General Information

When should my child first see a dentist?

“First visit by first birthday” sums it up. Your child should visit a pediatric dentist when the first tooth comes in, usually between six and twelve months of age. Early examination and preventive care will protect your child’s smile now and in the future.

Why so early? What dental problems could a baby have?

The most important reason is to begin a thorough prevention program. Dental problems can begin early. A big concern is Early Childhood Caries (also know as baby bottle tooth decay or nursing caries). Your child risks severe decay from using a bottle during naps or at night or when they nurse continuously from the breast.

The earlier the dental visit, the better the chance of preventing dental problems. Children with healthy teeth chew food easily, learn to speak clearly and smile with confidence. Start your child now on a lifetime of good dental habits.

When should bottle feeding be stopped?

Children should be weaned from the bottle at 12-14 months of age.

Should I worry about thumb and finger sucking?

Thumb sucking is perfectly normal for infants; most stop by age 2. If your child does not, discourage it after age 4. Prolonged thumb sucking can create crowded, crooked teeth, or bite problems. We would be glad to suggest ways to address a prolonged thumb sucking habit.

Tooth Decay

How can I prevent tooth decay from bottle or nursing?

Encourage your child to drink from a cup as they approach their first birthday. Children should not fall asleep with a bottle. At will nighttime breast-feeding should be avoided after the first primary (baby) teeth begins to erupt. Drinking juice from a bottle should be avoided. When juice is offered, it should be in a cup.

When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?

The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush and water. Remember that most small children do not have the dexterity to brush their teeth effectively. Unless it is advised, do not use fluoridated toothpaste until age 2-3.

Which Toothbrush

What type of toothbrush should I get for my child?

Get your child used to regular oral care with a suitable children’s toothbrush as early as possible. As the gums are thin during the first years of life, the toothbrush should have soft bristles and a narrow, cushioned toothbrush head to help prevent injury caused by the toothbrush head inadvertently jabbing the inside of the child’s mouth during brushing. The toothbrush should be easy for the parent to maneuver, as your child will need your help. The use of a special caregiver brush is a good idea, as children learn by imitating their parents.

Fluoride Supplements

Does my baby need fluoride supplements?

That depends on your baby’s risk for tooth decay and the amount of fluoride currently being ingested. For example, breast milk does not contain fluoride. If yours is an exclusively breast-fed baby over 6 months age, you’ll want to talk with us about fluoride supplements. Also, infant formulas vary in the amount of fluoride in them depending on the type: ready-to-feed or mixed with water.

Can too much fluoride be harmful?

Fluorosis, a discoloration of the teeth ranging from white specks to brown stains, can occur when fluoride is consumed in excessive amounts. The greatest risk for fluorosis is between 2 and 3 years of age, when developing permanent teeth are still under the gums.

To prevent excessive fluoride ingestion, only use a thin smear of toothpaste on your child’s tooth brush. Over the counter fluoride mouth rinses are not recommended for children under the age of 6.


What should I expect when my child is teething?

Symptoms of teething are usually seen four days before a tooth erupts, the day of eruption, and the following three days. They include: increased biting, drooling, sucking, gum rubbing, facial rash, decreased appetite, irritability, wakefulness, ear rubbing, and mild temperature elevation. Teething ring, cold washcloth to bite on, and non-aspirin analgesics may help comfort your child during teething.

Symptoms of a potentially serious illness, such as a high or persistent fever, should not be attributed to teething. Call your pediatrician if your baby is experiencing these symptoms.

Any advice on teething?

From six months to age 3, your child may have sore gums when teeth erupt. Many children like a clean teething ring, cool spoon, or cold wet washcloth. Some parents swear by a chilled ring; others simply rub the baby’s gums with a clean finger.


What should I do if my child’s baby tooth is knocked out?

Call Children’s Dentistry at 714-546-9999 as soon as possible. DO NOT REPLANT THE TOOTH.

What should I do if my child’s adult tooth is knocked out?

Locate the tooth and rinse it gently in cool water only (DO NOT SCRUB IT). Do not hold the tooth by its roots. If possible, replace the tooth in its socket and hold it with a clean gauze or cloth (best option) OR…

    • Option 2- store the tooth in a clean container with milk OR…
    • Option 3- store the tooth in a clean container of water or saline water

The tooth needs to be stabilized by one of our doctors as soon as possible. If the tooth is replanted and stabilized within 30 minutes the survival rate of the tooth is 90 percent, 30-60 minutes the survival rate is 75 percent.

What do I do for a chipped or broken tooth?

Rinse the mouth with clean cool water. Apply direct pressure to the bleeding area with a clean cloth. If swelling is present, apply a cold compress. Call Children’s Dentistry as soon as possible.

What can I do for my child’s toothache?

DO NOT put heat or aspirin on the tooth. Give your child children’s Tylenol for pain and call Children’s Dentistry as soon as possible.

What if I suspect a broken jaw?

Do not move the jaw. Secure the jaw in place by tying a handkerchief around the jaw and over the top of the head. Go to the emergency room at the hospital.

Post Surgical Instructions

Port Surgical Instructions

After your child has a tooth extracted, they may be biting on gauze. This is because we want him/her to keep pressure on the extraction site.


Activity: control activity for at least two hours after extractions. Vigorous play may start bleeding.


Diet: encourage cool, clear liquids and soft foods for the first day. Your child may resume normal diet in 24 hours.

    • DO NOT drink from straws.
    • DO NOT vigorously rinse.
    • DO NOT eat hot soups or liquids.
    • DO NOT eat spicy foods.

      Suggested diet:

        • milk shakes (no straws)
        • diet yogurt
        • eggs
        • oatmeal
        • mashed potatoes
        • jello
        • pasta
        • applesause
        • contact us for more.

      Bleeding: it is normal for some oozing to take place. The salive may be pink in color. If bleeding persists, apply pressure with gauze or a wet tea bag for 30 minutes.

      If black pellets are in place where removed, these are to control bleeding and keep food from entering while the extraction site heals. They will shrink by themselves. It is okay if they fall out or are accidentally swallowed.


      Pain: every patient responds to treatment differently. Usually Tylenol for children is sufficient to manage pain. NO ASPIRIN.


      Oral care: the teeth should be brushed normally except in the area of the extraction. On the day after the extraction, non vigorous rinsing may be done three times a day with warm salt water (1 teaspoon per 8 ounces of warm water).


      Notify our office if any of the following occurs:

        • Heavy bleeding after two hours.
        • Severe pain after 24 hours.
        • Fever above 101F.

          Post Anesthetic Patient Instructions

          Your child has received a local anesthetic. In addition to blocking sensation from the teeth, the anesthetic “numbs” the lips, cheeks and tongue in the area of treatment. This may be a puzzling or curious sensation for a youngster, but care must be taken that your child does NOT bite, such or chew his lips or tongue, or laceration (rawness) of the tissues could occur. While this is not serious, it is most uncomfortable.

          Therefore, please watch your child closely for approximately one hour and have him/her avoid eating until the anesthetic has “worn off”.