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Preparing to take your children to the dentist can be an entirely different experience than going to the dentist yourself. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions by parents regarding pediatric dental care, whether it’s for the first time or the one-hundred-and-first time.

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

A check-up is recommended every six months in order to prevent any complications that may arise as the child gets older and continues to grow. Talk with your child’s pediatric dentist to see what he or she recommends based on your child’s specific needs.

Are thumbsucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child’s teeth?

Thumb and pacifier habits will only generally be a problem if they become a long-term issue. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they continue for an alarming amount of time, that is, beyond the age of 3, a mouth appliance may be needed to prevent further damage. Consult your pediatric dentist for more information.

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?

A pediatric dentist specifically treats only infants and children through age 18, while a family dentist treats children and families of all ages and are trained to treat people of any age and condition.

What should I use to clean my baby’s teeth?

Check your local grocery store for a small toothbrush with soft bristles. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, specifically made for infants, will get the job done. It should be used once daily at bedtime.

How can parents help prevent tooth decay in children?

Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly as soon as their teeth start to erupt. Once their dentist visits begin, the dentist can suggest a specific program of brushing, flossing, and treatments that can be tailored to your child’s situation that will best help prevent tooth decay.

Don’t hesitate to ask your pediatric dentist any questions when you make your first visit. He or she is there to answer and happy to help.