What is a pediatric dentist?

A pediatric dentist is a dental specialist who has received two to three extra years of training after dental school to learn how to properly care for the oral health of infants, children and teenagers.

Why are primary teeth important?

The health of the primary (baby) teeth often affects the health of the permanent teeth. Primary teeth also aid in proper chewing and eating, normal development of the jaw bones and muscles, proper speech and pronunciation, and providing space into which the permanent teeth can emerge. Healthy primary teeth also give children beautiful smiles and boost their self-esteem.

When do children’s teeth erupt?

Teeth actually begin forming before birth and may begin to push through the gums as early as 4 months. All 20 primary teeth have usually erupted by about age 3. Permanent teeth begin appearing around age 6 and may continue erupting until about age 21. Adults have 28 permanent teeth. If the wisdom teeth are included, they have 32.

What do I do if my child has a dental emergency?


Clean the area of the affected tooth. Use floss and rinse thoroughly to dislodge any food that may be stuck in the area. You may use cold compresses or ice packs to reduce swelling. Do not place aspirin or heat on the gums or the tooth. If pain persists, contact our office.

Cut or Bitten Tongue, Lip or Cheek

Apply ice or a cold compress to injured areas to reduce swelling. If your child is bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure with a cloth or gauze. If bleeding does not stop or cannot be controlled, contact your child’s pediatrician or visit the emergency room.

Knocked-Out Baby Tooth

This is not usually an emergency, and in many cases, no treatment is necessary. Contact our office during business hours for more information or to make an appointment with our pediatric dentists.

Chipped or Fractured Baby Tooth

Call our office to speak with our pediatric dentists about any restorative treatments your child may need.

Chipped or Fractured Permanent Tooth

Contact University Pediatric Dentistry as soon as possible. Quick action can save your child’s tooth, prevent your child from developing an infection and help avoid the need for extensive dental treatment. If possible, locate and save any broken tooth fragments and bring them with you to our office. You may also use a cold compress or ice pack to reduce swelling, and rinse your child’s mouth with water.

Severe Blow to the Head

Take your child to the nearest emergency room immediately.

Possible Broken or Fractured Jaw

Keep your child’s jaw from moving and take him or her to the nearest emergency room.

Are dental X-rays safe?

Dental X-rays, or radiographs, are a vital and necessary part of the dental diagnostic process, and they often allow our pediatric dentists to detect problems that would not otherwise be visible during your child’s examination. We are careful to minimize the risk of radiation exposure to our patients. Contemporary safeguards and digital radiography have greatly reduced the amount of radiation exposure produced during X-rays, and modern equipment filters out unnecessary X-rays and restricts the X-ray beam to the area of interest.

What toothpaste should my child use?

Use an ADA®-recommended toothpaste. Toothpastes recommended by the ADA have undergone testing to ensure that they are safe.

For children under 2, use only a tiny smear of toothpaste. Children age 2 and older should use a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. Encourage children to spit out toothpaste after brushing.

My child grinds his or her teeth at night. What do I do?

Bruxism, or the grinding of teeth, can often be a cause of concern for parents. Most cases of pediatric bruxism do not require treatment. If excessive wear of the teeth or TMJ (jaw joint) problems are present, then our pediatric dentists may recommend a night guard.

Most children outgrow bruxism and stop grinding by about age 9-12.

How do I stop my child sucking his or her thumb?

Sucking is a natural reflex, and many children suck on their thumbs, fingers, pacifiers or other objects to feel more secure and relaxed. However, thumb sucking beyond age 3-4 may cause developmental problems with the mouth and tooth alignment. University Pediatric Dentistry offers habit correction appliances to help your child break their finger-sucking habit.

Here are a few suggestions to help your child break this habit:

  • Children often suck their fingers when feeling insecure. Find and correct the cause of anxiety.
  • Provide comfort for your child as an alternative to allowing them to find comfort in finger sucking.
  • Reward your child when they do not suck their fingers when distressed or uncomfortable.
  • Have your child meet with our pediatric dentists to encourage them to stop sucking.
  • Bandage or put a sock on the hand at night as a reminder not to suck on their fingers.

What is pulp therapy?

Pulp therapy, or pulpotomy, is a root canal for children. When the interior of the tooth is infected, a pulpotomy may be recommended to remove the diseased pulp tissue and restore the tooth.

What is the best time for orthodontic treatment?

Children should receive an initial orthodontic screening by age 7. An orthodontist will be able to help you determine if your child requires early treatment, the type of treatment they should receive and when treatment should begin.

If you have any additional questions about general pediatric dental care in Charlotte, North Carolina, that have not been addressed here, please feel free to contact our office today at 704-688-1664. Dr. M. Danielle Funny, Dr. Sonya Maynor and our team are happy to answer any questions you have.

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