Dentistry for Children
The first baby teeth that come into the mouth are the two bottom front teeth. You will notice this when your baby is about 6-8 months old. Next to follow will be the 4 upper front teeth and the remainder of your baby’s teeth will appear periodically. They will usually appear in pairs along the sides of the jaw until the child is about 2 1/2 years old.
At around 2 1/2 years old your child should have all 20 teeth.
Baby teeth are important as they not only hold space for permanent teeth but they are important to chewing, biting, speech and appearance. For this reason it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene.
Your child’s first visit
The first “regular” dental visit should be just after your child’s third birthday. The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. We may ask you to sit in the dental chair and hold your child during the examination. You may also be asked to wait in the reception area during part of the visit so that a relationship can be built between your child and the doctors and staff.
We will gently examine your child’s teeth and gums. X-rays may be taken (to reveal decay and check on the progress of your child’s permanent teeth under the gums). We may clean your child’s teeth and apply topical fluoride to help protect the teeth against decay. We will make sure your child is receiving adequate fluoride at home. Most important of all, we will review with you how to clean and care for your child’s teeth.
What should I tell my child about the first visit?
We are asked this question many times. We suggest you prepare your child the same way you would before their first haircut or trip to the shoe store. Your child’s reaction to his first visit to the dentist may surprise you.
- Tell your child :The dentist is going to count your teeth to make sure they are all happy and bright.
For parents: We examine your child’s mouth, teeth and gums.
- Tell your child: The dentist wants to make sure your teeth are straight and even.
For parents: We evaluate the impact of adverse habits like thumb sucking.
- For parents: We will discuss how your child is receiving fluoride and if the amount daily is correct for your child’s age
- For parents: We will teach you about cleaning your child’s teeth and gums.
- For parents: We will suggest a schedule for regular dental visits.
Here are some “First Visit” tips:
- Take your child for a “preview” of our office. It is easy to set this up – just call us.
- Read books with them about going to the dentist.
- Review with them what the dentist will be doing at the time of the first visit.
- Speak positively about your own dental experiences and how important it is to have a healthy mouth.
Between the ages of 5 and 6 the first permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Some of the permanent teeth replace baby teeth and some do not. Don’t worry if some teeth are a few months early or late as all children are different.
What about preventative care?
Tooth decay and children no longer have to go hand and hand. We now understand that most of the time cavities in children are due to a diet high in sugary and sticky foods and lack of brushing. Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help.
We use the latest in dental sealant technology to protect your child’s teeth. Dental sealants are plastics that are bonded to the chewing surfaces of decay-prone back teeth. This is just one of the ways we will help set the foundation for your child’s lifetime of good oral health.
Tips for cavity prevention
- Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
- Encourage brushing, flossing and rinsing.
- Watch what your child drinks.
- Avoid giving your child sticky foods.
- Make treats part of meals to decrease snacking.
- Choose nutritious snacks.