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Stephen Fox D.M.D. | Member American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry

Questions & Answers

Q. Did you know that babies can be born with what’s called a “neonatal” tooth?
A. Yes, it’s TRUE! Dr. Fox’s youngest patient was four days old!

Q. When should my baby get their first tooth?
A. A baby’s front 4 teeth usually surface at about 6 months of age, although some children don’t have their 1st tooth until 12 or 13 months.

Q. Why does my dentist tell me I don’t need to bring my child in for a visit until they are three years old?
A. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a child’s first visit by their first birthday. While most dentists agree to see your child as part of their family practice, they really would prefer not to deal with children at the younger ages. They are not specially trained, as pediatric dentists are. Pediatric dentists have two to three years of specialized training, after dental school, general dentists do not. Pediatric dentists have specialized training in relating effectively with children.

  • They are trained in special approaches that help them deal with the behavioral aspects of children.
  • They are trained and qualified to treat special patients, mentally or physically challenged.
  • They are specially trained to identify, treat and prevent oral health problems that are unique to children.
  • They have two to three years of specialized training after dental school.
  • They love children, that’s why they’ve chosen this specialty.

Q. What is a Pediatric Dentist and how do they differ from “general dentists”?
A. In a nutshell, a Pediatric Dentist is the “Pediatrician” of dentistry. You take your child to the pediatrician during their growing years. Why? Because they are the specialists that know everything about a child’s growth and development. So do pediatric dentists. They are dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy through the teen-age years.

Q. When should my child first see a dentist?
A. At ONE year

Q. Isn’t it too early to bring my child in at 12 months?
A. No, establishing us as your child’s “Dental Home” provides us the opportunity to implement preventive dental health habits that keep a child free from dental/oral disease. Beginning examinations early, may lead to the detection of early stages of tooth decay that can be treated.

Q. Why fill/fix baby teeth when they fall out anyway?
A. The AAPD says “while it is true that baby teeth do eventually come out, it is also true that they are important to your child in the meantime. Children need their baby teeth to speak clearly, eat comfortably, and smile with self confidence. Also, baby teeth hold space for the permanent teeth. If one is lost the others shift into the empty space. This often means a crooked smile in a child’s future.“

Q. Should I worry about infant thumb, finger or pacifier sucking?
A. Sucking is a natural reflex and infants and young children may use thumbs, fingers, pacifiers or other objects on which to suck. Thumb or pacifier sucking beyond the age of three years may cause damage to the shape and growth of the jaws and teeth.

Q. When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?
A. As soon as they erupt.