Frequently Asked Pediatric Dental Questions – East Cobb, GA

Common Questions That Parents Often Ask Us

Group of children resting their heads on their crossed arms at countertop

What Is a Pediatric Dentist?

Pediatric dentists are specialists in treating children’s dental needs from infancy through adolescence. They go through 2 to 3 years of specialized training after dental school to learn about the unique dental needs of children.

At Woodland Pediatric Dentistry, Dr. Sheh Vahid limits her practice exclusively to the treatment of child patients as she has been specially trained over several years to work only with children. Woodland Pediatric Dentistry proudly serves East Cobb, Marietta, Sandy Springs, and Roswell area.

Why Are Baby Teeth Important?

Primary or baby teeth set the stage for adult teeth. They provide space for permanent teeth by guiding them to the right position. They also allow for proper jawbone and muscle development.

When Do Teeth Erupt?

Primary teeth start calcifying at around 4-6 months of pregnancy. The very first primary teeth (lower front teeth) erupt around 6 months of age. Some babies develop their teeth earlier, and some develop them later at close to 12 months. Babies will be actively teething until 3 years of age. Permanent teeth start erupting around the same time the first baby tooth starts getting loose (at 6 years of age on average). Remember that each child is unique, and these timelines are not the same for everyone.

What Causes a Cavity?

Cavities are caused by bacteria that live in the mouth. One of the main bacteria that causes cavities is called Streptococcus mutans. These bacteria like to eat the sugars that we consume and then produce acid that breaks down the tooth causing cavities. Foods like juice, crackers, cereal, candy, and gummy fruit snacks all contain sugars that feed these bacteria. You don’t have to eat only sugar to activate the bacteria in the mouth. Certain foods such as milk or bread break down into sugar once in the mouth, which then activates the bacteria to produce acid.

Does My Child Need Braces?

A malocclusion (non-ideal bite such as crowding, crossbite, or underbites) can occur as early as 2 years of age. Pacifier and thumb-sucking habits are typically to blame for malocclusion at a young age. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that all nonnutritive habits be stopped by age 3 so jaw and teeth development won’t be affected permanently.

Malocclusion can continue into mixed dentition (when baby teeth and permanent teeth are both present in the child’s mouth) all the way to adult dentition (when all teeth are permanent). In some situations, early orthodontics treatment (phase I) is indicated to correct the bite and relieve the crowding. In other situations, orthodontics treatment is recommended once your child has lost all their baby teeth. At Woodland Pediatric Dentistry, we evaluate each child’s growth and development every 6 months and make appropriate recommendations for orthodontics treatment and referral.

How Can I Prevent Cavities?

There are several things you can do at home to help prevent your child from getting cavities.

Oral Hygiene

We recommend that parents help their child brush their teeth 2 times a day with fluoride toothpaste and floss once a day until the child can do it well on their own. Children develop their manual dexterity over time; therefore, it is very important for parents to supervise routine oral hygiene practices until their children develop such skills.

Healthy Eating and Snacking Habits

A healthy diet of balanced meals can help prevent cavities. It is best to avoid frequent snacking throughout the day as it can increase your child’s risk of cavities. It is also important to be mindful of your child's drinking habits. Drinking milk with meals and water in between meals is best for dental health. Avoiding sugary drinks will help decrease the risk of cavities.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Bad breath, or halitosis, is very common in children. Two common causes of bad breath are bacteria that live on the tongue and mucous drainage. To help combat bad breath in children, encourage them to brush the top of their tongue with their toothbrush or with a special tongue scraper. This will help remove some of the bacteria that are trapped on the surface of the tongue. Bad breath can also be caused by mucous drainage and can be a sign the child has an underlying respiratory issue including large tonsils, adenoids, or allergies. If bad breath persists for an extended period of time, please see your pediatrician.

What Do I Do If My Child Has an Adult Tooth Coming in but the Baby Tooth Has Not Fallen Out?

This is called an over-retained baby tooth. If this occurs, we encourage the child to try to wiggle out the baby tooth for 2-4 weeks. If the child cannot remove the baby tooth on their own or is experiencing pain, then please call our pediatric dental office and schedule an appointment.

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