Dental FAQs Sarasota, FL

Common Pediatric Dental FAQs

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Focused on Education

Informed and educated parents or guardians will be better prepared to help their child maintain proper oral health through their growing years. We encourage involvement during every state of your child’s journey, and welcome all your questions and concerns. We strive to openly communicate to both you and your child about all aspects of treatment, especially if your child feels anxious about visiting a pediatric dentist. From thumb sucking to dental sealants and fluoride treatment, we are here to answer any questions you may have about your child’s dental care.

teeth brushing graphic in Sarasota FL

Healthy Habits Begin with Teamwork

Your child may adopt oral health habits, whether good or bad, by watching you. We are dedicated to providing your child with excellence in pediatric dental care as much as we are dedicated to keeping you informed and educated about your child’s oral health through every state of their growth and development. Your questions and concerns are encouraged, and we welcome discussions that pertain to the dental health of your child. In this way, we can work as a team to help be good teachers and role models when it comes to the oral health habits of your child.

Pediatric Dental Care FAQs

What is the benefit of taking my child to a pediatric dentist? Why a board certified pediatric dentist?

Pediatric dentists are required to attend 2-3 additional years of specialty residency training, and limit their practice to only children and adolescents, including children with special healthcare needs. A pediatric dentist is specialized in the preventive and restorative services that apply to children’s oral health, specifically as it applies to the growth and development of their facial structures, including the teeth and jaw bone.

Although board certification is not a requirement to practice the specialty, board certified pediatric dentists like Dr. Maribel Santos-Cordero undergo a rigorous certification process beyond the specialty training that involves testing in pediatric medicine, dental trauma, hospital & sedation dentistry, pediatric dental growth & development and treatment planning.

How often should I take my child to see a pediatric dentist?

After the recommended initial visit around age one, a child should attend pediatric dentist appointments twice a year. These bi-annual exams help keep your child’s mouth healthy by monitoring oral hygiene, detecting cavities early on and identifying potential orthodontic problems while they can be easily fixed.

Is thumb sucking harmful to my child?

Prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier sucking that continues past the age of three can cause long-term harm to a child’s oral health. If not discouraged, thumb sucking can create problems with the bite and how the jaw bone develops. We encourage your child to stop the habit, monitor it and intervene if we feel it is becoming detrimental to their health.

Can my child benefit from dental sealants?

Many times, cavities develop in the molars, or the grooved and pitted chewing teeth at the back of the mouth. Sealants can provide a necessary barrier against food particles that can become stuck in these deep grooves. This simple and fast procedure can help keep your child’s teeth protected and cavity-free for many years. At our office, our sealants are BPA-free.

How does my child’s diet affect their oral health?

A well-balanced diet consists of proper portions of fruit, vegetables, grains, meat, beans, and dairy. The risk for cavities increases dramatically with frequent snacking and a diet rich in sugars or starch. We assess your child’s diet and recommend ways you can help them remain in good oral and overall health as they grow.

How do I care for my child’s teeth?

Once your child’s first tooth appears, you can begin brushing with an infant-sized toothbrush and fluoride-free toothpaste. As teeth continue to erupt, you can begin flossing between them, in addition to brushing them twice a day. You can also restrict the amount of sugary foods and drinks to help prevent cavities from developing.

What if my child has a dental emergency?

If your child has a toothache, cold compresses and medication can help ease pain until we can evaluate the source of pain. If a more serious accident occurs, such as a knocked-out tooth or tooth fracture, contact our office immediately to schedule an evaluation appointment. If a permanent tooth comes out of the mouth, grab it by the crown and rinse it under running water. Avoid scrubbing it. If you can make it to our office within the hour, place the tooth in milk or saline solution. If that is not possible, try to place the tooth back in the socket and hold it gently by biting on a gauze.  Broken teeth and gum lacerations also need to be evaluated as soon as possible. Treatment may range from sanding the fracture in the case of a small enamel fracture to nerve treatment if the fracture is severe and involves many layers of the tooth. Gum and lip lacerations may require wound cleaning and sutures. Most dental accidents have a better outcome if evaluated and treated in a timely manner. Please call our office for more information about how we can help.

Is it necessary for my child to receive x-rays?

We do not do unnecessary x-rays at our office. We follow guidelines established by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry in order to keep your child in optimal oral health. When recommended, radiation exposure with our digital x-rays is less than a quarter of a second-much less than the natural radiation a person gets in a plane or at the beach.  As an extra precaution, we use protective shields for our patients and our team.  In children, x-rays are used not only to detect cavities but also to evaluate growth and development of teeth, diagnose bone disease and identify problems after trauma.

Is my child getting enough fluoride?

Fluoride is a natural mineral that is absorbed into bones and teeth, making them stronger and more resistant to fractures and decay. Children and adults who are at low risk of dental decay can stay cavity-free through frequent exposure to small amounts of fluoride. This is best gained by drinking fluoridated water and using a fluoride toothpaste twice daily. It is generally not safe to swallow toothpastes, rinses or other products containing topical fluoride. At our office, Dr. Santos evaluates the patient’s fluoride intake, oral condition, propensity to cavities and medical history before making any recommendations about supplementation.  

How can my child’s teeth be protected in sports?

If your child participates in basketball, baseball, football, hockey or any other contact sports, they are at risk of severe injury to the mouth. Mouth guards help protect teeth and oral tissues from fractures, lacerations and bruising. They are made of soft plastic and fit snuggly around the teeth. There are different types of mouth guards:

  • Pre-formed: Ready to wear but often do not fit well.
  • Boil & Bite: Need to be softened in warm water and placed in the mouth to adapt.
  • Custom-fitted: Must be made by a dentist. They are more expensive because they are customized for a better fit to offer superior protection.


The sole priority of a pediatric dentist is to provide dental care for children, from infants to adolescents, in addition to special needs children. Unlike adults, children need special dental care and attention like monitoring of their growth and how their teeth and jaw are developing. Pediatric dentists, like Dr. Maribel Santos-Cordero, choose to undergo the required additional education to provide care for this age group, and are specifically trained to prevent, diagnose, and treat oral health concerns as they relate to children specifically. We can provide Dr. Santos-Cordero can provide the comprehensive pediatric dental care your child needs to have great oral health now and in the future.

Let’s work together to help your child achieve great oral health!

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