Kids Dental Care Questions

When should preventive dentistry start?

Dr. Duga and Dr. Feeney recommend your child be seen by 12-18 months of age. This Wee Care visit is for evaluation and education. At this visit, a complete exam is performed and recommendations are given for home care, diet choices and correct use of toothbrushes and fluoride. Many dental diseases can be avoided or treated gently if found early. If not seen sooner, the first visit should be no later than when all 20 primary baby teeth are erupted. Following this routine, problems can be detected and treated before they require serious and costly treatment.

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How often should a child see the dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a dental check-up at least twice a year for most children. Some children need more frequent visits because of increased tooth decay, unusual growth patterns or poor oral hygiene.

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What happens in a dental check-up?

We will review your child's medical and dental history, examine your child's teeth, oral tissues and jaws, and perform a head and neck examination. The teeth will be cleaned and polished, following by the application of fluoride. Following the exam, findings and recommendations will be discussed with you and your child, and you will be given an estimate of the cost of treatment.

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May I accompany my child to the treatment area?

Yes, you are welcome to stay with your child during each visit to our office.

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Will x-rays be taken at every appointment?

No Acting in accordance with the guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, we recommend x-rays only when necessary to protect your child's dental health; for example, to diagnose tooth decay, abnormalities, or for orthodontic treatment. We will discuss the need for x-rays with you before any are taken. We also use digital radiography that reduces the amount of radiation, as compared to standard dental radiographs, by approximately 70%.

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What insurance plans work may I use for my child's visit to your office?

We accept any insurance plan that allows you to select your dentist, and that provides out of network coverage, as we do not participate in insurance network plans. We will be happy to accept payment for treatment directly from your insurance company. However, we ask you to pay any estimated non-covered fees at the time treatment is provided.

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What is topical fluoride?

Fluoride occurs naturally in water and many different foods, as well as in toothpaste, mouth rinses, gels, tooth varnish and supplements. It is effective in strengthening weak areas on teeth against decay, and is most effective when combined with a health diet and good oral hygiene. Fluoride is documented to be safe and highly effective. Only small amounts of fluoride are necessary for maximum benefit. Proper toothpaste amounts must be supervised, and other forms of fluoride supplements must be monitored, to avoid a potential overdoes and unsightly spots on developing permanent teeth.

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Should my child take a fluoride supplement?

Children between six months and 16 years may require fluoride supplements. Bottled, filtered and well waters vary in their fluoride amount; your child's age, risk of decay and liquids your child drinks are also considerations. Dr. Duga and Dr. Feeney will discuss these different factors with you, and recommend a fluoride supplement should one be needed.

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Is it important to treat cavities in "baby" teeth?

Yes, primary teeth are very important to your child's present and future dental health. They encourage normal development of the jawbones and muscles, and save space for the permanent teeth. Remember, some baby teeth are not replaced by permanent teeth until a child is 12 to 14 years of age.

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What are tooth-colored fillings?

Tooth-colored fillings are made from durable plastics called composite resins. The color and texture is less noticeable that other types of fillings. Your child can smile, talk and eat with confidence!

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What are tooth sealants?

A tooth sealant is a clear or shaded plastic material applied to the depressions and grooves on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, forming a barrier to protect the tooth from bacteria and bits of food and reducing the risk of decay.

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How long do sealants last?

Research shows that sealants can last for many years if properly cared for. Sealants placed at our office are guaranteed, as long as your child stays current with his/her 6-month checkups. With a 6-month checkup we can evaluate the sealants and maintain them properly. In the unlikely event the sealant fails and a filling becomes necessary, a full credit for the cost of the sealant will be made toward the cost of the filling.

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What is nitrous oxide/oxygen?

How safe is nitrous oxide/oxygen? Nitrous oxide/oxygen is a blend of two gases - oxygen and nitrous oxide. When inhaled, it is absorbed by the body and has a calming effect. Nitrous oxide is considered the safest sedative in dentistry. It is non-addictive. Your child will remain fully conscious while breathing nitrous. Your child will be administered 100% oxygen following the use of nitrous. The oxygen will quickly remove virtually all remaining nitrous oxide from the body.

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What causes crowded teeth and other orthodontic problems?

Malocclusion is often inherited. Orthodontic problems are also caused by dental injuries, the early loss of primary teeth or such habits as thumb sucking, nail or lip biting.

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Why is early orthodontic care important?

Pediatric orthodontics can straighten crooked teeth, guide erupting teeth into position, correct bite problems, even prevent the need for tooth extractions. Straight teeth are easier to keep clean and less susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease.

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What is Invisalign®?

Invisalign® is a series of nearly undetectable aligners, moving your teeth gradually until the desired result is achieved. Dr. Duga and Dr. Feeney can evaluate your child's malocclusion to determine whether or not your child might be a candidate for Invisalign®. Insurance generally covers Invisalign® at the same benefit rate as traditional braces.

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What do those initials mean after the dentists' name?

DDS stands for Doctor of Dental Surgery and DMD stands for Doctor of Dental Medicine. Both are degrees received after completion of an accredited dental school that meets requirements set by the American Dental Association. The education and degrees are equal as is the training.

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Why do teeth darken?

As people age, the outer layer of enamel wears off and exposes the darken layers underneath, though for children and teens, hereditary, soft drinks, tea, coffee, certain foods, smoking, or medication may cause teeth to change colors.

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