Frequently Asked Questions
Here are our patients’ most common questions.
If you don’t find your question answered here, call us at (203) 787-1176.
Q: What are your office hours?
A: Monday • 8:30 AM – 5:00 PM
Tuesday • 8:30 AM – 3:00 PM
Wednesday • 8:30 AM – 3:00 PM
Thursday • 8:30 AM – 3:00 PM
Friday/Saturday/Sunday • Closed
Q: How should I clean my child’s teeth?
A: Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. When the first teeth begin to come in or “erupt”, brush them twice daily with toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants. Use a smear of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child less than 2 years old. Begin flossing when two adjacent teeth come in. For the 2 to 5 year old child, use a pea-size amount of toothpaste and help the child with brushing. By the age of seven, the child should be able to brush and floss on his or her own. Brushing should take about two minutes. Check regularly for food and plaque buildup at the gum line.
Q: Are baby teeth really that important?
A: Yes. Primary, or “baby” teeth help children speak clearly and chew naturally. They also help form a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt. For more details, see our website’s “Baby Teeth” page.
Q: When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?
A: Dental problems can begin early. Your child should visit our office when the first tooth appears, and no later than the child’s first birthday. Early preventive care will help your child’s smile for the future. For more details, go to our website’s “Baby’s First Visit” page.
Q: How often does my child need a dental visit?
A: A check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, Dr. Kristi can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.
Q: What should I do if my child has a toothache?
A: Call us to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. In the meantime, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water. Place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen.
Q: Are thumb-sucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child’s teeth?
A: Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will usually only become a problem if they go on for a long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own. However, if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, we may recommend a mouth appliance. For more information, see our website’s “Pacifiers and Thumbsucking” page.
Q: How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?
A: Once baby teeth start to erupt, at-will breast feeding should be avoided and other sources of nutrition should be introduced. Avoid putting anything other than water in their bedtime bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child’s teeth. Bring your child to visit us regularly to have his or her teeth and gums checked. The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child’s first birthday. For more details, see our website’s “Breastfeeding and Dental Health” page.
Q: How can diet affect my child’s teeth?
A: 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 from decay. You can also ask our staff to help you select foods that protect your children’s teeth.
Q: How do dental sealants work?
A: Sealants work by filling in crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth and cause cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can protect teeth for years. For more information, click here to see our “Sealants” page.
Q: What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent tooth?
A: First, find the tooth immediately. Hold it by the crown rather than the root. Rinse dirt and debris from the tooth with water and try to reinsert it in the socket with light pressure. Do not scrub or scrape tooth. If reinserting is not possible, put the tooth in a glass of milk and bring your child and the tooth to our office or to your local Emergency Room right away. Do not allow the tooth to dry.
Q: What if my child cracks a tooth?
A: For a cracked tooth, immediately rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Put cold compresses on the face to keep any swelling down. Get to our office as soon as possible so we can repair the tooth properly.
Q: If my child bites his/her tongue or lip, how do I treat it?
A: Clean the area gently with water and apply a cold compress. See us right away or go to your local Emergency Room if there is excessive bleeding, if the bleeding won’t stop or if he or she is in a lot of pain.
Q: How safe are dental X-rays?
A: Today, there is very little risk in dental X-rays. We are 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 exposure.
Q: How can parents help prevent tooth decay?
A: Parents should take their children to visit us regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. Then Dr. Kristi 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. For further details, click here to see our “Proper Dental Habits” page, or call our office at 203-787-1176.