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Frequently Asked Questions

At what age should my child visit the dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child's first visit to the dentist should occur by twelve months of age. This visit will enable Dr. Spitz to evaluate your child and discuss proper oral hygiene. Early education and guidance about diet, fluoride, tooth eruption and finger/pacifier habits can help insure optimal dental health.

How often should my child visit the dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that most children visit the dentist at least twice a year. Some children need more frequent care because of increased risk of tooth decay, unusual growth patterns or poor oral hygiene. Dr. Spitz will help determine the best schedule for your child. Regular visits will help your child remain cavity-free and allow for ongoing assessment of changes in your child's oral health.

Why are "baby teeth" important?

Primary teeth have been labeled "baby teeth." However, the first tooth is usually lost around age six and some primary molars remain in place until 12 or 13 years of age. Primary teeth are necessary for proper chewing, speech, development of the jaws and esthetics. Care of the primary teeth is important not only for proper function, but also to avoid a number of unpleasant conditions, such as pain, that result from their neglect.

Does your child use a sippy cup?

Sippy cup or nursing bottle mouth (early childhood caries) is caused by frequent and lengthy exposure to liquids containing sugars (milk, breast milk, sports drinks, formula, soda, fruit juice) and can destroy your child's teeth if not caught in time. It's best to let us check your baby early, at his/her first birthday.

Does your child use a pacifier or suck his/her thumb?

This type of sucking is completely normal for infants and young children. It provides security and relaxation. Most children stop sucking their thumb or pacifier between two and four years of age with no harm to their teeth or jaws. However, children should cease these habits prior to the eruption of their permanent teeth. Pacifier- and thumb-sucking can push your child's teeth forward and cause an open bite or buckteeth. If we can catch the problem early, chances are we can correct it before it hurts your child's smile. If you have concerns about a thumb or pacifier habit, consult Dr. Spitz.

Do you care for children with special needs?

Dr. Spitz has two years of advanced training beyond dental school. Her specialty education provided additional training that focused specifically on care for children with special needs. Additionally, Dr. Spitz' office is designed to be physically accessible for special patients. Because of their expertise, pediatric dentists are often the clinicians of choice for the dental care of adults with special needs as well.

What are dental sealants and who can benefit from them?

The chewing surface of children's teeth is most susceptible to cavities and least benefited from fluorides. Sealants are adhesive coatings that are applied to the tops of teeth and can be very effective in preventing tooth decay. Current research has shown that four out of five cavities in children under age 15 develop on the biting surface of back molars. Molars are the most decayed teeth because plaque accumulates in the tiny grooves of the chewing surfaces. Sealants prevent the cavities that fluoride cannot effectively reach.

What are space maintainers?

A space maintainer is used to hold space in the jaw for a permanent tooth when a baby tooth has been prematurely lost. If space is not maintained, teeth on either side of the missing tooth can drift into the space and prevent the permanent tooth from erupting. Space maintainers are usually made of metal and are custom made for your child's mouth.

What is nitrous oxide?

Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) is a safe and effective way to calm a mildly anxious child during the restorative visit. Your child remains fully conscious and alert while breathing the laughing gas.

What is general anesthesia?

General anesthesia provides a way of effectively completing dental care while a child is unconscious. It is generally reserved for children with severe anxiety, extensive tooth decay, young age, special needs or compromised health. Dr. Spitz will discuss the benefits and risks of general anesthesia, if recommended for your child.