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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Kid's Dentistry

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Having questions when choosing a dentist is natural! After all, your oral health is an important part of your overall health. Here is a list of some of the most common questions we receive. If you do not see yours listed below, please give us a call. We look forward to hearing from you.

Kid's Dentistry

I like kids to see an orthodontist when their two front top teeth are in and their Two young kids smiling | Dentist Gretna LAsix-year-old molars are present. Many issues are easiest to evaluate at this point and if any treatment needs to be done, this is generally the earliest it will ever be started. At this point, if braces are needed, an orthodontist can evaluate the best time to start. While many orthodontists will not start until a child has lost all of her baby teeth, I would prefer a child to see an orthodontist two or three years too early than to see an orthodontist two or three years too late. 

Girl smiling in swimming pool | Dentist Gretna LA Most kids start losing baby teeth when they are 5 or 6 years old. The first tooth to fall out is generally the lower front tooth followed by the upper front tooth. The adult teeth then start coming in. Usually, the back adult teeth (6-year-old molars) come in around the same time as the lower front teeth. I do warn parents though that these are not hard rules and every child develops differently. As a rule of thumb, most girls lose teeth before boys do. I have had 4-year-old girls lose their front teeth while I've had 9-year-old boys not lose a tooth yet. In both extremes, there is no need to worry as long as all the adult teeth are present. If the adult teeth are not present, then I recommend that an orthodontist evaluate the child to look at the need for braces.

The first thing to do is to calm down your child so that you can take a look and see what has happened. Teeth that get hurt badly can be sensitiveYoung girl being held by mother | Dentist Gretna LA to touch or be broken, and the gums can bleed a little. If the tooth is broken, try to find the broken piece as it can possibly be reattached. Also, the lips and inside of the cheeks can be cut by the sharp edges of the teeth. To try to "self-diagnose" the problem, a good reference that Dr. Schafer uses is The Dental Trauma Guide. This website is extremely detailed, and although it's mainly meant for dentists, most lay people can understand it as it is well laid out and has well-labeled pictures.

Make an Emergency Dental Appointment

 If your dentist is open, you should call to make an appointment as soon as possible. If you believe that your child needs immediate attention and it is after hours, you should take your child to New Orleans Children's Hospital as generally, a pediatric dentist is on call or another local children's hospital that has a dental clinic associated with it. Thankfully, as kids generally heal well and the mouth probably heals faster than any other area in the body, most trauma can be handled with little long-term consequences. 

Child sitting in dental chair near dentist | Dentist Gretna LA At NOLA Dentures and General Dentistry, Dr. Schafer always allows parents to come back with their children during any procedure, if they wish. However, he doesn't always recommend it. While many kids do fine with a parent or grandparent in the room, some kids know how to push parents buttons in hopes that their parent will "save" them and stop the procedure. 

Your Child's Dental Appointment

We follow a system when working with children. We speak to them in a language they understand, we avoid scary terminology, and we work at their own pace, never pushing them beyond their limits. In some cases, children are more cooperative when their parents are not in the room. If you do decide to stay, being a "silent observer" can be the most effective way to help your child. Of course, we will bring you into the room to discuss any conditions, concerns, or suggestions we may have. A partnership with parents is the best way we can assure your child's oral health and wellness.

Dr. Schafer will discuss with you ahead of time to determine what is best for your child. Sometimes it's best for them to come back alone while others it's best if grandma or grandpa brings them to their appointments! 

Young boy in green shirt | Dentist Gretna LAChildren grind their teeth often especially their baby teeth. It is a natural part of growing up. In many cases, Dr. Schafer has no concerns with it and the child will grow out of it. While many parents fear that their child may be developing TMJ problems, kids grind their teeth for a different reason than adults do. If Dr. Schafer treated every single child that ground his teeth, he'd be a very busy dentist.

Grinding and Snoring in Children

Dr. Schafer is concerned about children that grind their teeth and snore at night, though. Snoring is not healthy in adults and it isn't healthy in children. When kids snore every night, they are not breathing well. When they aren't breathing well, they aren't sleeping well. As all parents know, a child that hasn't slept well is not likely to have a good day. If your child snores, Dr. Schafer recommends that you take a video of him snoring at night with a cell phone camera and show the video to your child's pediatrician or an Ear Nose Throat specialist on your insurance to evaluate the tonsils.

Getting a good night's sleep is essential to good health in both adults and children. If you ever have any questions, please let us know. We are happy to help you find a solution.

young boy | Gretna LA DentistSilver crowns or stainless steel crowns are pre-made shells that fit over baby teeth. They are a common procedure in pediatric dentistry as these crowns work well and are tough. Not only do they usually last longer than fillings, but they also can help protect the teeth from future cavities as the tooth isn't exposed to more sugar or acid after the crown is placed.

Dr. Schafer prefers doing these silver crowns in cases where a young child has many cavities or has a large cavity where a filling is unlikely to last until the tooth can be wiggled out. Dr. Schafer also does these when a child gets another cavity on a tooth that has already had a filling.

Many parents worry that these silver crowns will affect their child's development or that they will be made fun of in school. In Dr. Schafer's experience, it's the parents who hate the way they look and the kids don't really care. Some kids even think that they are really cool. The best news is that with silver crowns they don't last forever. When the child grows up, the silver crowns fall out and healthy adult teeth emerge. The silver crowns help prevent the decay so that the adult teeth have a chance to be in a cavity-free environment when they emerge. 

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