1. When should I bring my child to see the dentist?

We recommend the child's first dental visit be between one and two and a half years. This allows us to quickly exam your child for obvious sings of decay but more importantly, it allows us to discuss with you the many causes of cavities and how to prevent them.

2. I thought cavities are going away. How come you need to see children so young?

Cavities are on the rise again. There is a delicate interplay taking place in getting cavities; it is not just eating sugar or candy. In fact, it is a combination of what you eat, how frequently you eat, your genetic ability to fight decay through tooth hardness and saliva, and your use of preventative measures such as brushing, flossing, and toothpaste with fluoride.

3. But I don't give my child soda, I only give him/her juice. How come it looks like he/she is getting cavities?

The frequency of drinking the juice is key as well as the length of time juice is being drunk. There are 39 grams of sugar in a 12 oz. can of soda. In a 6 oz. glass of juice, there are between 25 and 29 grams - more than soda! In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends no more than 6 ounces of juice per child per day because it is "empty calories"

4. When should I start brushing my child's teeth, and what about using toothpaste?

Start brushing the gums with a soft toothbrush as early as you can and especially after the teeth erupt. Use a fluoridated, "ADA accepted" toothpaste when the molars pop through. A tiny drop is all you will need, and it is not harmful if swallowed. Don't try to rinse, gently wipe.

5. My child has cavities. What will you do? 

Every child is different and we tailor the treatment plan for them. In some cases, it is preventative intervention known as anticipatory guidance. It might involve a fluoride varnish, or it might involve a filling. If a tooth is near being lost, it may include just waiting. This is all part of your child's "Cavities Risk Assessment."

6. Do you use silver amalgam fillings?

Our office uses bonded composite resin fillings which are esthetically pleasing, durable, and long lasting. They are more difficult to place and technique sensitive than the silver amalgam fillings, but we have found parents like them more. In some cases, we need to use stainless steel crowns in the back of the mouth for extremely damaged teeth.

7. My child looks like a shark; there are two rows of teeth. Do you need to pull them?

Most of the time we don't. There is no study that proves that taking those teeth out changes if your child will need braces or not, and they always fall out in the end. The permanent teeth always form behind the lower teeth. The tongue will eventually move them forwards. If necessary, we will consult with an orthodontist for a comprehensive assessment.

8. Will I be allowed in the room during exam and treatment?

We have an open door policy. Parents are invited in if they wish. Some children do better with parents present, some without. It is unique for each child. We can help you make the decision.

9. If my child is too afraid or has very sensitive cavities, what will you do?

We use many forms of behavioral training to help a child get through a visit. Some children require the use of sedating medicines or general anesthesia to complete their treatment. We offer these services in our office or at a medical center when indicated.

office hours

Monday - Friday 8 to 5

2301 Ocean Avenue

San Francisco CA 94127


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  2. Any time during the course of your child's treatment if you have questions regarding treatment, service or fee, ask Dr. Rothman or our office staff. Some aspects of dentistry are quite technical and we want to make every effort to avoid a misunderstanding, correct a mistake, or preserve a friendship.