FAQs-Frequently Asked Questions

Pediatric Dentistry of Palo Alto


Navigating your child’s dental health can bring up many questions. Here are answers to some of the most common inquiries we receive about caring for children’s teeth. Our goal is to ensure you’re fully informed and comfortable with every aspect of your child’s dental care journey.

general questions

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises that children see a dentist by the time their first tooth appears, or no later than their first birthday. This early start helps in assessing any potential dental concerns and sets the foundation for a lifetime of healthy oral habits.

After completing dental school, pediatric dentists undergo additional training focusing on the unique dental needs of infants, children, and adolescents. This specialized education covers areas such as child psychology, development, and specific dental problems that affect children, ensuring your child receives care that's tailored to their specific stage of growth.

The initial visit is generally brief and focuses on familiarizing your child with our dental office. It typically includes an examination of your child's teeth, gums, and jaw, to identify any early issues. If needed, a gentle cleaning might be done. This visit is also an opportunity for you to ask questions about your child's oral health and learn about dental care at home.

A positive outlook from parents greatly influences a child's perception of the dentist. We recommend talking about the dentist in an upbeat manner, showing them pictures of the office and staff, and explaining the importance of healthy teeth and gums. Our team is experienced in making children feel safe and comfortable during their visit.

For most children, we recommend a dental check-up every six months. However, we might suggest more frequent visits depending on your child's oral health needs.

Though temporary, baby teeth play crucial roles in speech development, nutrition, and holding space for permanent teeth. Healthy baby teeth lay the groundwork for a healthy set of permanent teeth in the future.

Before the first tooth erupts, clean your baby's gums with a soft, damp cloth after feedings. Once teeth appear, use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush with a tiny smear of fluoridated toothpaste to clean their teeth twice a day.

You can introduce a rice grain-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste once your child's first tooth appears. Encourage spitting out toothpaste after brushing to minimize fluoride ingestion, which can lead to dental fluorosis.

Cavities form when bacteria in the mouth metabolize sugars from food, producing acids that erode tooth enamel. Regular brushing, flossing, and limiting sugary snacks can help prevent cavities.

Good oral hygiene practices, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits are key. Consider discussing fluoride treatments or dental sealants with us to provide extra protection against decay.

Dental sealants provide a protective coating over the grooved and harder-to-clean surfaces of the back teeth, reducing the risk of cavities. They are especially recommended for children prone to tooth decay.

A custom-fitted mouthguard is an excellent investment for children involved in any form of sports, protecting against tooth damage, and injuries to the mouth and jaw.

Thumb sucking is normal in infants and young children. Most children stop on their own by age four. If the habit persists beyond the eruption of permanent teeth, or if it's aggressive, we can offer solutions.

We typically recommend the first set of X-rays around ages two to three to monitor your child's oral development. Afterward, yearly X-rays are advised to track the growth of permanent teeth and identify any hidden dental issues early.

Your child’s dental health is our top priority. If you have more questions or need further clarification, our team at Pediatric Dentistry of Palo Alto is here to assist you. Let’s work together to ensure your child’s smile stays bright and healthy!

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