Advanced Dentistry by Design
Creating Beautiful Smiles

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Children's Dentistry

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Our team is available to answer all your questions about our dental office and the services we provide.

Choosing a dentist is an important decision for you and your family. You can look through our frequently asked questions for your answer or just get in touch by calling or visiting our contact page.

Children's Dentistry

Your child’s first visit to the dentist should be enjoyable. Children are not born with a natural fear of the dentist, but they can fear the unknown. Our team makes a special effort to talk to your child cheerfully and to use simple, pleasant words to describe each treatment. We want you and your child to feel at ease from the moment your family arrives at our office. The more you and your child know about the first visit, the better you will feel.

Depending on your child’s level of comfort and willingness, during his or her first visit we will take x-rays of their teeth, and our hygienist will clean and polish the teeth. We will evaluate your child’s craniofacial development and make appropriate recommendations for the necessary next steps.


Children should visit the dentist by their first birthday. It is important that your child’s newly-erupted teeth (erupting between 6 and 12 months of age) receive proper dental care and benefit from proper oral hygiene habits right from the beginning. Children can enjoy getting to know their teeth!

Your child’s first primary teeth (baby teeth) will begin to erupt between the ages of 6 and 12 months and will continue to erupt until about age 3. During this time, your child’s gums may feel tender and sore. To help alleviate this discomfort, we recommend that you soothe the gums by rubbing a clean finger or a cool, wet cloth across them. You may also choose to make use of a teething ring. When your child has finished teething, you can expect a total of 20 primary teeth!

As your child’s permanent teeth begin to erupt, he or she will lose primary teeth at various times throughout childhood. Permanent teeth begin erupting at age 6 and can continue until age 21. Adults have 28 regular permanent teeth and four wisdom teeth.

Tooth decay is caused by sugars that remain in the mouth and become an acid that can break down teeth. Children are at high risk for tooth decay for a simple reason—many children and adolescents do not practice regular, good oral hygiene habits. Proper brushing and flossing routines combined with regular dental visits help keep tooth decay away.

Please schedule an appointment for your child every six months for regular dental cleanings and checkups. We recommend fluoride treatments twice a year along with cleanings to help keep teeth at their strongest. We also recommend tooth sealants because they seal the deep grooves in your child’s teeth, preventing decay from forming in these hard-to-reach areas. Sealants last for several years, and we will monitor them at your child’s regular checkups.

Kids grow so rapidly that sometimes you turn around and your toddler is starting high school. If you have ever had a child who has experienced growth difficulties, you know that many of them can be corrected during the growth process. Teeth and jaw growth are no different.

By addressing conditions early while your child is still growing, they often have faster and more successful results.

We evaluate children as early as five years old to determine if they are on track for a healthy bite and properly aligned teeth. In some cases, pacifier use, mouth breathing, thumb sucking, and genetics can cause jaws to develop incorrectly.

By taking corrective action early, we can often avoid the need to remove perfectly healthy permanent teeth (often bicuspids) for orthodontic purposes in the future. Early intervention orthodontic treatment also results in a more attractive appearance because things like a diastema (a gap between the front teeth) and protrusion (bucked teeth) can often be avoided with the proper treatment.

Palatal expanders, ALF treatment, space holders, full braces, and partial braces are each part of early orthodontic intervention treatment options to reduce the amount of time your child spends in braces later.

When you bring your child to our San Jose dental office, Dr. Woodlief will provide this service at the appropriate time so that you can make the best decision regarding the future of your child’s smile.

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