Frequently Asked Questions

Use topic links below to access and read answers from Children's Dentistry for frequently asked questions regarding pediatric dental care.

For more information about Pediatric Dental FAQs or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Wilkerson, please use our Contact Us form or call our office in Charleston, WV at Charleston Office Phone Number Charleston Office Phone Number Charleston Office Phone Number 304-345-0541.

Diet and Cavity Prevention | Tooth Loss | Dental Sealants | Mouth Guard


Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Diet & Cavity Prevention

What is an appropriate diet for my child?

It is important that your child receives a naturally-balanced diet that includes the important nutrients your child needs in order to grow. A daily diet should includes the major food groups of meat/fish/eggs, vegetable/fruit, bread/cereal as well as milk and other dairy products.

Can my child’s diet affect their dental health?

Absolutely. It is important that you initiate a balanced diet for your child so that their teeth develop appropriately. In addition, this will positively affect healthy gum tissue surrounding the teeth. Please note that a diet high in sugar and other forms of carbohydrates may increase the probability of tooth decay.

How do I create a diet that is safe for my child’s teeth?

As we stated earlier, initiate a balanced diet. Analyze the frequency in which starch- based foods are eaten. These types of foods include breads, pasta, potato chips, etc. In addition, sugar is found in more than just candy. All types of sugars can promote tooth decay. For example, most milk-based products contain sugar. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich is a favorite for bagged lunches. Unfortunately, it includes sugar not only in the jelly, but also in the peanut butter. For less sugar and more flavor and nutrients, try replacing jelly with fresh fruit slices (apples, pears, or bananas) or chopped dried fruit. Go easy on the peanut butter, though — it’s high in fat. Choose the “no-salt-added” kind for less sodium.

Should I eliminate all sugar and starch from my child’s diet?

Of course not. Many of these foods are incredibly important to your child’s health. Starch- based foods are much safer to eat for teeth when eaten with an entire meal. Foods that stick to teeth are also more difficult to wash away by water, saliva, or other drinks. It’s important that you talk to our staff about your child’s diet and to maintain proper dental care.

What helpful information can you give me regarding tooth decay in infants?

Most importantly, don’t nurse your children to sleep. Do not put them to bed with a bottle of milk, juice, or formula. When a child is sleeping, any liquid that remains in the mouth can support the bacteria that produce acid and harm the teeth. A simple pacifier or bottle of water is fine.


Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Tooth Loss

What should I do if my child’s baby tooth is knocked out?

Contact our office as soon as possible.

What should I do if my child’s permanent tooth is knocked out?

Rinse the knocked out tooth in cool water. Do not scrub the tooth. If possible, replace the tooth in the socket and hold it there with clean gauze. If you can’t put the tooth back into the socket, place the tooth in a container of milk (or water if milk is not available.) Call and come to our office immediately: Charleston Office Phone Number 304-345-0541. Feel free to call our emergency number if it is after hours. The tooth has a better chance of being saved if you act immediately.

What should I do if my child’s tooth is fractured or chipped?

Contact our office as soon as possible: Charleston Office Phone Number 304-345-0541. Time is of the essence! Our goal is to save the tooth and prevent infection. Rinse the mouth out with water and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. It’s possible that if you can find the broken tooth fragment, it can be bonded back to the tooth.

What do I do if my child has a toothache?

Call our office immediately to schedule an appointment. Treatment will be determined once an x-ray is taken and an exam performed.

How can we prevent dental injuries?

Simple. Sport-related dental injuries can be reduced or prevented by wearing mouth guards. We have mouth guards that are perfect for children of all sizes and children in braces. Child proofing your home can help reduce injuries at home. In addition, regular dental check ups will contribute to preventative care


Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Tooth Sealants

What are dental (tooth) sealants?

Tooth sealant refers to a plastic that a dentist bonds into the grooves of the chewing surface of a tooth as a means of helping prevent the formation of tooth decay.

How do sealants work?

In many cases, it is nearly impossible for children to clean the tiny grooves between their teeth. When a sealant is applied, the surface of the tooth is somewhat flatter and smoother. There are no longer any places on the chewing part of the tooth that the bristles of a toothbrush can’t reach and clean. Since plaque can be removed more easily and effectively, there is much less chance that decay will start.

What is the life expectancy of tooth sealants?

The longevity of sealants varies. Sealants that have remained in place for three to five years would be considered successful, however, sealants can last much longer. It is not uncommon to see sealants placed during childhood still intact on the teeth of adults. Our office will check your child’s sealants during routine dental visits and will recommend repair or reapplication when necessary.

Which teeth should be sealed?

Any tooth that shows characteristics of developing decay should be sealed. The most common teeth for a dentist to seal are a child’s back teeth. The recommendation for sealants should be considered on a case-by-case basis and include consideration of tooth anatomy, patient’s oral hygiene, patient’s diet, and patient’s risk for decay.

What is the procedure for placing sealants?

Generally the procedure takes just one visit. Placing dental sealants can be a very easy process. The tooth is cleaned, conditioned, and dried. The sealant is then flowed onto the grooves of the tooth where it is hardened with a special blue light and then buffed. All normal activities can occur directly after the appointment.

How important is brushing and flossing after sealants are applied?

It is just as important for your child to brush and floss their teeth. Sealants are only one part of the defensive plan against tooth decay.

How much does it cost?

This treatment is quite affordable, especially when you consider the value of protection against tooth decay. Most dental insurance companies cover sealants. Sealant are the best treatment for your child’s teeth and some insurances may even cover a portion of the cost. Check with your insurance company about your child’s coverage.


Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Mouth Guards

What is a mouth guard?

A mouth guard is comprised of soft plastic. They come in standard or custom fit to adapt comfortably to the upper teeth.

Why is a mouth guard important?

A mouth guard protects the teeth from possible sport injuries. It does not only protect the teeth, but the lips, cheeks, tongue, and jaw bone as well. It can contribute to the protection of a child from head and neck injuries such as concussions. Most injuries occur to the mouth and head area when a child is not wearing a mouth guard.

When should my child wear a mouth guard?

It should be worn during any sport-based activity where there is risk of head, face, or neck injury. Such sports include hockey, soccer, karate, basketball, baseball, skating, skateboarding, as well as many other sports. Most oral injuries occur when children play basketball, baseball, and soccer.

How do I choose a mouth guard for my child?

Choose a mouth guard that your child feels is comfortable. If a mouth guard feels bulky or interferes with speech to any great degree, it is probably not appropriate for your child.

There are many options in mouth guards and our office can help provide your child with a custom mouth guard or a standard fit mouth guard.

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