• 23 MAY 17
    • 0

    A Vocabulary Lesson in Pediatric Dentistry Terms

    happy child with pediatric dentistsDental terms can be confusing for both children and adults. As oral health professionals, we sometimes forget that not everyone understands all the words we use to describe dental conditions and treatments. Dr. Kimmy offers top of the line pediatric dental care in Manhasset, NY, and she doesn’t want you leaving an appointment confused about what’s happening in your child’s mouth. If you have questions, please ask!

    It’s never too early to schedule your child’s first dental visit. Dr. Kimmy loves meeting new patients and is happy to share her extensive knowledge with you. Schedule your appointment today, call 516-365-4-KID.

    We all know the importance of brushing and flossing, but what about of the other parts of pediatric dentistry? With so many different terms, it can be hard to keep them all straight. Let us help you.

    Common Pediatric Dentistry Terms

    The Happy Visit

    When a child’s first tooth erupts and by her first birthday, you should schedule a couple of visits to familiarize your child with Dr. Kimmy and our office. We refer to these visits as happy visits. Although Dr. Kimmy may not perform any procedures at a happy visit, it is our hope that as your child begins to feel comfortable at the dentist. We encourage parents to stay positive about dental appointments, to reduce any dental fear or anxiety your child may experience in a new setting. Once your little one meets Dr. Kimmy and our team, she will love dental visits!


    It can be shocking to new parents when they see white spots on their baby’s gums or tongue. Thrush is a non-painful build up of yeast; it is very common in infants and can easily be treated with oral anti-fungal medication. Ask Dr. Kimmy for her recommended product. 


    Plaque can cause cavities, but what is it exactly? It’s the sticky substance found on the surface of teeth. Bacterial plaque can easily be removed with daily brushing and flossing. Left uncleaned, teeth will accumulate plaque, and it will calcify in to tartar, an insoluble substance. If you notice an excess of plaque or tartar on your child’s teeth, Dr. Kimmy can easily remove it during a dental cleaning. Usually, children start twice-yearly dental cleanings by age four or five. Using an antibacterial mouth rinse at home and flossing your child’s teeth daily will go a long way toward eliminating smelly, potentially harmful plaque.

    Tooth Decay or Cavities

    When tooth enamel is weakened by starches, sugars, and plaque, bad oral bacteria literally eat away tooth structure. When a black hole presents on a tooth, it’s evidence of bacterial infection, and we call the hole a cavity. The best way to prevent teeth from decaying is to practice good oral hygiene. Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day and flossing after each meal. Remember, also, that tooth decay (cavities) will not heal. They require professional treatment by a dentist, with a filling.

    Gum Disease

    If you notice that your child’s gums bleed when he brushes or flosses his teeth, he could be developing the pesky condition called gum disease. The first step in gum disease is gingivitis, which many older children get due to a lack of flossing, combined with hormonal changes during puberty. Gingivitis isn’t usually painful and sometimes presents no symptoms. However, gum disease is chronic, and there is no cure, just treatment. When left untreated it will advance into periodontitis, the more severe form of gum disease, although this usually only occurs in adults. Gum disease is linked to many systemic health problems, so if your child’s gums bleed, look red or purple and swollen, or your little one has chronic bad breath, let Dr. Kimmy evaluate him for gum disease. 

    Dental Cleaning 

    Dental cleanings are an important part of dental checkups for kids three to five years and older. During this visit, Dr. Kimmy will remove plaque buildup and food particles stuck between your child’s teeth. Cleanings deter future dental problems, such as gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath. Not to mention, your child’s teeth will feel polished and fresh after a proper cleaning with Dr. Kimmy.

    Dental Sealant

    A dental sealant is a thin coat of clear or tooth-colored plastic placed on molars to deter decay. At your kid’s dental checkup, Dr. Kimmy will seal each tooth in the back of the mouth. Sealants naturally wear out over time, and most often they’re recommended for children under 14 years of age.


    Dr. Kimmy refers to cavities or tooth decay as sugar bugs, because they result from bacteria eating a tooth. You can deter cavities with sealants, twice-daily brushing, daily flossing, rinsing the mouth with pure water after eating or drinking, and reducing the amount of starch and sugar in your child’s diet. We can’t stress enough how important it is to limit the sugary foods and drinks that you give to your children.

    Now that you’re an expert on pediatric dental terms, it’s time to schedule your child’s checkup. Call today to make your appointment with Dr. Kimmy at our Manhasset, NY pediatric dental office. Call 516-365-4-KID.

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