Children’s Dentistry

Children’s Dentistry

Why bring your child to see Dr. Tomi Homonnay?

Finding a “dental home” for our children is extremely important. If our children feel comfortable and know that going to the dentist can be a painless experience we are setting them up for success. From a very young age it is vital to place a value, and a sense of importance in their mind on oral care. Without that value, taking care of their teeth won’t be important. Dr. Tomi believes this for his own child, and therefore our practice strives to be as comfortable for your child as possible. Familiarity and continuity are very important in making the little ones feel at home through the course of their young lives.

We want the best for our children and look to give them the same standard of care from the time they are young children to the time they are adults. Our family practice strives to treat your entire family comprehensively.

If my child’s first set of teeth are going to fall out anyway, why are they important to care for?

As soon as your child’s baby teeth begin to erupt (from 6 months old to about 3 years of age), their adult teeth start to develop in the jawbone below. From that point on until they start losing their baby teeth, they act as natural space maintainers for when the adult teeth begin to come in. It is vital that between the age of 3 and 6 years old that your child’s baby teeth remain as healthy as possible, because if the baby teeth have extensive decay the bacteria can actually have a detrimental effect on their permanent teeth. Maintenance and decay prevention of baby teeth also reduces the future possibility of needing braces to correct mal-alignments.

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It’s not been long since we all, from the time we were young went to see the same dentist and family doctor that our parents did. Only in recent times, has there been a cultural shift where our children all “need” to be seen by a pediatric dentist or doctor. Dr. Tomi is not a pediatric dentist, however he has treated many children throughout his career. There are many instances that a general practitioner is more than qualified to treat your child.

Our office emphasizes the most minimal approach that will provide lifelong healthy smiles. Working one on one with each parent and child to determine the best course of treatment is our goal. The reason they are called specialists is so they can help us as general practitioners with the complex and unique cases where they are more qualified.

Here in our practice we have created a program that we truly believe will change the way our children view the dentist. We want our children to have a completely different experience. This is why we created the program My First Dental Home. What this program entails is beginning at the age of 2-3 your child will come in for their first appointment.

This appointment will last no more than 30 minutes. They will come in and meet our team, doctors and get a chance to tour the office. Then they will get to count their teeth with our hygienists, see all the instruments and interact with the environment. Finally, they will get their teeth gently polished. We hope that our commitment to your child and family will make a difference in your life and dental experience.

List of Treatments we offer for our children:

  •      Cleanings and exams
  •      Bonding
  •      Braces
  •      White Crowns
  •      Fillings
  •      Sealants
  •      Fluoride
  •      Extractions
  •      Sport Mouthguards
  •      Nightguards

How do my child’s teeth develop?

Your child’s first set of teeth are called primary or baby teeth. They will begin to come in around six months. From that point on they will continue to come in until around the age of three. You can expect your child to have 20 baby teeth.

Once your child is around the age of six they will begin to lose their baby teeth. Their permanent teeth will begin to erupt starting with the six year molars and front teeth. This time of mixed dentition will continue until the age of twenty one. Adults have twenty-eight teeth and four wisdom teeth.

When should my child start brushing?

You can begin brushing your child’s teeth when they first begin to come in. Again this is a way to familiarize them with the new sensation of using a tooth brush. A soft bristled brush with a pea sized tooth paste is best. We recommend that children under the age of two don’t use fluoride toothpaste, instead find a children’s tooth paste without fluoride. Begin to brush with your child, showing them proper techniques. It is a part of the child’s natural learning process to mimic what you as their parent do. This is a perfect way to take advantage of them being quick learners. You can have them watch you each time you brush to get used to the idea and routine. Most children won’t have the manual dexterity to thoroughly brush their teeth until 6 or 7, so we recommend that you allow them to do it on their own and then give them a bit of help afterward.

What are dental sealants?

Sealants cover the pits and grooves located on the top surfaces of the back teeth. This is the most common area for children to develop decay. We recommend sealants as a safe and simple way to help your child avoid cavities. It is the best way to prevent children from needing a filling later on in their early teens.

How can I protect my child’s teeth while playing sports?

We have a program called Guard our Athletes where children playing any kind of sport from soccer to football and even volleyball can be fitted for a custom mouth guard. This is essential to protecting their teeth and facial tissue from trauma. See Dr. Tomi’s Blog for more information.

What should I do if my child sucks his/her thumb?

Most children will suck their thumbs at some point in their childhood. It is a natural and innate behavior that soothes the child. Thumb sucking is not inherently bad for your child’s teeth, it really just comes down to the manner in which they do it. If it is passive, it does not negatively affect the teeth. However, if it is more forceful and continuous than it can cause the erupting teeth to shift around. This may require orthodontics to fix in the future.

What should I do if my child broke or chipped a tooth?

When it first happens, call us immediately at (615) 557-3487 and we will meet you at the office as soon as possible. We can take an X-ray and evaluate what needs to be done. Based on how large the chip or break is will depend on how we proceed. If in fact the entire tooth and root came out (avulsion) place the tooth in a glass of milk and transport the tooth to us. There is a chance we can actually save the tooth.