While we have provided basic answers and general guidance to everyday questions, we recognize that every child is one-of-a-kind. If you have a question or concern about your child’s dental health please always contact us directly.

What is The Difference Between a General Dentist and a Pediatric Dentist?

A pediatric dentist has completed two or three years of additional training after dental school to become a specialist in Pediatric Dentistry. All doctors in our office have also successfully completed the Pediatric Dental Board Exams and are Board Certified Pediatric Dentists.

What is a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist and Why Should I Choose One For My Child?

By choosing a board certified pediatric dentist, you are choosing doctors who are committed to staying up to date with the latest recommendations in pediatric dentistry and practice at the highest standard of care. A board certified pediatric dentist means that not only did Dr. Foster and Dr. Ziegler complete an additional two years of residency training in pediatric dental care after dental school, but they also took the extra step to become board certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry which requires a separate board exam and stringent continuing education requirements to maintain board status.

Baby Teeth, What’s The Big Deal?

Primary “baby” teeth are designed to function throughout the childhood years. Some of your child’s baby teeth are not lost until age 12. They help in the development of face and jaws and support facial structures and tissues. They are also important for eating, and chewing food to aid in proper digestion through your child’s “growing” years. 

Another vital function of primary teeth is holding space and guiding the permanent teeth in place. Baby teeth have relatively thin enamel (hard outer-layer of teeth) and large pulps compared with adult teeth, and can become decayed and infected (abscessed) easily. Infected baby teeth can damage your child’s adult (permanent) teeth that are developing below them. Healthy, decay-free primary teeth create a healthy environment for your child’s permanent teeth and reduce the chance for tooth decay. Dental decay is the number one cause of missed school for children. Give your child a healthy self-esteem with a healthy, beautiful smile.

When Should My Child First Visit the Dentist?

To ensure good dental health and to prevent any potential dental problems, children should visit a dentist when their first tooth appears, usually between 6 and 12 months old, or no later than his/her first birthday.

When Can I Expect My Child’s Teeth?

When your baby was born, all 20 primary teeth were already present and developing in their jawbones. The first tooth to arrive is usually the lower front incisor, which usually erupts into the mouth at around 6 months of age, but could be earlier or later. There are even a very few babies born with lower front teeth, they are called natal teeth.

What Should I Do When My Child Is Teething?

Be prepared to deal with your child’s first oral event – teething! It usually happens without a problem and is a completely natural occurrence. During the time your infant’s teeth start to come out, your child may become restless and fretful. Your baby may also start to salivate excessively and exhibit the desire to put hands and fingers into his/her mouth. Relieve your baby with a clean teething ring, chilled teething ring, cool spoon, cold wet washcloth or toothbrush. If your infant has a fever, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort or other unusual problem, it may not be related to teething. In that case, consult your family physician as soon as possible to rule out any other common diseases and conditions of infancy.

What to do About Pacifiers or Thumb Sucking?

Thumb sucking is a habit that often starts while your child is still in the womb. It is a natural instinct that helps prepare your infant for nursing. Infants and young children often use thumbs, fingers, pacifiers or other available objects to satisfy their sucking needs (non-nutritive sucking habits). This can give your child a sense of security, happiness, and relaxation that can even lull them to sleep.

Most children quit their thumb/pacifier sucking by age 3, or at least by school age (due to peer pressure). At this stage, any dental problems (tooth movement, jaw-shape changes) that have resulted from your child’s sucking habit will usually correct on its own. If your child’s thumb sucking or pacifier use continues past 4 years of age (or when permanent teeth arrive), full self-correction is far less likely, and there are possibly other issues that are perpetuating the habit that should be explored. Stress may exacerbate the thumb-sucking problem, thus scolding your child for thumb sucking is not recommended. It is better to use positive reinforcement to motivate your child to quit the habit. Finding and eliminating the source of stress can also be really helpful.

What Kind of Diet is Safe/Best For Teeth?

Eating a balanced diet that includes all food groups and limiting servings of sugars and starches aid in preventing tooth decay. Cheese, milk, plain yogurt, calcium-fortified tofu, leafy greens and almonds, are foods that may benefit oral health because of the high amounts of calcium and other nutrients they provide. Protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish, milk and eggs are the best sources of phosphorus. Both calcium and phosphorus play a critical role in dental health, by protecting and rebuilding tooth enamel. Fruits and vegetables are good choices for a healthy mouth since they are high in water and fiber, which balances the sugars they contain and help to clean the teeth. These foods also help stimulate saliva production, which washes harmful acids and food particles away from teeth and helps neutralize acid, protecting teeth from decay. Additionally, many contain vitamin C (important for healthy gums and wound healing) and vitamin A ( key nutrient in building tooth enamel).

Research shows that there is a strong relationship between diet and oral health. A well balanced diet plays a major role in the prevention of gum disease and tooth decay. Teaching children good health habits early on will lead to a lifetime of healthy living.

What Are Sealants and How Do They Work?

Sealants are thin, plastic coatings placed on the chewing surface of teeth. The coating flows into the crevasses of teeth to prevent food particles from getting stuck on the chewing surface of teeth to prevent cavities from forming. The sealant material that 3 Rivers Pediatric Dentistry uses does not contain BPA, like some sealant materials.

What Should I Do If My Child Falls and Knocks Out a Tooth?

First thing is to stay calm. If a baby tooth has been knocked out, you DO NOT replace it. You should still contact your dentist to have your child’s mouth evaluated to make sure that no other damage has been done to surrounding teeth. If a permanent tooth has been knocked out, the tooth SHOULD be replaced. Call your dentist immediately to be seen, if you feel comfortable then the tooth should be rinsed off, preferably with saliva or milk, and placed back into the socket. If you do not feel comfortable replacing the tooth, store it in milk or saliva and try to get to a dentist as soon as possible.

Are Dental x-rays Safe?

There is very little risk with dental x-rays. We evaluate the need for x-rays before each appointment, and base it on your child’s age, caries risk assessment, and dental development. We are extremely careful to limit the amount of unnecessary x-rays that your child receives. We use digital radiographs to minimize the amount of radiation.

Contact Us

Patient Forms

Save yourself some time! Here are some links to download commonly-needed forms that require processing prior to your visit.