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Frequently Asked Questions from New Parents

Updated: 15 hours ago

WE GET A LOT OF patients and parents of patients at South San Francisco Dental Care asking us the same questions about kids’ dental health, so we’re rounding up a few of the most common questions we hear and providing the answers in an FAQ! If these questions have been burning in your mind, our in-house dentist for kids got your answers here!

When is the right time for a child’s first dental appointment?

A child can benefit from a dentist as soon as their first tooth appears! That’s why we recommend bringing them to see us around six months old (and no later than their first birthday). The earlier you bring them in, the more advice we can offer on taking care of incoming baby teeth and managing those difficult teething periods.

How important is it to keep baby teeth healthy?

If our kids are just going to lose their baby teeth in a few years anyway, does it really matter if they get cavities? A lot of parents think this way, but that’s something we discourage. Just because baby teeth are temporary doesn’t mean they’re not important. Baby teeth are essential for chewing food, learning to speak clearly, and mastering lifelong dental health habits like brushing and flossing. They also guide the adult teeth into place!

What can I do if my child gets a toothache?

A good way to soothe the ache is to have your child swish (but not swallow) some warm salt water. You can also apply a cold compress to their face and give them children’s Tylenol (to ingest, not as a topical treatment). These should all be temporary measures until you can bring them in to see us.

How bad are thumbsucking and pacifiers for my child’s teeth?

They aren’t bad at all — at first. These habits can become an oral health concern in time, if they continue them beyond age three, but most children grow out of them on their own. After age three, it’s time to start thinking about strategies for discouraging the habit. If you’d like suggestions, we can help with that.

What’s the right amount of toothpaste for brushing my child’s teeth?

It’s important not to use too much toothpaste when brushing a young child’s teeth, because that can lead to fluorosis (discoloration) in the incoming adult teeth. All you need is a tiny smear of toothpaste when brushing a baby’s or toddler’s teeth, and a dab the size of a pea is enough for ages 3-6. Also make sure you’re encouraging them to spit it out instead of swallowing!

Why should my child see a pediatric dentist?

There are many specialties in dentistry, and pediatric dentistry is one of them. We go through an additional two to three years of training after dental school to learn everything we need to know to be able to address the dental health concerns unique to babies, children, and teenagers, so take advantage of our expertise by bringing your kids to see us!

Did We Miss Your Question?

If your biggest questions about pediatric dentistry weren’t on our list, don’t hesitate to ask us anyway! We want all parents to be as educated as possible on children’s dental health concerns so that they can give their kids the best chance at lifelong healthy smiles!

If you have anymore questions about kid's dental care, or if it's been more than six months since their last visit, schedule a visit today with our in-house dentist for kids! It's easy! You can book an appointment online or give us a call or text at (650) 871-1400.


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