What should I do if my child has a toothache?
First, rinse the irritated area with warm salt water and place a cold compress on the face if it is swollen. Give the child acetaminophen for any pain, rather than placing aspirin on the teeth or gums. Finally, see a dentist as soon as possible.
What’s the Best Toothpaste for my Child?
Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. Parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Once children are 3 to 6 years old, then the amount should be increased to a pea-size dollop and perform or assist your child’s toothbrushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.
If you notice any of these signs, consult an AAO orthodontist:
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Difficulty in chewing or biting
- Mouth breathing
- Jaws that shift or make sounds
- Speech difficulties
- Biting the cheek or the roof of the mouth
- Facial imbalance
- Grinding or clenching of teeth
My child doesn’t seem to be able to close her mouth all the way. Is that a problem?
It could be. When a person can’t comfortably keep their lips together when the mouth is closed and at rest, the condition is called “lip incompetence.” This can affect facial muscles, which could alter facial development. There may be problems with swallowing, jaw joint function, and the way teeth come in. See an AAO orthodontist for an evaluation.
It seems like my child’s permanent teeth are late coming in. Should we see the dentist or the orthodontist?
See an AAO orthodontist to learn whether there is a reason your child’s permanent teeth are late coming in. Orthodontists look at teeth differently than your dentist does. Something may be blocking the path of unerupted permanent teeth, they may be missing, or it may simply be that your child is on his/her own schedule and there’s nothing to worry about. To see an orthodontic specialist, you do not need a referral from your general or pediatric dentist.