Pediatric Dentistry

 of Pittsburgh

724-224-0790

1600 Pacific Avenue - Natrona Heights, PA 15065  map

609 Epsilon Drive - RIDC PARK - Fox Chapel, PA 15238 map

Ryan P. Shaw, DMD  •  David W. Selvig, DDS

Certified Pediatric Dental Specialists

Nandita Pearce DMD, MS, MSD

Orthodontist

Frequently Asked Questions

 

When should I take my child to the dentist for the first check-up?

In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday.  Please keep in mind most children will not tolerate cleanings and other treatments until perhaps three or four years of age.  If you have any questions as to whether or not your child is ready to be seen please contact the office for guidance.

 

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?

Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.

 

Are baby teeth really that important to my child?

Primary, or "baby," teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt.  Primary teeth are affected by caries (cavities) and infection just as permanent teeth.  Not treating these conditions in the primary dentition can lead to adverse health outcomes and a diminished quality of life.

 

What should I do if my child has a toothache?

First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Give the child your over the counter pain reliever of choice for any pain, rather than placing aspirin on the teeth or gums. Finally, see a dentist as soon as possible.

 

Are thumbsucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child's teeth?

Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist.

 

How can I prevent decay caused by nursing?

Avoid nursing children to sleep or putting anything other than water in their bed-time bottle. Also, learn the proper way to brush and floss your child's teeth. Take your child to a pediatric dentist regularly to have his/her teeth and gums checked. The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child's first birthday.

 

How do I make my child's diet safe for his teeth?

Make sure your child has a balanced diet, including one serving each of: fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products, and meat fish and eggs. Limiting the servings of sugars and starches will also aid in protecting your child's teeth from decay. You can also ask your pediatric dentist to help you select foods that protect your children's teeth.

 

Toothpaste: when should we begin using it and how much should we use?

The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. Parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Once children are 3 to 6 years old, then the amount should be increased to a pea-size dollop and perform or assist your child’s toothbrushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively.  Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.

 

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

Soft plastic mouthguards can be used to protect a child's teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sport related injuries. A custom-fitted mouthguard developed by a pediatric dentist will protect your child from injuries to the teeth, face and even provide protection from severe injuries to the head.

 

How safe are dental X-rays?

There is very little risk in dental X-rays. Pediatric dentists are especially careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. Lead aprons and high-speed digital film are used to ensure safety and minimize the amount of radiation.