What should you do in case of an emergency?

If broken bones or other injuries are suspected, you should first seek care at a hospital emergency room. However, if the nature of the injury is strictly dental in nature, please call any of our offices and our phone message will tell you how to contact a DFK dentist for a quick response.

Toothache

If you are experiencing a toothache:

Clean the area of the affected tooth. Rinse the mouth thoroughly with warm water or use dental floss to dislodge any food that may be impacted. If the pain still exists, contact DFK.  

Do not place aspirin or heat on the gum or on the aching tooth.

Contact DFK if your child has swelling, or if a pimple or boil is present by the tooth gums.

Lost Adult Tooth

For a knocked out permanent tooth:

If possible, find the tooth. Handle it by the crown, not by the root. You may rinse the tooth with water only. DO NOT clean with soap, scrub or handle the tooth unnecessarily.

If it is not broken, try to reinsert it in the socket. Have the patient hold the tooth in place by biting on a gauze.

If you cannot reinsert the tooth, transport the tooth in a cup containing the patient’s saliva or milk. The patient must see a dentist IMMEDIATELY! 

Time is a critical factor in saving the tooth.

Lost Baby Tooth

For a knocked out baby tooth:

Contact DFK during business hours. This is usually not an emergency, and in most cases, no treatment is necessary.

Baby teeth are not re-implanted due to potential damage to the developing permanent tooth.  

Chipped or Fractured Tooth

Quick action can save the tooth!

If it is a permanent tooth, quick action can save the tooth, prevent infection and reduce the need for extensive dental treatment.

Rinse the mouth with water and apply cold compresses to reduce swelling. If possible, locate and save any broken tooth fragments and bring them with you to the dentist.

Oral Cuts

For a cut or bitten tongue, lip or cheek:

Apply ice to injured areas to help control swelling. If there is bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure with a gauze or cloth. If bleeding cannot be controlled by simple pressure, call a doctor, or visit the hospital emergency room.

Head Injuries / Injured Jaw

For severe blows to the head:

Take your child to the nearest hospital emergency room immediately.

Commonly Asked Questions

What is a Pediatric Dentist?

Not every pediatric dentist is certified by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry (ABPD). But ALL of our dentists at Dentistry for Kids are Board Certified or Board Eligible.

Dentists who have obtained their ABPD Certification voluntarily maintain the highest standards of excellence in children’s oral health care. The certification represents a dentist who has successfully completed a Written Qualifying Exam ad an Oral Clinical Exam, achieving the highest level of accredited training and validating his/her knowledge and skills.

In order to maintain the status, certified pediatric dentists must renew their status annually.   Selecting a dentist who is ABPD Certified or Eligible ensures the highest standard of pediatric dental care for your child. 

Why are the Primary Teeth So Important?

Most children have 20 baby teeth, also known as primary teeth.  

The primary teeth serve many purposes including to help children bite and chew the food efficiently and permit normal development of the jaw bones and muscles. They also act as “place-holders” for the permanent teeth.  

If they fall out or need to be extracted before they are ready to fall out naturally, it can affect the way permanent teeth erupt later. The other teeth may drift to fill the space. This increases the chances of having orthodontic treatment in the future.  

Missing teeth can be associated with poor speech, social stresses and other habits.While the front 4 teeth last until 6-7 years of age, the back teeth (cuspids and molars) aren’t replaced until age 10-13.

Eruption of your Child’s Teeth

Children’s teeth begin forming before birth. As early as 4 months, the first primary (or baby) teeth to erupt through the gums are the lower central incisors, followed closely by the upper central incisors.

Although all 20 primary teeth usually appear by age 3, the pace and sequence of their eruption varies. Permanent teeth begin appearing around age 6, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors. This process continues until approximately age 21.

Dental Radiographs (X-Rays)

Radiographs (X-Rays) are important and a necessary part of your child’s dental exam.

Radiographs allow dentists to diagnose and treat health conditions that cannot be detected during a clinical examination. Radiographs detect much more than cavities. For example, radiographs may be needed to evaluate erupting teeth, assess the surrounding bone and jaws, and plan orthodontic treatment. If dental problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable for your child and more affordable for you.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends radiographs and examinations every six months for children with a high risk of tooth decay.

On average, most pediatric dentists request radiographs approximately once a year. 

Pediatric dentists are careful to minimize the exposure of their patients to radiation. With contemporary safeguards, the amount of radiation received in a dental X-ray examination is extremely small. The risk is negligible. High-speed film and proper shielding assure that your child receives a minimal amount of radiation exposure.

What’s The Best Toothpaste?

When looking for a toothpaste for your child, make sure to pick one that is recommended by the American Dental Association (ADA) as shown on the box and tube. These toothpastes have undergone testing to insure they are safe to use.

If your child is too young or unable to spit out toothpaste, use only a “small pea or rice size” amount of toothpaste.

What If An Adult Tooth is Coming In and the Baby Tooth is Still in the Mouth?

This is very common, especially the front lower incisors. If the baby teeth are loose, they may come out own their own within a few weeks.

If the baby teeth are not loose, your dentist may need to extract the baby teeth to allow the adult tooth to grow in its proper location. 

Why Do My Child’s Permanent Teeth Look More Yellow Than the Baby Teeth?

Permanent teeth normally have a more yellowish hue compared to baby “milk” teeth due to the thicker yellow middle dentin layer. This is healthy anatomy.  

Whitening or bleaching is not recommended on these new permanent teeth due to increased sensitivity that may occur.  

Dentistry for Kids dentists are members of the American Dental Association and the Pennsylvania Dental Association.

What makes Dentistry for Kids Pittsburgh one of the best pediatric dental practices in the country? It starts with a team of experienced dentists who specialize in preventive and therapeutic oral health care for children, are highly trained in comprehensive techniques and child behavior management AND who love working with children.

Board Certified, Board Qualified

All of the DFK Dentists are either Board Certified or Board Qualified. 

Dentists who have obtained their ABPD Certification voluntarily maintain the highest standards of excellence in children’s oral health care.

The certification represents a dentist who has successfully completed a Written Qualifying Exam ad an Oral Clinical Exam, achieving the highest level of accredited training and validating his/her knowledge and skills.

Certified pediatric dentists must renew their status annually. Selecting a dentist who is ABPD Certified or Eligible ensures the highest standard of pediatric dental care for your child.

For additional concerns about dental conditions, please contact us as soon as possible. Please read about common dental conditions below.

Missing Teeth

Baby teeth allow for chewing & development of the jaw.

Most children have 20 baby teeth or primary teeth. These serve to help bite and chew food efficiently and permit normal development of the jaw bones and muscles. They also act as “place-holders” for the permanent teeth.  

If they fall out or need to be extracted before they are ready to fall out naturally, it can affect the way permanent teeth erupt later.  

Other teeth may drift to fill the space, increasing the chances of needing future orthodontic treatment. Missing teeth can be associated with poor speech, social stresses and other habits. While the front 4 teeth last until 6-7 years of age, the back teeth aren’t replaced until age 10-13.

Eruption

 Children’s teeth begin forming before birth.

As early as 4 months, the first primary (or baby) teeth to erupt through the gums are the lower central incisors, followed closely by the upper central incisors.

Although all 20 primary teeth usually appear by age 3, the sequence of their eruption varies. Permanent teeth begin appearing around age 6, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors. This process continues until around age 21. 

Tooth Grinding

This is a common childhood condition.

Also known as bruxism is common in children, especially under 7 years old and most commonly while sleeping.  

While children are young, before permanent teeth are present, their bites are flexible and change as they grow. Once the first permanent molars erupt at about 6 years old, the permanent bite begins to establish itself and tooth grinding tends to subside.  

The grinding decreases between the ages 6-9 and children tend to stop grinding between ages 9-12. Typically, no treatment is required. Stress-related grinding is common in middle-school and high-school-aged students, especially during testing or final exams.  

The doctors will monitor your child’s bite as well as chipping and wear patterns on the teeth. A mouth guard may be recommended if grinding persists in the adult permanent teeth. 

Thumb Sucking

Sucking is a very normal and natural experience for young children.

Most children stop thumb, finger or pacifier habits by 2-4 years old.  

In children that continue the habit, the front teeth may tip outward or not come in properly. The amount of time per day and the intensity of the sucking can affect the extent to which the habit will impact your child’s teeth.  

The more intense the sucking is and the more time per day, the more likely your child’s bite and jaw growth will be affected.  

We will closely monitor your child’s teeth and bite. The encouragement from our doctors and as a parent is usually enough to help most children stop their sucking habit.  

If your child needs a little extra help, early orthodontic treatment may be necessary depending on each individual child.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Also known as early childhood caries.

Childhood caries are caused by exposures of an infant’s teeth to liquids that contain sugar—milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice, and other sweetened drinks.

Putting a baby to bed with a bottle containing anything other than water can cause serious and rapid tooth decay. Liquid pools around the teeth giving plaque bacteria an opportunity to produce acids that attack tooth enamel.

If you must give the baby a bottle as comfort at bedtime, fill it with water. If your child won’t drink the water, gradually dilute the bottle’s normal beverage contents with water over a period of 2-3 weeks.

After each feeding, wipe the baby’s gums and teeth with a damp washcloth to remove plaque. 

Parents, thank you for trusting DFK with your child’s dental care.

Follow these post operative instructions to help with your child’s care, comfort and recovery. If you have any additional questions, please contact us.

Care of the Mouth After Extractions

Bleeding

Some “oozing” or mild bleeding is expected. If unusual or sustained bleeding occurs, place cotton gauze or tea bag firmly over the extraction area and bite down or hold in place for fifteen minutes. Repeat if necessary.

Pain

Use Children’s Tylenol, Motrin, or Advil, as directed for any discomfort. 

Care of Mouth after Fillings & Crowns

Care of Sealants

Oral Discomfort After a Cleaning

A thorough cleaning produces some bleeding and swelling and may cause discomfort or some tenderness.

This is not due to a “rough cleaning” but, to inflamed gums from insufficient oral hygiene.  

For any soreness:

Care of the Mouth After Trauma

Wondering what to expect during your first visit to Dentistry For Kids?

You can make the first visit to the dentist enjoyable and positive. If your child is old enough, tell him/her about the upcoming visit letting your child know that the dentist and staff will explain all procedures and answer any questions. 

It is best if you refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as “needle”, “shot”, “pull”, “drill” or “hurt.” (DFK Staff make a practice of using words that convey the same message, but are pleasant and non-frightening to the child.)

Our purpose is to gain your child’s confidence and overcome apprehension. 

We invite you to stay with your child during the initial examination. During future appointments, we suggest you allow your child to accompany our staff through the dental experience.

We can usually establish a closer rapport with your child when you are not present. For the safety and privacy of all patients, other children who are not being treated should remain in the reception room with a supervising adult.  

Dental Radiographs (X-rays)

X-Rays are recommended once a year for children.

Radiographs or X-Rays are important and a necessary part of your child’s dental exam.

They allow dentists to diagnose and treat health conditions that can’t be detected during a clinical examination, detecting much more than cavities.

For example, X-rays may be needed to evaluate erupting teeth, assess the surrounding bone and jaws and help plan orthodontic treatment. If problems are found and treated early, dental care is more comfortable for your child and more affordable for you.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends X-rays and exams every 6 months for children with a high risk of tooth decay.

On average, most pediatric dentists request X-rays once a year.  

DFK dentists are careful to minimize the exposure of their patients to radiation. With contemporary safeguards, the amount of radiation received in a dental X-ray examination is extremely small. The risk is negligible. High-speed film and proper shielding assure that your child receives a minimal amount of radiation exposure.

All Children Should Have the Benefit of a Good Dental Experience.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Dental Association both recommend that it should be between the ages of 12 and 15 months. Your child should be seen by a dentist regularly.

First dental visits are very important. They establish good dental hygiene habits. The doctor will check growth and development as well as help to avoid problems in the future. 

Scheduling

Payment & Insurance

Whether you plan to pay out-of-pocket or have insurance benefits, we have options in place to help you finance your child’s dental care.  We are often asked which insurances we accept. The best thing to do is call our office.

We will happily verify your plan and benefits, as well as complete of the paperwork for you.  

Although insurance does help to cover most of the procedures necessary, it rarely covers 100% of treatment. Therefore, we will track insurance payments and let you know if there is a problem or delay. Co-pays are due at the time of your appointment.

All patients are responsible for any amount the insurance doesn’t cover.

Contact & Emergencies

Our staff will begin answering phone calls at 9 a.m. on most days. If you have a question or a non-urgent problem, they will be happy to help you at that time.

If you have an urgent emergency such as trauma to the teeth or facial swelling, the doctor can be reached on the emergency number.

Children’s Hospital has a dentist on call if your problem is too urgent for a return phone call.

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