One of the most FAQ that Dr Sheppard is asked involves radiation exposure during dental radiographs. Dr Sheppard is sensitive to your concerns about exposure to radiation from x-rays and is trained to prescribe them only when they are appropriate and necessary. State-of-the-art technology and staying abreast of the latest diagnostic advances allows us to know which procedures and x-ray films can minimize exposure to radiation. All of the necessary precautions are taken to minimize your child’s exposure to x-rays during a typical dental diagnostic procedure.

Patients wear lead aprons and thyroid collars during dental x-rays to minimize radiation exposure to other body parts. While not everyone requires regular x-rays, some patients may need them to address potential dental issues. Advances in technology, such as higher-speed x-ray film and measurement devices, have significantly increased the safety of dental x-rays, and Sheppard Pediatric Dentistry always prioritizes safety.


Why would Dr Sheppard want to know about my child’s diet?

Knowledge about the child’s diet is necessary to evaluate the effect of this diet on oral health. For instance, a child that has unhealthy snacks, sweets and sugary beverages is much more likely to develop cavities as a child that has properly balanced meals throughout the day without unhealthy snacking.


My child won’t go to sleep taking a bottle, what do I do?

It is important to note that going to sleep with a bottle can have disastrous results on the teeth. Depending on what is in the bottle!! Unless the bottle contains water only, any other liquids have the potential to damage the baby teeth. Milk contains natural sugars, and juices even watered down and diluted, still have sugars that sit on the teeth, particularly the front teeth, for hours at a time. This can lead to extensive tooth decay in a very short time. Dr Sheppard recommends giving only water to your child at bedtime after the teeth have been brushed.


Why are baby teeth so important?

Baby teeth help a child break food into smaller pieces to swallow. These teeth set a pattern of eruption for the permanent dentition to follow, maintaining space for the permanent teeth to properly erupt into. Baby teeth have important roles to play in chewing, speech and space maintenance for permanent teeth.


When will my child begin losing their baby teeth?

The first permanent teeth erupt into the oral cavity when the child is around 6 years of age. The permanent teeth continue to replace the baby teeth from age 6 until 12. By their 13th birthday, most children have all permanent teeth in the mouth.


How do cavities form?

Bacteria are always present in the mouth, but they do not cause any harm to the teeth until they are given the ideal environment. The ideal oral environment that allows bacteria to cause tooth decay includes sugars and low (acidic) pH of the mouth. The bacteria consume the sugars and produce acid. The acid then starts to wear away the enamel until a hole (cavity) is formed. What can I do to prevent cavities in my child? In order to prevent cavities, it is critical to making sure that your child is brushing their teeth at least twice a day. Additionally, be careful to watch your child’s food intake and frequency. The saliva plays an important role in cleaning the mouth and teeth after every meal, but if your child continues to snack throughout the day, the saliva is not allowed to cleanse effectively. Children must also be taught how to floss and should be encouraged to include flossing in their daily oral hygiene routine.


What are sealants?

A sealant is a thin coating that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the permanent back teeth to prevent them from getting cavities. The procedure is non-invasive and 100% painless. Sealants are applied to the surfaces of teeth most prone to tooth decay due to the large cracks and grooves found on the chewing surfaces. The procedure is highly effective in protecting teeth from cavities.


Help! My child grinds their teeth at night!

Night time teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, is a common condition that affects many children throughout childhood. As the jaw grows and new teeth come in, the bite is constantly changing. This can cause some teeth to rub or grind together. Typically for younger children, we will recommend just monitoring for symptoms. Night guards/mouth guards can be made for older children and teens, but are largely ineffective for younger children.


My child plays sports. Tell me about mouth guards.

Mouth guards are protective dental appliances which can conveniently be worn on the upper and lower arches during a sports activity. These appliances effectively protect the teeth from direct trauma and damage in case of direct object hit, falls or other injuries during sports. Dr Sheppard highly recommends that all children participating in sports activities wear mouth guards, and will send patients to and orthodontist if they need a custom mouth guard.