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Frequently Asked Questions

Helping your child build good oral healthcare habits can seem like an overwhelming task at first –thankfully, Dr. Bajjalieh is here to lend a helping hand! Below, you’ll find many of the questions we regularly receive from parents and their respective answers in one convenient location. Don’t hesitate to contact our Homewood, AL practice if you’d prefer to discuss the issue with something directly.

How should I prepare my child for the dentist?

In order to make sure that your child is comfortable in our office from the very beginning, we recommend bringing them in for a “get to know you” visit before their actual checkup. That way, they have a chance to meet Dr. Bajjalieh and our team as well as be exposed to the sights and sounds of the dental office. You should also go over what their appointment will be like, especially pointing out how important it is. If your child has any questions, be sure to answer them honestly. If they seem like they will be nervous, we advise you bring a stuffed animal or toy that will help them feel calm.

How often should my child see a dentist?

We recommend that every child should come in for at least two checkups and cleanings each year in order to prevent the most common dental problems (decay, cavities, gum disease, etc.). Some children may require more depending on their specific needs, but for most, two is enough to keep their smile fully protected year round.

Why are baby teeth important?

Your child’s baby teeth are essential to helping their mouth and jaws grow properly in order to make enough room for their adult teeth to come in straight. They are also important to the development of your child’s ability to eat, speak, and even breathe comfortably. If ignored, issues with the baby teeth can easily cause more for the adult teeth down the line, which is why early-age dental care is so necessary.

How should I care for my baby's teeth?

A toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head, especially one designed for infants, is the best choice for infants. Brushing at least twice a day, flossing at bedtime and eating a healthy diet will remove plaque/bacteria that can lead to decay. It is equally important to visit the dentist twice a year, where we can provide an individualized plan of care for a healthy smile at each visit.

At what age should my child have his/her first dental visit?

"First visit by first birthday" is the general rule. To prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, usually between 6 and 12 months of age and certainly no later than his/her first birthday. You may contact us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Bajjalieh at Alabama Pediatric Dentistry. We are located in Homewood, AL and are convenient to the Birmingham metro area.

Why should my child see a pediatric dentist instead of our regular family dentist?

Pediatric dentistry is a dental specialty that focuses on the oral health of young people. Following dental school, a pediatric dentist has two to three years additional specialty training in the unique needs of infants, children and adolescents, including those with special health needs.

What is the best way to stop oral habits?

For any concerns about an oral habit your child may be experiencing, please contact our office. Whether it be thumbsucking or taking a bottle to bed, we have many options for ways to treat the habit. The sooner the habit can be stopped, the less damage will occur

What are dental sealants and how do they work?

Sealants are clear or shaded plastic that’s applied to the teeth to help keep them cavity-free. Sealants fill in the grooved and pitted surfaces of the teeth, which are hard to clean, and shut out food particles that could get caught and cause cavities. Fast and comfortable to apply, our BPA-Free sealants can effectively protect teeth for many years.

Is it important for my child to use a fluoride toothpaste?

By using no more than a smear or rice-size amount of fluoridated toothpaste for children less than three years of age may decrease risk of fluorosis. For children aged three to six, this amount increases to no more than a pea-size amount of fluoridated toothpaste. So we recommend fluoridated toothpaste (smear for less than 3 years old and an English pea size for 3 and older) according to AAPD guidelines. Children should spit any excess toothpaste or have their mouths wiped out.

How safe are dental X-rays?

With contemporary safeguards, such as lead aprons and digital sensors, the amount of radiation received in a dental X-ray examination is extremely small. Even though there is very little risk, pediatric dentists are particularly careful to minimize the exposure of child patients to radiation. In fact, dental X-rays represent a far smaller risk than an undetected and untreated dental problem.

My child plays sports. How should I protect my child's teeth?

A mouthguard should be a top priority on your child's list of sports equipment. Athletic mouth protectors, or mouth guards, are made of soft plastic and fit comfortably to the shape of the upper teeth. They protect a child's teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sports-related injuries. Any mouthguard works better than no mouthguard, but a custom-fitted mouth guard fitted by our doctor is your child's best protection against sports-related injuries.

When do the first teeth start to erupt?

At about 6 months, the two lower front teeth (central incisors) will erupt, followed shortly by the two upper central incisors. The remainder of the baby teeth appear during the next 18 to 24 months but not necessarily in an orderly sequence from front to back. At 2 to 3 years, all of these 20 primary teeth should be present.

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

First of all, remain calm. If possible, find the tooth and hold it by the crown rather than the root. Replace the tooth in the socket and hold it there with clean gauze or a washcloth. If you can't put the tooth back in the socket, place the tooth in a clean container with milk and take your child and the glass immediately to the pediatric dentist. The faster you act, the better your chances of saving the tooth.

If my child gets a cavity in a baby tooth, should it still be filled?

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. Some of them are necessary until a child is 12 years old or longer. Pain, infection of the gums and jaws, impairment of general health, and the premature loss of teeth are just a few of the problems that can happen when baby teeth are neglected. Also, because tooth decay is really an infection and will spread, decay on baby teeth can cause decay on permanent teeth. Proper care of baby teeth is instrumental in enhancing the health of your child.