Q: At what age should my child first visit the dentist?
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the first dental visit should be on your baby's first birthday or when you baby's first tooth comes in, whichever happens sooner. This first visit is mostly dedicated to teaching parents how to take care of baby's teeth and gums. We're also happy to see your child at no charge before the age of one, primarily to do an oral examination, get your child comfortable in our office, and to give you pointers on taking care of baby's teeth.
Q: Why is it important to go to the dentist that young?
Statistics suggest that the number of children getting cavities is on the rise, particularly among young children. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry: “Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease—5 times more common than asthma, 4 times more common than early childhood obesity, and 20 times more common than diabetes.”
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports more than a quarter of children have tooth decay in baby teeth before entering kindergarten and by the time children are 19 years old, they have had some decay in permanent teeth.
Tooth decay can begin as early as teeth begin to emerge, which happens around 6 months of age. Tooth decay or early childhood caries, can progress very quickly and lead to a lot of pain for the child.
Q: How can I prepare my child for visiting the dentist?
At any age, feel free to bring your child in to the office before the first visit, just to meet us and get comfortable with the environment. If you do, we can have your child sit in your lap in the dental chair, and we can count his or her teeth, just to build trust and comfort in the dental chair.
Q: Are there other things that we can do?
- read children's books about seeing the dentist (this works really well, feel free to ask us for recommendations);
- use a battery-operated toothbrush to get your child comfortable with the sensation of being treated; and
- count your child's teeth to build comfort with the idea of an oral examination
Q: Is there anything we should avoid before the visit?
The only thing we would suggest is: try not to use words that might cause unnecessary fear or anxiety. Some examples include: "drill" and "hurt." This may seem odd, but it's good advice, trust us. What we try to do is to use words that convey the same message, but that are less threatening.
Q: How often should we come in for cleanings and check-ups?
A good rule of thumb is every six months. Children change so quickly from birth. Every month there is growth and development. The first tooth on average comes in at 6 months of age. By the age of three, children have an average of 20 teeth, so there's a lot for us to keep track of!
Q: What specifically does a check-up usually involve?
At each visit, we check for the following:
- bite irregularities (the way teeth come together);
- any potentially harmful habits, such thumb-sucking or use of a pacifier for too long;
Q: Do you incorporate nutrition education into your treatment?
Absolutely. Good nutrition and healthy teeth go hand in hand. So as a result, we incorporate healthy eating lessons and best practice in nutrition into the treatment I provide. Working with licensed nutritionists, we work with our patients on living healthy lives to have healthy teeth.
Q: I've heard that schools now require dental examinations before certain grades. Can you help?
Definitely. Many schools now require dental health forms to be filled out prior to registration for kindergarten, 2nd, and 6th grades. If you need a form completed, we would be happy to see your child.
Q: Do you treat children with special needs?
Yes, this is a passion of ours. We encourage parents of special needs children to bring them to the office to visit and meet us. If your child has autism, down's syndrome, cerebral palsy, or another condition, we have special training (and a true calling) to treat your child. We are especially aware of the rise in autism diagnoses and make it a practice not use any material in the mouth that is questionable. It may take multiple visits to get comfortable in the dental setting. However, with repetition and practice, all children usually develop a tolerance for an examination and cleaning. For those children who don't, however, there are always other options. For example, parents can elect to have us see their children at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, where Dr. Yum is on staff, and where we can use general anesthesia. At the hospital, we work with a team that includes a skilled anesthesiologist and multiple nurses, specially trained to treat our special needs patients. For patients who we treat at the hospital, we often take care of all dental needs annually or semi-annually in one visit, so that only minor check-up visits are necessary at our office.
Q: Why is your practice called Yummy Dental and Orthodontics?
Our approach to working with kids is to make visits to the dentist as yummy and fun as possible. And of course, with a last name like Yum, Yummy Dental and Orthodontics was hard to resist!
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Feel welcome to call us 24/7 in the event of an emergency. We’re here to help any time. During business hours, call us at 773-281-8100. After hours, call the same number and listen to the recording for the name and phone number for the doctor on call.
Q: My child has a toothache - what should I do?
Begin by cleaning around the sore tooth meticulously. Using warm salt water, rinse the mouth to displace any food trapped between teeth. Definitely do not use aspirin on the aching tooth or on the gum. In the event of facial swelling, apply a cold compress to the area. For temporary pain relief, acetaminophen is recommended.
Q: My child has a cut and/or a bitten lip/tounge/cheek - what should I do?
Apply ice to any bruised areas. For bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure with sterile gauze or a clean cloth. If the bleeding does not stop with pressure or continues after 15 minutes, take your child to an emergency room.
Q: My child has a broken tooth - what should I do?
Rinse the area around the broken tooth with warm water. Put a cold compress over the facial area near the injury. Recover any broken tooth fragments. Recover the tooth, making sure to hold it by the top and not by the root end. Rinse gently, but avoid handling the tooth more than necessary. Reinsert the tooth in the socket and hold it in place using a clean piece of gauze or cloth. If the tooth cannot be reinserted, carry it in a cup containing milk or water. Because time is essential, call us immediately.
Q: My child may have a broken jaw - what should I do?
In the event of a jaw injury, tie the mouth closed with a towel, tie or handkerchief. Then take your child to the emergency room immediately.
Q: My child lost a baby tooth and is bleeding - what should I do?
Fold a piece of clean gauze and place it tightly over the bleeding area. Have your child bite down on the gauze for 15 minutes; if bleeding continues, call us right away.
Q: My child has a cold sore or canker sore - what should I do?
Over-the-counter medications will usually provide temporary relief. If sores persist, schedule a visit with us.
Q: How can I help my child during teething?
The most soothing thing you can do is often to rub sore gums gently with a clean finger or with the back of a cold spoon or cold wet cloth Teething rings often work well, just avoid teething biscuits—they contain sugar that is not good for baby teeth.
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Q: Do you take insurance?
We are in network with Delta Dental Premier, but otherwise, like most pediatric dental offices, we do not take insurance. However, for convenience, we often electronically file a claim with our patients’ insurance companies on their behalf. Here is how that works: all patients pay for the services they receive from us at the time they receive the services. After that, their insurance company sends them a check directly for the amount covered by insurance.
Q: How much will my insurance company cover?
We would like to help answer this question, but your insurance coverage is actually dictated by your individual contract for coverage between you and your insurance company. As a result, the best thing to do is to call your insurance company directly to ask them what they will cover.
Q: Are there any other options?
Yes, we also accept CareCredit® - it allows you to apply to spread out the cost of care over time, so you make low manageable payments, with low or no interest. Feel free to ask us more about that. We find that many families take advantage of this option, especially those with two or more children.
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