Children's Dentistry

Allen Dentist, Dr. Mentesana answers the question, "when should I start brushing my child's teeth?"

Supervision with teeth brushing is recommended until the child has good habits and dexterity. This usually happens in the early grade-school years as they are learning to write and draw. Without the dexterity to do a thorough job, tooth brushing may not be effective.

Allen Dentist, Dr. Mentesana answers the question, "how will I know if my child is going to need braces?"

How will I know if my child needs braces?

Many parents are concerned about if their child will need braces. This is a good questions. After all braces are a big investment. The best way to make sure, is by having your child go to the dentist for regular checkups so that their growth and development is monitored by a professional. That being said, there are some good guidelines to help you know when to ask if it hasn't been mentioned. The easiest thing to look for yourself is crowding. If the teeth are crooked because there is not enough room for them to come in, you may want to ask about it. Early intervention can be done to help with severe crowding. If the teeth have spaces between them early on. This is not a concern. The adult teeth are much larger than the baby teeth and will need the extra room to come in. The more serious orthodontic problems have to do with discrepancies between the size of the lower jaw in relationship to the upper jaw. These are called skeletal malocclusions. The opportunity to intervene with a skeletal malocclusion is before the major growth spurt. Although it varies, the major growth spurt in girls occurs at 11-13 years of age. In boys the growth spurt follows by about 2 years from 13 -15 years. You should have a consultation before this time.

Allen Dentist, Dr. Mentesana answers the question, "when is my child's first tooth going to fall out?"

When is my child's first tooth going to fall out?

This first teeth to fall out are usually the lower front teeth. This happens around 6-7 years of age. It is followed by the upper front two teeth during the same age range, but usually slightly after. Then they work their way back. The child will usually loose a set of 4 teeth each year, first central incisors, then lateral incisors, the primary first molars then primary second molars then finally the canines. They don't usually all come out at once, although several can be loose at the same time. One thing to note: children get their first permanent tooth nicknamed the six year molar before they loose any baby teeth. It comes in behind the last baby molar.

Allen Dentist, Dr. Mentesana answers the question, "is it dangerous for my child to swallow toothpaste?"

Is it dangerous for my child to swallow toothpaste

Toothpaste is not considered safe for small children. If small children are brushing their teeth with toothpaste, it is recommended to not use more than a pea size of toothpaste with fluoride. If you are using a toothpaste without fluoride, still check the ingredients to see if it contains anything that could be harmful. Tooth paste was meant to be spit-back out, not swallowed. Most small children do not understand this concept. The fluoride in toothpaste is considered poisonous if ingested in any considerable amount. It should be kept out of reach of children and pets.

If you think you child has ingested toothpaste, call poison control.