Pediatric Questions


Are baby teeth really important?

Absolutely! Although baby teeth are eventually lost, they serve several critical functions for your child. Primary (baby) teeth provide proper chewing function, encourage normal development of jaw bones and muscles, are important elements in speech development, and also save proper spacing for permanent teeth.

Sometimes a baby tooth is lost too early. Maybe there was a problem with dental disease or perhaps an accident knocked out a tooth. Anytime a tooth is lost too early, your child’s dentist may recommend a space maintainer.

Are thumb-sucking and pacifier habits harmful?

Generally, children will stop sucking their thumbs or take a pacifier between the ages of 2 and 4. If your child does not stop this behavior on their own, they may require some encouragement from you or seeking the help of your child’s dentist. Damage can begin once permanent teeth are in place and may require intensive treatment if not corrected early on.

What are Sealants?

Many permanent teeth erupt into the mouth with deep pits and grooves on the chewing surface. These deep fissures are difficult or impossible to keep clean with a tooth brush, and they become a natural place for tooth decay to strike a newly erupted tooth!

At West 10th Dental Group, we have found dental sealants to be a safe, painless and low-cost way to help protect your child’s teeth from decay.

A sealant is a thin, plastic, translucent coating bonded to the chewing surfaces of the molars and premolar teeth. This fills in the deep grooves of the teeth and acts as a shield to keep food and bacteria from getting into the tooth.

The dental professionals at West 10th Dental Group will carefully evaluate the teeth of our young patients as they erupt, and we will recommend sealants for the teeth which can benefit from this added preventive measure!

How often should my child see the dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests visiting your dentist every six months, starting at age 1. Problems can develop early on, so establishing a regular dental check-up schedule for your child is very important.

What is tooth decay?

Tooth decay is caused by a thin, white, sticky film called plaque. Plaque constantly accumulates on your teeth and contains harmful bacteria. This bacteria forms acid when combined with the sugars in the foods we eat. This acid attacks tooth enamel. With repeated attacks, decay can set it. If not treated early, the cavity will progress deeper into the tooth. This may cause discomfort, as the center of the tooth (the pulp) contains the nerve of the tooth. If decay continues into the pulp, infection may set in. At a stage of such deep decay, the tooth may require a root canal and/or a crown in order to be saved.

X-Rays help our doctors to discover hidden areas of tooth decay around and between the teeth. The doctor will clean out areas of decay and fill the space with a durable material. Different teeth and location/size of cavities may affect which type of filling is best for you.

By far, the most inexpensive approach to tooth decay is prevention, early detection, and timely treatment. Be sure to visit us regularly for your check-ups and cleanings, and keep up the good work at home!

West 10th is now accepting pediatric Medicaid patients!

Call 317-434-3989 to schedule an appointment today!