7 Pediatric Dentistry FAQS

There’s no such thing as a silly question when it comes to your child’s oral health. In fact, that “silly” question you might be too embarrassed to ask has probably popped into the minds of every other parent out there. We are here to hopefully answer many of those questions, but if you have a question that doesn’t get answered please let us know. 

You can call any of our office locations and talk to a front desk receptionist or book an appointment with one of our Pediatric Dentists at Snodgrass-King Dentistry.


1. What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?

Family dentists are similar to general dentists, although general dentists usually specify an age range for their patients. Family dentists will see patients of all ages, but only treat and perform certain types of conditions and procedures. Both family dentists and general dentists often refer patients to specialists for more severe problems.

Pediatric dentists undergo an additional 2-3 years of training to their 4 years of dental school after receiving their undergraduate degree. This extra training enables pediatric dentists to identify and treat problems specific to children, such as thumb sucking. This training also provides them with knowledge and skills on how to treat children with special needs. Learn more about our specially trained pediatric dentists at Snodgrass-King.


2. Are thumb-sucking and pacifier habits harmful to my child’s teeth?

The short answer to this question is yes. Prolonged thumb-sucking and pacifier habits have been linked to issues, such as jaw misalignment and slanted teeth. But don’t be too concerned about it quite yet. 

Thumb-sucking is a natural habit for the majority of babies and young children. And generally, by the age of 4 children will break the habit on their own. This habit will not affect your child’s tooth development or oral health in the long run if the habit is broken before their permanent teeth begin to emerge. However, we recommend starting breaking the habit if you notice your child still sucking their thumb at the age of 3. Of course, if you notice anything concerning or major abnormalities, consult with a pediatric dentist. 


3. When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?

As soon as the first baby tooth emerges, you should start brushing your child’s teeth. Make sure the bristles are extra soft and use no more than a rice-grain size smear of fluoride toothpaste. When it comes to cleaning their gums, try using a soft, damp cloth, or even a soft rubber or silicone finger brush. 


4. At what age should my child’s first dental appointment be?

We recommend bringing your child into their first dental appointment between six months and a year. There’s no need to bring your child in if their first baby tooth has yet to emerge, but the earlier you can bring them in the better. This allows your baby and you to start building rapport with your pediatric dentist. It is not uncommon for some children to be skeptical or scared of the dentist. So the earlier you can bring your child in for their first appointment, the sooner they will start to feel comfortable. 

At Snodgrass-King your baby’s first visit is free up to one year old. Book their first appointment with one of our pediatric dentists today and learn more about what to expect during that first visit. 


5. How often should my child visit the dentist?

We believe every child is unique, so their care and treatment should be tailored to their unique needs. Generally, the recommendation is every six months, but depending on your child’s need we may recommend more frequent visits. If they are more prone to oral health risks, or need more frequent visits to build comfort and trust with us we may recommend every 3 months.


6. I’m not sure my child’s teeth are developing properly.

If you read our blog on tooth development last month, then you know that guidelines are helpful but they’re just guidelines. As we’ve said before, all children are unique and their tooth development might be slightly delayed or ahead of time. So don’t worry if your child’s teeth seem to be a couple months off from the guidelines provided by the American Dental Association. If you have any concerns, give us a call and book an appointment with one of our pediatric dentists today.


7. Does my child need fluoride?

Fluoride protects teeth from acid damage and helps reverse early signs of decay. It is highly recommended for all children, especially those under the age of 6. Most children’s toothpaste brands have fluoride included.

Make sure your children are drinking plenty of water and brushing twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste. In fact, most municipal water sources add fluoride to water, so drinking water is especially important.

Additionally, when you bring your child in for their regular cleanings at Snodgrass-King, they will receive a topical fluoride treatment. 


Visit Us Today

There’s no such thing as a silly question. If any of your questions regarding your child’s oral health were not answered, reach out to us a Snodgrass-King today. 

We are open and excited to be seeing patients! Our facilities have been sanitized from floor to ceiling, and we will continue to follow all ADA, CDC, and local health department guidelines. We understand the concern you may have regarding COVID-19 and want you to know that we share those concerns and are ensuring your safety in our offices. For more information on what to expect at your next appointment, visit our website at snodgrassking.com

Snodgrass-King Dental Associates has 5 locations across Middle Tennessee (Mt. Juliet, Franklin, Murfreesboro, and Cool Springs). Contact us today to see if we can help jump-start and be a resource in you or your child’s healthy, dental lifestyle. We offer a variety of services for both children and adults. We can also address any orthodontic needs for children, teens, and adults. If you have any questions, call us today at (615) 771-1111.