When should my child first visit the dentist?  It has been thought in the past to have your child visit the dentist by age 3.  We have come to realize that bad habits can be started that are hard for a child to break so it is actually better to see the dentist about six months after your child’s first (primary) teeth erupt. This time frame is a perfect opportunity for the dentist to carefully examine the development of your child’s mouth and to see what the nutritional habits have started and what can be done about this.  There is a natural tendency to give your child a pacifier as an infant.  This has been done for years but what can happen is that this foreign object can cause problems with the way the teeth erupt.  We have a pacifier that the child bites down and actually supports the growth of the oral structures.  Traditional pacifiers can create open bites, cross bites and poor breathing habits if they are used too long.  Because dental problems often start early the sooner the visit the better. To safeguard against problems such as baby bottle tooth decay, teething irritations, gum disease, and prolonged thumb-sucking, your dentist can provide or recommend special preventive care.

We have introduced some xylitol based sweetener products in our office that actually fight dental decay and promote better care.  These gums and toothpastes promote better health to reduce dental cavities significantly.

Why is it important to fix baby teeth that have decay? Aren’t they going to come out soon anyway?
It is very important to maintain the baby teeth because these teeth hold space for the future eruption of the permanent teeth. If a primary tooth decays or is removed too early, the space necessary for the permanent teeth is lost and can only be regained through orthodontic treatment. Infected baby teeth can cause the permanent teeth to develop improperly resulting in stains, pits and weaker teeth.

When will my child lose his/her baby teeth?
Children will begin losing their teeth at approximately age 5. They will usually lose their front teeth first. Children will continue to lose baby teeth until the age of 12 or 13 when all of the permanent teeth finally erupt.

When does thumb-sucking become damaging to the teeth?
Generally, if the child has stopped sucking his/her thumb by age 5 there is no permanent damage. If the child is a vigorous and constant thumbsucker, however, there can be moderate to severe movement of teeth and prevention of normal bone growth.

Should my child wear a mouthguard while playing sports?
It is strongly recommended that children wear a mouthguard while playing any contact sport. It is always better to prevent an injury than to repair one. The earlier a child begins to wear the mouthguard, the easier it is to become comfortable and continue to wear it as they get older

What should I do if my child gets a tooth knocked out?
If the tooth is a permanent tooth, time is extremely crucial. Immediately stick the tooth back in the socket. Don’t worry about getting it in straight or having it turned backwards, just get it in the socket and immediately call your dentist. If you are uncomfortable placing the tooth in the socket, put it in a glass of milk and get your child to the dentist as quickly as possible. If the tooth is a baby tooth, do not put it in the socket because damage to the permanent tooth can occur. When in doubt, put the tooth in milk and see your dentist immediately.

If there is ever an accident and a tooth is lost or broken you can give me a call and I will do the best I can to make myself available to help guide you with instructions on the tooth reimplantation process

Dr. Antolak treats his dental patients in a relaxed, friendly atmosphere where you are treated like a guest in the home.   His motto is to “relax while we take care of your smile”.  He specializes in cosmetic dentistry, implant dentistry and general dentistry using sedation dentistry if necessary for his high fear patients. He has been treating patients for the past 25  years and is located in Shelby Township, Macomb county Michigan.  The phone number is (586)247-3500 and the website is www.TheGentleDentist.com