Answers to many of our Parents Questions

With so much information available now via the internet and other sources, sometimes our questions are partially answered, other times, we are left asking more questions. If you have any questions about your or your child’s oral health, give us a call, we are here to help your children be successful in their care of their teeth. 253.851.9171.

When should I bring my child in for their first visit?

The earlier the better. Kvinsland Dentistry has found that a “happy visit” around age 3 works best. We will do as much of a cleaning and exam as the child is comfortable with and then follow the child as time goes on. Establishing good dental health habits early, helps for long term dental health.

Why should we restore or place fillings on baby teeth? Won't they just fall out?

It is unwise to leave any amount of decay on baby teeth. Decay can easily move to other baby teeth or even to permanent teeth. It can also cause pain and expensive orthodontic problems that could be avoided. We recommend carefully restoring all decayed teeth, baby and permanent to optimal health.

Why are dentist appointments every six months for children?

Regular visits help a child get comfortable with Dr. Kvinsland and our staff. These visits are important to consistently evaluate your child’s growth and take early corrective measures if needed. Regular exams and cleanings help prevent decay and avoid costly problems later on. Regular dental visits are part of leading a healthy and normal life for your child and establish long term health habits.

My 8-year-old has a large space between his/her two front teeth. Should we be concerned?

Usually there is no need for concern, and the space will close over the next few years as the other front teeth grow into place. We will monitor progress during exams and help you determine if orthodontics may be recommended.

My child has a lot of decay in his/her baby teeth, will he/she have the same problem with permanent teeth?

Your child’s teeth, baby and permanent, will be under the same stresses of eating habits, saliva levels, plaque buildup spots, and other conditions. It is important for your child to maintain a good home health care plan, as well as have regular dental cleanings and checkups, at all ages.

Why do my child's permanent teeth look more yellow than the baby teeth?

Permanent teeth are normally more yellow than primary teeth.

Are dental X-rays safe?

There is very little risk from receiving dental X-rays. Our state-of-the-art technology utilizes a fraction of the radiation used in the past. X-rays are highly valuable to find hidden decay, tumors and determine growth patterns.

Should I protect my child's teeth during sports related activities?

Yes!  We generally recommend that a soft plastic mouth guard should be used to protect a child’s teeth, lips, and cheeks from injuries.

  • If your child plays contact sports, we can create a custom fitted mouth guard.
  • For non-contact sports a soft plastic mouth guard purchased from most sporting goods stores are acceptable.
  • Be sure to clean the mouth guard after each use by brushing it like you would your teeth with a toothbrush and toothpaste, store the mouth guard in a ventilated case.

What should I do if my child knocks out a baby tooth?

If a baby tooth is knocked out, it is best to leave it out or it may damage the permanent tooth below it. Always call us to make sure the whole tooth has come out.

What should I do if my child knocks out a permanent tooth?

The most important thing to do is to remain calm.
If you have the tooth and it appears to be intact:

  • You should attempt to insert it back into its socket and then contact us immediately.
  • Rinse the tooth gently before inserting it.
  • Try not to touch or remove any biologic material from the root surface.
  • If you have difficulty re-inserting the tooth, place it in a glass of milk.
  • Contact us immediately, after hours contact information will be on our message.

If the tooth is missing or shattered:

  • Gather as many of the fragments of the tooth as you can, place it in a glass of milk, and call us immediately.

If the tooth is missing, call us immediately.

If the tooth is chipped or displaced (crooked):
If it is chipped or displaced, you should call us for an evaluation. Try to assess if the child can bite correctly. Always call to be on the safe side.

Anytime there is an injury to the mouth, your should have the child’s teeth examined by a dentist.

Why should my child have fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring element and has been shown to dramatically decrease the chance of getting cavities. Many of our adult patients who grew up with regular dental care and fluoride supplementation have few or no dental problems.

How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride?

Each child’s intake can vary greatly. We recommend discussing this during your child’s exam. If your child’s fluoride intake is insufficient, we may prescribe fluoride supplementation.

What toothpaste is best for my child?

Any toothpaste with fluoride that is recognized by the American Dental Association is recommended. Children under 3 should not generally use a fluoridated toothpaste — use a non-fluoridated infant toothpaste or simply water.

What causes cavities and decay?

Decay is caused by plaque — a thin, sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria that constantly forms on everyone’s teeth. When sugar is eaten, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack the tooth enamel. After repeated acid attacks, the enamel breaks down and a cavity or hole is formed in the tooth.

What if an adult tooth is coming in and the baby tooth is still in the mouth?

This is a very common problem, especially in the front lower incisors. If the teeth are loose, they may come out on their own within a few weeks. If the baby teeth are not loose, your dentist may need to extract the baby teeth. In either case, it is best to come in and have Dr. Kvinsland make sure the best course of action is taken for your child.

When should my child begin to brush her teeth?

  • Brushing should actually begin before children are capable of doing it themselves.
  • A wet cloth or gauze effectively cleans gums and removes plaque after nursing and establishes a good habit early on.
  • Gentle brushing with a soft bristle brush begins with the first tooth and flossing, when most primary teeth are in.
  • At age six or seven, children can brush on their own, with careful supervision. And by eight or nine, they can floss on their own.
  • The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry says “a good rule of thumb is: When children are accomplished enough in caring for their own needs that they can get up, bathe and dress themselves and comb their hair without your help – then they are ready to accept full responsibility for their mouth-cleaning program!”

What are dental sealants?

Dental sealants protect the chewing surfaces of back teeth where most cavities in children are found. Made of clear or shaded plastic, sealants are painted onto the tiny grooves and depressions in the molars. By “sealing out” food and plaque, sealants reduce the risk of decay. They are quickly and painlessly applied to any baby teeth and permanent teeth that, in the dentist’s opinion, are likely to have decay on the biting surface. Sealants must be checked periodically and replaced when necessary, though they generally last for several years.