Napa Pediatric Dentistry, Angie Ring DDS
expand   How should I clean my baby's mouth?
For an infant, a wet washcloth can be used to clean the gum tissue and will allow your child to slowly become accustomed to a daily regimen. Once children have teeth, a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head, preferably one designed specifically for infants, should be used at least once a day at bedtime. Brushing at least once a day, at bedtime, will remove plaque and bacteria that can lead to decay.
expand   At what age should my child have his/her first dental visit?
In order to prevent dental problems, your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, which is usually between 6 and 12 months of age, or no later than his/her first birthday.
expand   Why should my child see a pediatric dentist instead of our regular family dentist?
Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. Following dental school, a pediatric dentist has two to three years of specialty training and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.
expand   When do the first teeth start to erupt?
On average, the two lower front teeth (central incisors) begin to erupt around 6 months of age, followed shortly by the two upper central incisors. The remainder of the baby teeth appear during the next 18 to 24 months but not necessarily in an orderly sequence from front to back. Around 2-3 years, all 20 primary teeth should be present. Some children begin erupting teeth much earlier and some much later.
expand   My child appears to be teething - what can I do?
Sore gums, unfortunately, are a normal part of the eruption process. The discomfort can be eased for some children with a frozen washcloth, a cold teething ring, teething biscuits or even a wet toothbrush. You may also use medications such as Orajel, to alleviate pain when eating - use such medications judiciously.
expand   Are thumb sucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child's teeth?
Sucking is a natural reflex that relaxes and comforts babies and toddlers. Most children stop these habits on their own between the ages of two and four, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of four, your pediatric dentist may give suggestions using positive reinforcement to help your child stop the habit. If the habit continues as the permanent teeth are about to erupt, a mouth appliance may be recommended.
expand   What type of toothpaste is recommended for my child?
Fluoridated toothpaste should be introduced when a child is 2-3 years of age. Prior to that, parents should clean the child's teeth with water, or fluoride-free training toothpaste if desired, and a soft-bristled toothbrush. When toothpaste is used after age 2-3, parents should supervise brushing and make sure the child uses no more than a pea-sized amount on the brush.
expand   What are dental sealants and why are they used?
Sealants are clear or shaded resin material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of teeth to help keep them cavity-free. Sealants fill in the grooved and pitted surfaces of the teeth, which are difficult to clean well and shuts out food particles that could get caught in the teeth, causing cavities. Fast and comfortable to apply, sealants can effectively protect teeth for many years.
expand   How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride?
Fluoride has been shown to dramatically decrease a person's chances of getting cavities by making teeth stronger. Fluoride in drinking water is the best and easiest way to get it, and it offers both topical and systemic benefits. If you are concerned that your child may not be getting a sufficient amount of fluoride, have your pediatric dentist evaluate the fluoride level of your child's primary source of drinking water. If your child is not getting enough fluoride internally through water then your pediatric dentist may prescribe fluoride supplements.
expand   Can I help protect my child's teeth during sporting events?
Soft plastic mouth guards should be a top priority on your child's list of sports equipment. They are used to protect a child's teeth, lips, cheeks and gums from sport related injuries. While stock mouth guards do offer some protection, a custom-fitted mouth guard developed by a pediatric dentist will offer better protection for your child from injuries to the teeth, face and even provide protection from severe injuries to the head.
expand   How safe are dental X-rays?
With contemporary safeguards, the amount of radiation received in a dental x-ray examination is extremely small. While the risk is small, pediatric dentists are particularly careful to limit the amount of radiation to which children are exposed. Our office also employs digital radiography, which offers the advantage of an 80% reduction in radiation.
expand   What causes tooth decay?
Four things are necessary for cavities to form - a tooth, bacteria, sugars or other carbohydrates, and time. Dental plaque is a thin, sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria that constantly forms on everyone's teeth. When you eat, the sugars in your food cause the bacteria in plaque to produce acids that attack the tooth enamel. With time and repeated acid attacks, the enamel breaks down and a cavity forms.
expand   Do cavities in baby teeth really need to be filled?

It is very important to maintain the health of primary or "baby" teeth. Primary teeth not only help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt and they permit the normal development of the jaw bones and musculature. Primary molars may be necessary until a child is 12 years old or longer - neglected cavities can cause pain and infection and can also lead to problems which affect the developing permanent teeth. Proper care of baby teeth is instrumental in enhancing the health of your child.