Early Infant Dental Care

What does nitrous oxide do and how safe is it?

Nitrous oxide (“laughing” or “happy” gas) is used to reduce anxiety in patients. As the patient is more relaxed, he/she is more receptive to treatment. The patient is fully awake while breathing nitrous oxide. It is also removed fairly quickly from the body once the patient breaths normal air with oxygen.

What can you do to help my child be comfortable for his/her dental visits?

Our goal is always to provide excellent dental care in the most enthusiastic and gentle manner so that you child always has a positive experience. Our staff has special training in helping children feel secure during dental treatment. We use different techniques in the office such as “Tell-Show-Do”, “Modeling”, and “Praise” techniques. Infants and some young children may feel more confident when parents stay close during treatment. With older children, doctor-child communication is often enhanced if parents remain in the reception room. For dental treatment we provide topical and local anesthetics, nitrous oxide, IV sedation with an anesthesiologist (deep conscious sedation), or general anesthesia (Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital or Winter Park Hospital). Our pediatric dentists will recommend the best way to attend to your child depending on their needs.

Is it bad for my child to suck their thumb or use a pacifier?

Prolonged thumb sucking (non-nutritive sucking) can cause orthopedic changes in your child. Most children will stop sucking their thumb in the range of 2-4 years of age as they get more active and require both hands for daily activities such as climbing, coloring, etc. If your child continues to suck their thumb past the age of 4 or 5, they will be at a greater risk for dental or speech problems. A pacifier can be recommended for your child if he has a need for “non-nutritive” sucking as this type of habit can be easier to break. We recommend an orthodontic pacifier such as the Nuk Orthodontic Pacifier from Gerber® or the MAM® Orthodontic Pacifiers. We also recommend for your child to cease use of the pacifier by age 3. Talk with your child’s dentist if you are concerned about your child’s thumb sucking or pacifier habit. A good book about thumb sucking is David Decides About Thumbsucking: A Story for Children, A Guide for Parents, by Susan Heitler, Ph.D.

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. Bring your child to our office regularly to have his/her teeth and gums checked. The first dental visit should be scheduled by your child’s first birthday.

What should I use to clean my baby’s teeth?

You can clean his/her teeth with water and a washcloth, a finger toothbrush or a child’s toothbrush with soft bristles. Either one of these options will remove plaque bacteria that can lead to decay. Any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime.

When should my child see the dentist?

“First visit by first birthday” sums it up. Your child should visit the 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.