Many parents have questions about pediatric dental care and orthodontics. To help answer some of your questions and provide you with the information you need to help your child enjoy good oral health, Anderson Pediatric Dental & Orthodontics, Inc. offers this page of frequently asked questions. If you have further questions, and to make your child’s appointment with our pediatric dentist in Roy, Utah, please call us at 801-774-5437.

When should my child first visit the dentist?

Children should visit the dentist for the first time between one year and eighteen months of age. This initial visit will be less about dental care and more about making sure that your child is comfortable and developing correctly.

Should I give my child fluoride drops or tablets?

No. Most water supplies in Utah already contain some fluoride. If you are not sure if your water is fluoridated, contact your local health department.

Should I be worried if my child is over a year old and does not have any teeth?

Though many children that age have teeth, some children may have a delayed tooth eruption. This usually isn’t a cause for concern.

My child’s permanent teeth are coming in behind the baby teeth – what do I do?

If the baby teeth are moderately or very loose, be patient. This is normal. Your child’s tongue will push the permanent teeth forward. If your child’s baby teeth are not very loose, please make an appointment with our pediatric dentist to take an x-ray and evaluate the situation.

My child sucks their thumb. Does this have an effect on their teeth, and how can we break this habit?

Most children stop sucking their thumbs or fingers between the ages of 3-5. Sucking on thumbs can have a significant effect on your child’s bite. The effects vary depending on the frequency of your child’s thumb-sucking, and how long your child sucks on his or her fingers at each occurrence. Some of the most common effects include:

  • Flaring or protrusion of the upper front teeth
  • Backward positioning of the lower front teeth
  • Cross-bites (narrowing of the upper jaw), which lead to open bites (where the front teeth do not touch)

If your child continues this habit past the eruption of their first tooth, it can have an effect on their bite as an adult. Finger sucking can be prevented by pacifiers, as they do less harm than finger sucking, and most children will voluntarily discontinue their use at an earlier age. For more information, please contact our office.

Do nursing bottles cause cavities for toddlers, and when should I take my child off the bottle?

Nursing bottles can cause dental decay, increase the risk of ear infection, and prolong the use of the bottle if used when placing your child to sleep. You can stop this habit by placing only water in your child’s bottle, or by slowly diluting their formula until it is all water. Juice or milk in a cup will not cause the severe decay that a bottle will.

Your child should stop using a bottle when they are old enough to hold a cup, which is usually about one year of age.

What are the signs of teething, and how can I make my child more comfortable during this process?

Teething is characterized by drooling, irritability, restlessness, and loss of appetite. The best way to comfort your child is to have him or her chew on a cold or frozen rubber teething ring. Do not apply topical anesthetics.

Why are baby teeth important?

Baby teeth help your child eat, speak, and develop a positive self-image. These teeth help to form your child’s developing jaws, and hold space for permanent teeth so that a normal bite is maintained. If a baby tooth is severely decayed it can cause damage to the permanent tooth that follows it. Additionally, infected baby teeth can cause severe infections of the face, head, and neck.
Your child’s last baby tooth should fall out at about 12 years of age.

At what age should my child begin brushing and flossing his or her own teeth?

We recommend that parents brush their child’s teeth for the first 5-7 years of their life. Young children lack the manual dexterity needed to thoroughly clean their teeth at home, and will need help to keep their teeth healthy. Be sure to use ta toothbrush in a child’s size, with soft bristles. Do not use toothpaste until your child is able to spit (3-4 years old). After you begin using toothpaste, do not use more than a pea-sized drop at any given time. Floss prior to brushing, and floss for your child until he or she is about 10 years old.