Frequently Asked Questions

When should my child have his/her first dental visit?

At Alameda and Pleasanton Pediatric Dentistry, we always say a child should have their first visit to the dentist’s office by their first birthday. Your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth arrives in order to ensure they have a dental home.

What is the difference between pediatric dentistry and family dentistry?

Pediatric dentistry is a dental specialty that specifically focuses on the oral health of young people from infants to adolescents. Following dental school, a pediatric dentist goes through two to three years of additional specialty training focusing solely on the special needs of children.

How often does my child need to visit the pediatric dentist?

We recommend that your child come for a check-up every 6 months. However, this may vary depending on the oral health and individual needs of each patient.

When should my child start using toothpaste and how much should I use?

Starting at birth, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests cleaning your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water at least once a day at bedtime. When the first teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a light smear of toothpaste. At age 3, parents should supervise brushing. Ensure that your child uses no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and make sure he/she does not swallow any excess toothpaste.

As a parent, what can I do to help my child with preventive dentistry?

Parents play a major role in preventive dentistry for their children by guiding them into an excellent oral hygiene routine, providing a healthy diet and scheduling their regular dental check-ups. At our practice, we like to teach preventive dentistry to all of our patients and their families. Our preventive methods include:

  • Brushing
  • Flossing
  • Fluoride Treatments
  • Dietary Counseling
  • Dental Sealants
  • Sports Safety

What kind of diet is best for my child’s dental health?

A well-balanced diet is one of the most important elements in achieving healthy teeth and gums. We recommend one serving each of: fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products, and meat, fish and eggs. You should limit the amount of sugars and starches in order to prevent harmful tooth decay and cavities.

What can I do to protect my child’s teeth during sporting events?

A mouth guard should be a top priority on your child’s list of sports equipment. Athletic mouth protectors, or mouth guards, are made of soft plastic and fit comfortably to the shape of the upper teeth. They protect a child’s teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sports-related injuries. Any mouth guard works better than no mouth guard, but a custom-fitted mouth guard fitted by one of our doctors is your child’s best protection against sports-related injuries.

What are dental sealants and how do they work?

Sealants are clear plastic coatings applied to the teeth to help keep them cavity-free. Sealants fill in the grooved and pitted surfaces of the teeth, which are hard to clean, and shut out food particles that could get caught, causing cavities. Fast and comfortable to apply, sealants can effectively protect your child’s teeth for many years.

What is nitrous oxide and is it safe?

Nitrous oxide is the gas we administer in order to calm our patients who have a fear of the dentist or who cannot keep still. Nitrous oxide is the safest form of sedation; your child will breathe in the gas, and it will have a sweet smell. It will wear off naturally with normal breathing.

Are dental X-rays safe for children?

With contemporary safeguards, such as lead aprons and high-speed film, the amount of radiation received in a dental X-ray examination is extremely small. Even though there is very little risk, pediatric dentists are particularly careful to minimize the exposure of child patients to radiation. In fact, dental X-rays represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem.