When should my child's first visit be?

We recommend that you make an appointment for your child’s first pediatric dental visit by their first birthday or within six months of their first tooth coming in, whichever occurs first. The average age that children’s teeth come in is around six months of age. If your child’s teeth have not started to come in by their first birthday, don’t be concerned. We still want to schedule your initial appointment where we can discuss your child’s dental care and development.

How often should I bring my child for a dental exam and cleaning?

General consensus is to have your teeth cleaned and checked by professionals at least twice a year. These visits are essential to keeping up good dental health by checking for cavities, gum disease, plaque buildup and oral cancers. Our staff will also help your child learn good dental hygiene by teaching correct brushing and flossing techniques.

What should I do if my child knocks out a tooth?

Permanent Teeth:
Recover the tooth, making sure to hold it by the crown (top) and not by the root end. Rinse, but do not clean or handle the tooth more than necessary. Re-insert the tooth in the socket and hold it in place using a piece of gauze or cloth. If the tooth cannot be re-implanted, place it in a canister of Save-A-Tooth, if available, or carry it in a cup containing milk or water. Call our office immediately because time is critical in this situation.

Primary (Baby) Teeth:
DO NOT re-implant a primary tooth that has been knocked out! Contact your dentist immediately. Dr. Purvis will want to evaluate the area of trauma to verify there are no other complications, but in many cases, no further treatment is necessary.

How often should my child get x-rays?

Dr. Purvis and his staff follow the guidelines set forth by the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry regarding dental x-rays. For most children, this will be once a year until all of the permanent teeth have erupted, and once every 12-18 months thereafter. The American Academy of Orthodontists recommends panoramic radiographs be taken once every 3 years starting at age six to monitor development.

How often should my child brush and floss?

Brushing your teeth twice a day and daily flossing with adult supervision help control the plaque buildup and bacteria accumulation that can cause dental disease. When your child is brushing, they should use an ADA-approved soft bristle brush as well as ADA-approved toothpaste. It is important to have your child rinse their mouth after brushing and after meals if unable to brush to dislodge any loose food.

Why is it important to use dental floss?

Brushing our teeth, even with an electric toothbrush, cleans all surfaces of our teeth EXCEPT in between our teeth. These areas are highly susceptible to plaque buildup and gum disease. Daily flossing with adult supervision is the best preventative to keep unhealthy bacteria from building up in these areas. You should take 12-16 inches of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers. Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between the teeth using a sawing motion. Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth. You should do this for your child until they are old enough to floss with your help.

What can I do about my child’s stained or discolored teeth?

One option is teeth whitening. This is a good and safe way to brighten your child’s permanent teeth.

What should I do if my child has bad breath?

Various causes contribute to halitosis or bad breath. Usually it is a build up of bacteria in the mouth that causes this condition. If you notice that your child has consistent bad breath try identifying any foods that may be the cause and also monitor your child’s dental hygiene habits. If nothing is helping your child’s halitosis then contact our office for an exam.

How can cosmetic dentistry help improve my child’s smile?

If your child suffers a mouth or tooth injury, it is important to see a dental professional as soon as possible to evaluate the situation and to possibly prevent further damage. Some teeth can be re-implanted if knocked out and may last for years with no issues. If a permanent tooth is lost there are several options that our practice offers to give your child a nice full set of teeth.

Are amalgam (silver) fillings safe?

Amalgam fillings are very safe. They are a popular choice in children’s dentistry when filling a “baby” tooth. According to the ADA up to 76% of dentists use these fillings and have shown no ill effects from them. Other choices for fillings are composite (tooth colored) and gold fillings.

What are porcelain crowns and veneers and how can they be used on my child?

Food, drinks, poor dental hygiene, medications, environment and trauma are some of the factors that contribute to the discoloration of children’s teeth. When teeth become chipped, discolored or do not have a desirable appearance, it is up to the parents to decide what to do about it. Porcelain crowns and veneers are one of the options parents have to choose from. They are made to match the child’s teeth and have lasting results.

How can I tell if my child has periodontal (gum) disease?

Some signs of gum disease include: red puffy gums, bleeding gums, bad breath, loose teeth, receding gums, tenderness and discomfort in mouth. If you notice any of these issues in your child’s mouth please contact our office so that Dr. Purvis may exam your child.

When should my child stop their finger/thumb/pacifier habit?

Most children will stop sucking their finger/thumb/pacifier on their own between 24-36 months of age. However, some children will continue to rely on these coping habits for comfort when tired, bored, or stressed. Encourage your child to stop the habit through positive reinforcement. If that does not work, please contact Dr. Purvis to discuss other options.