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Frequently Asked Dental Questions

As a parent, it’s very understandable that you likely have questions about how to help your children enjoy great oral health through their formative years, as well as what your family can expect when visiting Barefield Pediatric Dentistry. Don’t worry – our team has plenty of answers to share with you! We’ve taken the time to compile some of the “FAQ’s” we receive most frequently here in Duncanville, TX. If you don’t see your particular question, please contact us directly so we can discuss it together.

What is a pediatric dentist?

A pediatric dentist completes two to three extra years of training following a four-year dental school curriculum. Pediatric dentists are specialists dedicated to serving the unique dental needs of children from infancy through the teenage years.

When do you like children to have a first dental visit?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that the first visit take place soon after the first tooth erupts – usually by age one.

Why are primary teeth important?

Primary teeth, commonly called baby teeth, help children chew and eat, maintain space for permanent teeth, and aid in the normal development of the jawbone, muscles, and speech. Primary teeth also add to an attractive appearance.

How should I care for my child’s teeth?

Daily oral hygiene should begin when your child’s first tooth emerges. Use gauze or a clean cloth to gently wipe dental surfaces. Gradually move to a toothbrush and a non-fluoride toothpaste. A pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste can be used when children are old enough not to swallow it. Most children need brushing help and/or supervision until they reach age six or seven. However, all children are different, and our pediatric dentists can help you determine when your child can brush his or her teeth without supervision. And don’t forget to floss! Our team can give you tips and teach your children correct brushing and flossing techniques. Give us a call!

How can I prevent cavities?

Proper oral home care, practiced daily, is crucial to preventing cavities and gum disease. Supervise your children’s daily brushing and flossing until they’re old enough to care for their teeth themselves. Limit sugary snacks and avoid putting children to bed with bottles filled with anything but water. Older children should brush at least twice a day and floss once a day. Begin bringing your child to our dental office for six-month checkups around age one. Dr. Donna may recommend dental sealants or a fluoride treatment to keep teeth healthy and strong. Call today to schedule your child’s appointment.

When will my baby start getting teeth?

Teething varies from child to child. Generally speaking, the lower front teeth are the first to emerge. This usually happens between six and eight months of age. By age three, most children have all 20 primary teeth, although the pace and order of emergence may be different for each child. If you have concerns about your child’s tooth development, call to schedule an appointment with Dr. Barefield or one of our experienced associates.

How should I handle a dental emergency?

If your child experiences a dental emergency, remain calm and collected, tend to them, and then call our Duncanville dental office or go to your nearest hospital emergency room, depending on the severity of the incident.

What kind of toothpaste should my child use?

Choose a toothpaste specifically for children’s teeth and one recommended by the American Dental Association. Until kids are old enough not to swallow toothpaste, use only a pea-sized amount to avoid ingestion of excessive fluoride, or use a non-fluoride toothpaste. Call our dental office if you have questions. We’ll be happy to recommend a toothpaste that’s safe and effective.

My child sucks his thumb. Should I be concerned?

Infants and young children may naturally suck their thumbs or a pacifier for security and/or relaxation. Many kids suck their thumb or a pacifier to help them go to sleep. If your child has permanent teeth and still sucks his thumb, tooth and mouth problems may develop. Here are a few suggestions to help your child stop sucking his thumb:

Dr. Barefield and her associate doctors can give you more tips to encourage your child to stop thumb sucking. Call or visit us, and we’ll share soothing behavior management techniques to eliminate this habit.

My teenage daughter wants to pierce her tongue. Isn’t that dangerous?

Yes! The dangers of tongue piercing include chipped or cracked teeth, blood clots, and blood poisoning. Infection is a common complication, and your child’s tongue could swell and close off her airway. In addition, uncontrolled bleeding and nerve damage can occur if the piercing needle punctures a blood vessel or nerve bundle. Dr. Barefield and her associates do not recommend this practice.

Will my child need X-rays?

X-rays are an important component of your child’s examination. We use digital X-rays for safe, efficient diagnoses of a variety of dental conditions, including cavities and bone disease. X-ray images show us erupting teeth, aid in injury evaluation, and help us plan orthodontic treatment. Call for more information or if you have questions or concerns.