first visit forms
Rocket City Kids
Whitney Shelton, DDS
Board Certified Pediatric Dentist
How should I clean my baby's teeth?
A toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head, especially one designed for infants, is the best choice. Brushing at least once a day, at bedtime, will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay.
At what age should my child have his/her first dental visit?
“First visit by first birthday” is the general rule. To prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, usually between 6 and 12 months of age, certainly no later than his/her first birthday.
Why should my child see a pediatric dentist instead of our regular family dentist?
Pediatric dentistry is a dental specialty that focuses on the oral health of young people. Following dental school, a pediatric dentist has two to three years additional specialty training focused on the unique needs of infants, children, and adolescents, including those with special health needs.
What is baby bottle tooth decay and how can I prevent it?
Baby bottle tooth decay is a pattern of rapid decay associated with prolonged nursing. It happens when a child goes to sleep while breast-feeding and/or bottle-feeding. During sleep, the flow of saliva is reduced and the natural self-cleansing action of the mouth is diminished. Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bedtime bottle. Encourage your child to drink from a cup as they approach their first birthday. He/she should be weaned from the bottle at 12-14 months of age.
Can thumb Sucking be harmful for my child's teeth?
Thumb and pacifier sucking habits that go on for a long period of time can create crowded, crooked teeth or bite problems. If they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers when the permanent teeth arrive, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist. Most children stop these habits on their own.
What are dental sealants and how do they work?
Sealants are clear or shaded plastic applied to the teeth to help keep them cavity-free. Sealants fill in the grooved and pitted surfaces of the teeth, which are hard to clean, and shut out food particles that could get caught, causing cavities. Fast and comfortable to apply, sealants can effectively protect teeth for many years.
When should my child start using toothpaste?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommend that fluoridated toothpaste can be used as early as the presence of the first tooth. The decision on when to use fluoridated toothpaste is best developed based on your child's decay contributing factors such as family history, diet, and oral hygiene. Dr. Shelton will be happy to discuss the best plan for your child.
If my child gets a toothache, what should I do?
To comfort your child, rinse his/her mouth with warm salt water and apply a cold compress or ice wrapped in a cloth on your child's face if it is swollen. Do not put heat or aspirin on the sore area, but you may give the child acetaminophen for pain. See Dr. Shelton as soon as possible.
Is my child getting enough fluoride?
Fluoride has been shown to decrease dramatically a person's chances of getting cavities by making teeth stronger. Fluoride in the drinking water is the best and easiest way to get it, but to make sure your child is getting enough fluoride, have your water district evaluate the fluoride level of your child's primary source of water. If your child is not getting enough fluoride internally through water, your pediatric dentist may prescribe fluoride supplements. This is occasionally the case in communities where the water district does not fluoridate the water, or if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride.
How safe are dental X-rays?
With contemporary safeguards, such as lead aprons and digital X-rays, the amount of radiation received in a dental X-ray examination is extremely small. Even though there is very little risk, pediatric dentists are particularly careful to minimize the exposure of young patients to radiation. In fact, dental X-rays represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem.
My child plays sports.
How should I protect my child's teeth?
A mouth guard should be a top priority on your child's list of sports equipment. Athletic mouth protectors, or mouth guards, are made of soft plastic and fit comfortably to the shape of the upper teeth. They protect a child's teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums from sports-related injuries. Any mouth guard works better than no mouth guard, but a custom-fitted mouth guard fitted by Dr. Shelton is your child's best protection against sports-related injuries.
When do the first teeth start to erupt?
At about 6 months, the two lower front teeth (central incisors) will erupt, followed shortly by the two upper central incisors. The remainder of the baby teeth appear during the next 18 to 24 months, but not necessarily in an orderly sequence from front to back. At 2 to 3 years, all of these 20 primary teeth should be present.
What should I do if my child knocks out a permanent tooth?
Most importantly, remain calm. If possible, find the tooth and hold it by the crown rather than the root. Replace the tooth in the socket and hold it there with clean gauze or a washcloth. If you can't put the tooth back in the socket, place the tooth in a clean container with water or milk and take your child and the glass immediately to our office. The faster you act, the better your chances of saving the tooth.
How can I help my child through the teething stage?
Sore gums when teeth erupt are part of the normal eruption process. The discomfort is eased for some children by use of a teething biscuit, a piece of toast, or a frozen teething ring. To help your child with the discomfort of erupting teeth, it is recommended to use Tylenol, Advil, or Motrin.
I noticed a space between my child's two upper front teeth. Is this cause for concern?
Ordinarily, the space will close in the next few years as the other front teeth erupt. Dr. Shelton can determine whether there is cause for concern.
If my child gets a cavity in a baby tooth, should it still be filled?
Primary, or "baby," teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt. Some of them are necessary until a child is 12 years old or longer. Pain, infection of the gums and jaws, impairment of general health, and premature loss of teeth are just a few of the problems that can occur when baby teeth are neglected. Also, because tooth decay is really an infection and will spread, decay on baby teeth can cause decay on permanent teeth. Proper care of baby teeth is instrumental in enhancing the health of the young child.
What causes tooth decay?
Four things are necessary for cavities to form – a tooth, bacteria, sugars or other carbohydrates, and time. Dental plaque is a thin, sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria that constantly forms on everyone's teeth. When you eat, the sugars in your food cause the bacteria in plaque to produce acids that attack the tooth enamel. With time and repeated acid attacks, the enamel breaks down and a cavity forms.
Why does my child grind their teeth at night?
It is very normal for children to grind. Grinding in children does not cause problems with teeth or jaws. You may see increased wear on the baby teeth but this usually does not cause major problems. Most grinding in children is related to poor airways associated with allergies, larger tonsils and adenoids. Most children will outgrow this habit by the age of 10 years unless there is a family history. Most grinding in young children does not need to be treated.