoride level of your child's primary source of drinking water. If your child is not getting enough fluoride internally through water (especially if the fluoride level is deficient or if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride), then Dr. Seibel may prescribe fluoride supplements. 

What can I do to protect my child's teeth during sporting events? 

Soft plastic mouthguards can be used to protect a child's teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sport related injuries. A custom-fitted mouthguard developed by a pediatric dentist will protect your child from injuries to the teeth, face and even provide protection from severe injuries to the head. 

How safe are dental X-rays? 

There is very little risk in dental X-rays. Our office is especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. Lead aprons and high-speed film are used to ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation. 

How can parents help prevent tooth decay? 

Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. Then, Dr. Seibel can recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing, and other treatments for parents to supervise and teach to their children. These home treatments, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits. 

What is the best toothbrush for kids 9-13? Do you recommend the Sonic?

By the time your child reaches 9-10 years old, many adult teeth are now present and an adult toothbrush/toothpaste can be used. Any soft-bristled toothbrush should be used two times a day for two minutes.

 

Source: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

Please visit AAPD's website for more oral health tips for parents and caregivers.

Is thumb sucking hurting my child’s teeth?

Sucking on a thumb or finger is normal for infants and young children and most children stop on their own. However, if a child doesn’t stop on their own, we do advise parents to discourage the habit ideally after age 3. Prolonged thumb sucking can lead to crooked teeth and bite problems affecting both baby teeth and permanent teeth that are developing, causing upper front teeth to tip outward and upper jaw to narrow in the back.

Be sure to use a positive approach and focus on praising your child when they are not thumb sucking. Initially, you could try limiting the time and location thumb sucking occurs, for example only at home or only while the child is in their bedroom to help them ease out of the habit.

Please note: Dr. Seibel can offer advice and make recommendations based on your child’s demeanor and explain the effects on teeth to your child in an appropriate manner during your regular check-ups. Often, this advice, along with support from parents, enables many children to quit.

This easy-to-follow guide can be printed and posted to refrigerators so family members and babysitters know what to do should a tooth be chipped or knocked out (hint: a glass of milk could come in handy)! Just click on the image to download and print!

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© 2019 Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics of Sudbury

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Address

410 Boston Post Rd.
Sudbury, MA 01776

 

Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics - Dr. Kristine Seibel and Dr. Leo Spyrou provide dentistry and orthodontics for children in Sudbury, MA. Dental care for infants, children and teens in the surrounding cities of Framingham, Lincoln, Stow, Wayland, Marlborough, Maynard, Hudson and Concord, MA.

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