Pediatric Dental FAQs

Below are common questions and our answers about the best way to care for children’s teeth.

When should I schedule my child’s first visit to the dentist?

We recommend you make an appointment to see us as soon as your son or daughter gets that first tooth. The Canadian Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children be seen by six months after their first tooth erupts or at one year of age, whichever comes first.

How is a pediatric dentist different from other dentists?

All dental specialists (pediatric dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, and others) begin by attending dental school, then continue their training with several years of additional, specialized education. During training in the field of pediatric dentistry, Dr. Raziee gained extensive knowledge and experience in treating infants, children, and adolescents and patients with special needs.

Pediatric dentists enjoy working with children, and bring to each patient our expertise in childhood development and behavior. Because Smiles on Yonge is geared toward young visitors, you’ll find we all work together to provide an especially friendly and comfortable environment for children.

What happens during my child’s first visit?

The first visit is usually short and simple. In most cases, we focus on getting to know your child and giving you some basic information about dental care.

After reviewing your son or daughter’s medical history, Dr. Raziee will check your little one’s teeth and look for any potential problems with the gums and jaw. If necessary, we may do a bit of cleaning.

We will also answer any questions you have about how to care for your child’s teeth as they develop, and provide you with materials that contain helpful tips that you can refer to at home.

How can I prepare my child for the first dental appointment?

The best preparation for your child’s first visit to our office is to maintain a positive attitude. Children pick up on adults’ apprehensions, so if you make negative comments about trips to the dentist, you can be sure your little one will anticipate an unpleasant experience and behave accordingly.

Let your child know it’s important to keep the teeth and gums healthy, and that Dr. Raziee will help to do that. Remember that our dentist is specially trained to handle fears and anxiety, and our staff excels at putting children at ease during treatment.

How often should my youngster visit the dentist?

We generally recommend scheduling checkups at least every six months. Depending on the circumstances of your child’s oral health, we may recommend more frequent visits.

Baby teeth aren’t permanent; why do they need special care?

Although they don’t last as long as permanent teeth, your child’s first teeth play an important role in development. While they’re in place, primary teeth help your little one speak, smile, and chew properly.

They also hold space in the jaw for permanent teeth. If a child loses a tooth too early (due to damage or decay), nearby teeth may encroach on the space, which can result in crooked or misplaced permanent teeth. Also, your child’s general health is affected by the oral health of the teeth and gums.

What’s the best way to clean my baby’s teeth?

Even before your infant’s first tooth appears, we recommend you clean the gums after feedings with a damp, soft washcloth. As soon as that first tooth appears, you can start using a toothbrush. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. You can most likely find a toothbrush designed for infants at your local drugstore.

At what age is it appropriate to use toothpaste to clean my child’s teeth?

The Canadian Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends using a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste twice daily as soon as the first tooth erupts. Parents can change to pea-sized fluoride toothpaste for 3- to 6-year-old children. The child should rinse and spit after using fluoride toothpaste. 

What causes cavities?

Certain types of bacteria live in our mouths. When they come into contact with sugary foods left behind on our teeth after eating, acids are produced. These acids attack the enamel on the exterior of the teeth, and eventually eat through the enamel and create holes in the teeth, which we call cavities.

How can I help my child avoid cavities?

Make sure your child brushes his or her teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Flossing daily is also important, because flossing can reach spots between the teeth that brushing can’t.

Check with Dr. Raziee about a fluoride supplement, which helps tooth enamel become harder and more resistant to decay. Avoid sugary foods and drinks, limit snacking, and maintain a healthy diet. And finally, make regular appointments so we can check the health of your child’s teeth and provide professional cleanings.

Does my child need dental sealants?

Sealants cover the pits and fissures in teeth that are difficult to brush and therefore susceptible to decay. We recommend sealants as a safe, simple way to help your son or daughter avoid cavities, especially for molars, which are the hardest to reach.

My child plays sports; how can I protect his or her teeth?

Even children’s sports involve contact, so we recommend mouthguards for children active in sports. If your little one plays hockey, baseball, soccer, or other sports, ask us about having a custom-fitted mouthguard made to protect the teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums.

What should I do if my child sucks a thumb?

The large majority of children suck their thumbs or fingers as infants, but most grow out of it by the age of four without causing any permanent damage to their teeth. If your little one continues sucking after permanent teeth erupt, or sucks aggressively, let us know and we can check to see if any problems may arise from the habit.

When should my child have dental X-rays taken?

We recommend taking X-rays around the age of two or three. The first set consists of simple pictures of the front upper and lower teeth, which familiarizes your child with the process.

Once the baby teeth in back are touching each other, then regular (at least yearly) X-rays are recommended. Permanent teeth start coming in around age six, and X-rays help us make sure a child’s teeth and jaw are healthy and properly aligned.

If your youngster is at a high risk of dental problems, we may suggest having X-rays taken at an earlier age.