Planning For Your First Visit

Planning for your first visit
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Dental FAQ’s

Planning for your first visit

Eruption of teeth can vary greatly for each child. Many children will begin to develop teeth between 6 to 9 months of age; however, it is not uncommon for a 12 month old to have 8 or less teeth. It is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) that all children visit their pediatric dentist for an examination by the age of 1 year.

Prior to your child’s first visit to Leander Pediatric Dentistry, we will contact you with instructions for completing paperwork necessary for treatment of your child. By completing most paperwork in advance, it allows both our patients and their parents to experience what it is that sets our office apart.

Before the age of 3 years, we ask that parents accompany their children during their entire dental visit. Our dental experience has shown that after this age, most patients excel by visiting the clinical area with their new found friends…patients and staff, with the parents in the reception area. By looking to us for interaction rather than their parents, this opportunity builds their self-esteem and confidence since they become proud of their independence. In addition to developing a relationship with Dr. Scott and his staff, the patients quickly realize that Leander Pediatric Dentistry is one of the rare places that the child can truly call their own.

Although this is usually the best experience as a rule of thumb, parents are allowed in the clinic and Dr. Scott enjoys visiting the parents as well. We know that your child’s first visit to the dentist is a very important milestone and we are confident that choosing Leander Pediatric Dentistry is a great decision.

Frequently Asked Questions
We understand how many resources there are for finding dental information. The Academy of Pediatric Dentistry is the most trusted source for accurate, up to date information. They even have a website dedicated to parents, which can be found at

Remember these are only guidelines and are not meant to substitute a clinical evaluation and prescribed dental care provided by your dentist. If you still require assistance, please contact us directly. Our knowledgeable staff will be able to answer any of your questions live and in person!

When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?
In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday.

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?
Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.

Are baby teeth really that important to my child?
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.

Are thumbsucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child’s teeth?
Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist.

How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?
Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bed-time bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child’s teeth. Take your child to a pediatric dentist regularly to have his/her teeth and gums checked. The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child’s first birthday.

How often does my child need to see the pediatric dentist?
A check-up every six months is recommended in order prevent cavities and other dental problems. However, your pediatric dentist can tell you when and how often your child should visit based on their personal oral health.

Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use?
The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Use a “smear” of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child less than 2 years of age. For the 2-5 year old, dispense a “pea-size” amount of toothpaste and perform or assist your child’s toothbrushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively.Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.

How do I make my child’s diet safe for his teeth?
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 your child’s teeth from decay. You can also ask your pediatric dentist to help you select foods that protect your children’s teeth.

How do dental sealants work?
Sealants work by filling in the crevasses on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. This shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, causing cavities. The application is fast and comfortable and can effectively protect teeth for many years.

How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride?
Have your pediatric dentist evaluate the fluoride level of your child’s primary source of drinking water. If your child is not getting enough fluoride internally through water (especially if the fluoride level is deficient or if your child drinks bottled water without fluoride), then your pediatric dentist may prescribe fluoride supplements.

What can I do to protect my child’s teeth during sporting events?
Soft plastic mouthguards can be used to protect a child’s teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sport related injuries. A custom-fitted mouthguard developed by a pediatric dentist will protect your child from injuries to the teeth, face and even provide protection from severe injuries to the head.

How safe are dental X-rays?
There is very little risk in dental X-rays. Pediatric dentists 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 the amount of radiation.

How can parents help prevent tooth decay?
Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. Then, the dentist 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.