Crocodile Smiles Children's Dentistry FAQ

childrens dentist

1 What is a Pediatric Dentist?
2 At what age should I bring my child to Crocodile Smiles?
3 Why are the primary teeth so important?
4 When do the teeth erupt?
5 How should I care for my baby's teeth?
6 What is the best toothpaste for my child?
7 Should my child use an electric toothbrush?
8 How do I prevent decay?










1 What is a Pediatric Dentist?

A Pediatric Dentist is the first dentist your child should see. They are the first line of defense in identifying and preventing dental problems. Babies' teeth and young children's teeth are very different from adult's teeth and require special attention. Pediatric Dentists are expert in providing
dental care for children's teeth during the developmental period from the first baby tooth in infancy through the mid-teen years.

At that point these young adults can be referred to the care of a general dentist.

Pediatric dentistry is an advanced specialty within dentistry that focuses on the oral health and unique needs of young people. After completing a four-year dental school curriculum, two to three additional years of rigorous training is required to become a pediatric dentist. This specialized program of study and hands-on experience prepares pediatric dentists to meet the unique needs of infants, children and adolescents, including persons with special health care needs.

Yes, we want to see your child by their first birthday and to assist
them with a great transition to a general dentist in their mid-teenage years! Seeing a specialized pediatric dentist will ensure that your child receives the best possible care available.

We at Crocodile Smiles are concerned about your child's good oral health as it is an integral component of total health. Establishing us as your child's, "Dental Home" provides us the opportunity to implement
preventive dental health habits that keep a child free from dental/oral disease. We focus on prevention, early detection and treatment
of dental diseases, and keep current on the latest advances in dentistry for children.

Pleasant visits to the dental office promote the establishment of trust
and confidence in your child that will last a lifetime. Our goal, along with our staff, is to help all children feel good about visiting the dentist and teach them how to care for their teeth. From our special office design,
to our communication style, our main concern is what is best for your child.

Street Sign




2 At what age should I bring my child
2 to Crocodile Smiles?

Children should have their first dental visit within six months of the eruption of the first baby tooth and no later than their first birthday.

This appointment is needed to:
- assess your beginning risks of cavities,
- establish a dental home for your child,
- discuss nutrition,
- discuss hygiene practices at home,
- and discuss injury prevention.
During this initial appointment if we find cavities or other problems, they can be taken care of early . . . before they become a bigger problem.




3 Why are the primary teeth so important?

Primary (baby teeth) are very important for many reasons.
They help your child speak clearly, chew their food properly,
add to an attractive appearance and aid in retaining space to
ensure the maximum space is available for the permanent teeth
(which decreases crowding).

Neglected cavities can frequently lead to problems affecting the developing permanent teeth and can also cause pain, infection of
the jaws and gums (which in extreme cases can be life threatening), impairment of general health (your child isn't gaining weight properly
or is avoiding food due to pain), and premature loss of baby teeth
(which is a major cause of orthodontic problems).

Since decay is actually a bacterial infection in the teeth and can spread
if left untreated, cavities also tend to form in good teeth that are next
to those with unfilled cavities.



4 When do the teeth erupt?

Primary (baby) teeth eruption sequence:

Coming Soon

Permanent teeth eruption sequence:

Coming Soon
Diagram showing ERUPTION SEQUENCE of Permanent Teeth

Even before teeth have erupted care of the mouth is important.
Children's teeth begin forming before birth. As early as four months,
the first primary "baby" teeth begin to erupt through the gums.

Cleaning your baby's gums with a clean damp washcloth will help in the teething process and get your child acquainted with the daily routine.

As soon as the teeth erupt, begin using a soft bristled toothbrush and cleanse your baby's gums and teeth to remove the harmful plaque from their teeth.

Putting a baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice can cause
serious and rapid tooth decay.
These products contain sugar (lactose or fructose) and because of the decrease in salivation when sleeping, the bacteria can utilize the sugar substrate and rapidly cause decay.

If your child will not fall asleep without the bottle, gradually dilute the bottle with water over a two to three week period until the bottle only contains water.

After each feeding, wipe inside your baby's mouth with a clean, damp washcloth. The easiest way to clean your baby's mouth is having the baby's head in your lap, dressing table or floor so that you can easily
see inside the baby's mouth.

Remember it is recommended that you see Crocodile Smiles by the time your baby's first tooth erupts. Studies have shown a decrease in cavities and a decrease in dental work if children are seen before
or at their first birthday and every six months for regular check ups



5 How should I care for my child's teeth?

Believe it! Your child may need to have their baby teeth flossed!
If you can't see gum tissue all the way around every one of your
child's teeth . . . you need to floss their teeth!

Daily brushing begins even before the teeth erupt. Once the teeth
erupt, brushing and flossing are to be incorporated as routine activities.

It is important for parents to understand that your child doesn't have the proper dexterity to brush correctly until they are about eight years old. Until then you must brush for them. If they insist, allow them to have their turn before or after your time of brushing.

Don't forget that a professional cleaning and exam is extremely important in the overall care of your child's teeth. Cavities treated at a small stage of development can possibly be repaired with little to no discomfort for your child.



6 What is the best toothpaste for my child?

The toothpaste that your child requires depends on the ability
for your child to properly expectorate (spit) and not swallow
the pea-sized quantity.

If your child is not able to expectorate, then a non-fluoridated
toothpaste is required. Remember . . . you the parent, will be brushing
the gums and newly erupted teeth for your child and must continue brushing for them until they are about eight years of age.

After the child has learned to properly expectorate, then switch
to a fluoridated toothpaste with a flavor that your child enjoys.
Also, don't be afraid to try natural toothpastes found at health food stores. Many are free of chemicals and preservatives and the flavors
are quite refreshing.



7 Should my child use an electric toothbrush?

Some children, (and some adults) have longer brushing times and
better plaque removal with aid from the electric toothbrush.

It is really a matter of preference. If your child enjoys brushing their
teeth with the electric toothbrush and the frequency of brushing and duration of brushing is increased, that only makes the pediatric dentist happier!

Keep in mind that the old standard soft bristle toothbrush
can effectively do the same job.



8 How do I prevent decay?

It takes four things to form a cavity:
1) teeth, 2) bacteria, 3) a sugar source for the bacteria, and 4) time.

Tooth decay is an infectious disease.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, students miss more that 51 million school hours per year because
of dental problems or related conditions.

Dental pain can distract students, cause their schoolwork to suffer, or even lead to school absences. Children and adolescents with healthy teeth have better attendance, are more attentive in class, and tend
to participate more fully in school-related activities.

To prevent tooth disease, watch your child's intake of sugars, snacks, and what they drink. Mealtimes are the appropriate times for milks and juices . . . these drinks should not be offered throughout the day. Milk contains lactose, a sugar, and juices contain fructose, another form of sugar. Needless to say, sodas are heavily loaded with sugar.

All these sugars feed the bacteria and allow the bacteria to grow and deposit acid on your child's teeth. This acid breaks down the tooth structure and causes a pit or cavity on the tooth. So whenever your
child does eat or drink between meals, have them swish their mouth
with water immediately after to help rinse away sugar and food particles that bacteria feed on.

If you are not brushing effectively or flossing appropriately, then the plaque is remaining on the teeth and again, the bacteria is able to
deposit acid.

So, remember:
- Offer water or sugar-free drinks throughout the day.
- Snack on good foods with actual nutritional content, not empty caloric snacks that only hype up your child and leave sugar on their teeth.
- Brush and floss your child's teeth at least twice a day.
To be really effective, brush after every snack and every meal.

Most importantly, have your child's teeth cleaned professionally
and checked every six months by your favorite pediatric dentist
here at Crocodile Smiles!


© 2006 Crocodile Smiles Children’s Dentistry, PLLC 828 SW 66th St., Oklahoma City, OK 73139
Tel: (405) 636-1616 Fax: (405) 635-8781 Linea telefónica español: (405) 635-1616