Dentistry For Children Of All Ages
Welcoming New Teeth
You’ll probably spot your child’s first baby tooth between 6 months and a year. From there, these primary teeth will dot his mouth until he’s around three. Many children have sore gums during this transition period where so many teeth are erupting. To ease your child’s pain, rub the gums with a wet washcloth or your clean finger. Teething rings can also help get you and your child through teething. When all the primary teeth have erupted, you’ll count 20 in his tiny mouth!
These primary teeth loosen and fall out as your baby matures. From age 6 to age 21, your child will lose his baby teeth and erupt permanent teeth. A completely mature mouth will yield 28 teeth plus 4 wisdom teeth.
Display Strong Oral Hygiene Habits
Inspect your child’s teeth once every two weeks. Be on the look out for lines and color change in teeth, which can be signs of tooth decay. New teeth are susceptible to sugar, so be sure your child brushes properly after eating or feeding. We want you to pass strong oral hygiene habits on to your children, and we suggest four brushings a day. Give your child a strong foundation of oral health by encouraging four brushings: once after each meal and once before bed.
Make tooth-brushing a happy time for your child. Once you see a tooth in that little mouth, it’s time to start brushing it. Mom and Dad should choose a toothbrush with soft bristles, and a tiny amount of toothpaste – about the size of a pea – should be used. If your child is two years old or younger, avoid toothpaste with fluoride. Talk with your child about the right way to brush your teeth.
Don’t forget flossing! Keeping your child’s gums healthy is easy with daily flossing. Talk with your doctor about when you should start a flossing regime for your child’s teeth. If you believe your child’s teeth are decaying, call your dental professional right away.
Regular Checkups Thwart Tooth Decay
When sugars build up in the mouth, they convert into acid. This acid is harmful to your teeth. Since many kids don’t exhibit proper oral hygiene, tooth decay can run rampant in the young. Instilling good oral care in your kids and maintaining routine visits to your dentist will prevent them from experiencing tooth decay.
For maximum oral health for your child, you should schedule an appointment with us twice a year. Combined with cleanings, our hygienists will administer fluoride treatments, strengthening your child’s smile. We also suggest sealants for children, as they smooth out the rocky grooves of the teeth, facilitating brushing and inhibiting tooth decay.
Relaxing Dentistry For Your Child
We want your child to have a pleasant first visit to our practice. While there’s nothing to be afraid of at the dentist’s office, kids can fear things they haven’t already experienced. We take care to explain each and every treatment to your child in plain language, and we truly want your child (and you!) to feel comfortable throughout the visit. Educating your child on dental health and what to expect can help tremendously. As suggested by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, you should make an appointment for your children by the time they turn one. Children cut teeth between 6 months and a year old, and you should demonstrate good oral care immediately.
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When should I first bring my child to the dentist?
Schedule a visit when your baby cuts their first tooth. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, parents should bring their babies to the dentist by their first birthday or six months after a tooth is cut, whatever happens first.
What makes a pediatric dentist different from a general dentist?
Every dental professional finishes dental school and then enters training in a specific area. This includes oral surgeons, pediatric dentists, and orthodontists. Since a pediatric dentist received widespread training with infant, child, and teen patients, he is better equipped to handle child patients than an endodontist or an oral pathologist. We cater to our younger clients, and we use our knowledge of childhood development to make each visit a happy, successful one. Our staff makes children feel at ease with the dental procedures, and our office décor reflects our childlike wonder. We want our environment to be inviting, comfy, and cozy for your child.
What happens on his first visit?
We like our initial visits to be quick and easy. Normally, we’ll learn about your child, and we’ll relay some fundamental tips for optimum oral health. The doctor looks at your child’s teeth, paying specific attention to teeth location and health. He will also inspect your child’s gums and jaw. Sometimes we’ll clean your child’s teeth, but only if it’s required. Then we’ll focus on any questions you want answered about dental health, so you can be prepared to guide your child at home.
How can I get my child ready for his first dental appointment?
Stay upbeat and optimistic about your child’s first dental appointment. The positive energy will shine through. Children are very perceptive, and any negative or hesitant remarks will likely be noticed, possibly planting a seed of worry about the visit. Look at pictures of our staff with your child, and talk about the necessity of clean teeth and gums. Explain the dentist’s job – to keep your child’s mouth clean and healthy. Keep in mind that our doctors have lots of experience easing children’s nerves. Our staff prides themselves on how effectively they can relax our younger patients.
How often should I bring my child to the dentist?
We normally suggest visits at each six-month interval. If we’ve identified oral problems, we may want to see your child more often.
Why do baby teeth need care if they aren’t permanent?
Baby teeth don’t stay with your child forever, but they have significant functions. To talk clearly, your child needs healthy teeth. Baby teeth are also essential to smiling as well as chewing food well. Your child’s baby teeth are reserving spaces for permanent teeth, and if a tooth is lost prematurely, adjacent teeth could crowd that empty space, causing problems for your child down the road. Lastly, our overall health is dependent on our oral health, so keeping your child’s gums and teeth healthy is vital.
How do I clean my baby’s teeth?
After you feed your baby, wipe the gums with smooth, wet cloth – even if you haven’t spotted their first tooth. Once you see a tooth, you can use a small, soft bristle toothbrush to clean their teeth. Look for infant toothbrushes for a small enough head to fit inside your baby’s mouth.
How early should I use toothpaste to clean my child’s teeth?
After a few teeth have erupted, it’s safe to top your toothbrush off with a tiny bit of toothpaste. Remember that fluoride is harmful to children under two years old, so choose your toothpaste carefully. Prompt your child to rinse out their mouth and spit thoroughly after brushing his teeth. Hopefully, these good oral habits will stick with them all their life. The rinsing and spitting is especially important once your child starts using toothpaste with fluoride, as ingesting fluoride can stain their teeth. Most children don’t have the dexterity or the will to brush their teeth independently until they’re six or seven. Until that time, brush your kid’s teeth thoroughly and consistently.
What causes cavities?
The combination of sugar sticking to our teeth and the presence of bacteria in our mouths creates acids. Our teeth are coated with enamel, and the acids assault that enamel. If the acids keep invading our enamel, then our teeth are riddled with holes. These holes are cavities.
How can my child avoid cavities?
Make sure your child flosses his teeth every day, as flossing attacks crevices between teeth that brushing doesn’t reach. Your child should also brush their teeth two times each day with a toothpaste containing fluoride. Don’t let your child eat too much sugar – in food as well as drinks – and practice a healthy diet in your home. Ask your pediatric dentist if your child could benefit from a fluoride supplement. These supplements strengthen your child’s tooth enamel, fortifying their teeth against decay and deterioration. Also, a visit to our office every six months will allow us to properly clean your child’s teeth and monitor his mouth for potential problems.
Does my child need sealants?
Subtle grooves and crevices in teeth can make brushing more challenging. When food remnants are stuck in hard-to-reach places, teeth can be vulnerable to tooth decay. A sealant is an easy and noninvasive procedure that will protect your child’s teeth against the threat of cavities, as it smooths the tooth’s surface and facilitates brushing.
How can I protect my child’s teeth while he plays sports?
If your child plays sports, we suggest a tailored mouth guard to protect them from flying balls and flying elbows.
What should I do if my child sucks his thumb?
As babies, most children suck their thumbs. The majority of the thumb-suckers stop on their own by four years old. If your child has permanent teeth coming in and is still sucking his thumb, we can evaluate their mouth for potential problems resulting from this behavior.
Does my child need dental X-rays?
It’s customary and safe to have dental X-rays for your child when they're two or three. This will introduce your child to the X-ray method. If your child’s back primary teeth are touching, then we believe in giving annual X-rays from this point on. When your child is six, we expect to see the eruption of permanent teeth. Consistent X-rays will let us confirm that your child’s jaw is correctly positioned and that his teeth are strong. If we see a need for more frequent X-rays or X-rays starting at a younger age, we’ll talk with you about the potential risks to your child’s dental health.
Children have many comforters: being cuddled by Mommy, threadbare blankets, and one-eyed stuffed animals. But there’s another big one that give some parents apprehension. A study shows that in infants, 75% to 95% are thumb-suckers. What does this mean for your child’s dental health?
For most children, sucking their thumbs won’t adversely affect their oral health. Keep a careful eye on your child’s behavior, as thumb sucking can occasionally cause problems.
What’s Normal Thumb-Sucking?
The thumb-sucking habit is learned extremely early, and some children even suck their thumbs in the womb. The instinct for babies to suck is very strong, and this habit can calm them immensely. Since babies can self-soothe through thumb sucking, many kids turn to their thumbs as they get sleepy.
The American Dental Association reports that when kids are two to four years old, thumb sucking generally ceases without any prompting. Dropping this habit is like a rite of passage, and children no longer crave the security that comes with sucking their thumbs. If your child has permanent teeth and is still actively sucking his thumb, then it’s probably time to kick the habit.
What Should I Watch For?
How does your kid suck his thumb? Passive suckers are less inclined to see damage, so if your child sucks his thumb lightly, with his thumb loose and latent within his mouth, he’s probably fine. The more forceful thumb sucker could potentially cause damage, as these suckers press against the teeth or mouth. The consistently added weight of the thumb could hinder correct alignment of the teeth. If your child sucks his thumb too long, you might need to take him to the orthodontist as a teen, and in some cases, the face’s shape can be compromised.
If you worry that thumb sucking is threatening your child’s dental health, feel free to call us to schedule an appointment. We will help you determine the gravity of your child’s habit.
Can I Help My Child Quit?
Here are some helpful tips to help your child stop sucking his thumb:
- Use positive reinforcement instead of punishment.
- Cover their hand with something to prevent them from sucking overnight – either a sock or a bandage will do. Tell them they're not in trouble, but that this is simply a reminder to not suck their thumb.
- Utilize the magical strategy that teachers employ, and create a progress board for your child. Each day with no sucking, your child receives a sticker. Seven days of no sucking, and maybe you can give your child a choice of different rewards. Once your child has gone a month without sucking, the habit is likely snuffed out.
- Pay attention to when your child sucks their thumb. If they're sucking when they are nervous, try and find the root of his nervousness instead of worrying about the habit.
- If your child normally sucks their thumb during movies or while riding in the car, give your child distractions to minimalize sucking.
- Be honest with your child about how thumb sucking can affect his oral health. If your child contributes to their own dental health, they might understand the importance of quitting.
However you proceed with ending your child’s self-soothing behavior, keep in mind that your encouragement and sympathy are vital to the process.
Let us welcome your new baby to the world and send our good tidings to your family! We’re sure you have a lot on your mind. We can help you be ready for your sweet baby’s first tooth. With these instructions, your baby can enjoy a long life of outstanding dental health!
It’s never too early to care for your baby’s gums. Don’t worry if there’s no tooth – your baby can still thrive from early dental care. After feeding your baby (whether it’s breast- or bottle-fed), find a wet cloth or swatch of gauze and wrap your cleaning tool around your finger. Use the gauze or cloth to clean your baby’s gums. Rub the length of your baby’s gums lightly, removing any remaining milk. The ritual of cleaning your baby’s gums will lay the groundwork for a lifetime of oral health.
The First Tooth
Now that you’ve seen your baby’s first pearly white poking through, it’s time to invest in a baby toothbrush. You’ll generally find two versions of baby toothbrushes at your local drugstore. The first is a toothbrush with an extended handle, encouraging your baby to hold the brush with you. The second slips over your finger like a finger-puppet. The bristles should be soft, as your baby’s mouth may be sensitive.
You don’t need toothpaste yet – a little water will suffice. If your baby is reluctant to let you brush his teeth, revert back to the cloth for a while, but revisit the toothbrush after some time. As your child continues to erupt baby teeth, a toothbrush combined with a teether can be a lifesaver during this trying time.
After your child erupts several more primary teeth, it’s time to introduce toothpaste into the regimen. If your child is not yet two, do not use fluoride toothpaste, as it can be harmful to small children. Only a miniscule amount of toothpaste should be used. Work with your child to develop good toothpaste habits, including rinsing well and spitting out all the toothpaste. When you child transitions to fluoride toothpaste, you want to trust your child not to swallow any of it.
Keep sweetened drinks, sugary sodas, and flavored liquids away from your baby. The sugars that exist in breast milk, formula, and fruit juices can lead to tooth decay. Start early to instill a lifetime of oral health in your child. Clean his teeth frequently, and don’t put your baby to sleep with a bottle. The longer sugary drinks stay on your baby’s teeth, the more susceptible the teeth are to tooth decay.
Your Baby’s First Dentist Appointment
What better way to wish your child a happy first birthday than to bring him in for his first dentist appointment! Conveniently that’s the recommended age for your baby’s first visit. Even tiny primary teeth can harbor decay, and regular visits can deter decay from harming your baby’s precious smile. These regular visits will alert us to any oral problem early enough to reverse them. Pay close attention to your attitude about dental visits; your baby will be more at ease if you’re at ease.
Set the Oral Health Bar High
Children learn many behaviors by imitating their parents, and you can play this up in the oral health arena. Let your child be a part of your oral health routine. While they watch you floss your teeth and brush thoroughly, they’ll instinctively relate good oral habits with positive feelings. Once your child seems curious about your oral care, hand them a toothbrush and brush your teeth together. Children can handle chunky-handled toothbrushes easier than thin-handled brushes. Until your child is six or seven, they probably won’t be able to thoroughly brush their teeth by themself. Get your child interested in oral care by introducing flavored toothpastes, finding a cute toothbrush with your child’s most-loved character, or making up songs about brushing your teeth. By associating oral health with positivity and love, your child will carry these healthy habits with them for life.
If a dental emergency arises in your family, don’t hesitate to call us right away. We have an emergency phone number for pressing dental issues that occur outside of our normal office hours. When your child’s oral health is compromised, we are here, no matter what time of day. Please keep our phone number somewhere safe in case of an emergency.
Bitten Tongue or Lip
For lip or tongue bites deep enough to bleed, carefully clean the area with water. Wet a towel with cold water, and securely hold this against the bitten area. This impromptu cold compress should help lessen the swelling. Please call us, and we’ll help you establish the severity of the bite.
Object Lodged In Teeth
When there’s an object stuck in your child’s teeth, don’t panic. Try to tenderly extract the object with dental floss. Do not use abrasive items – metal or sharp tools – to attempt to take out the item. If dental floss doesn’t do the trick, call our emergency line.
Tooth Chip, Break, or Split
To properly deal with a chipped tooth, have your child rinse with warm water. A homemade cold compress – cold water and a washcloth – should alleviate the swelling. If a piece of the tooth can be found, save that chipped piece and contact our office right away.
Tooth Knocked Out
Rinse the tooth with water – do not use soap – and only hold the top of the tooth, the crown, with your fingers. Avoid touching the root. If possible, put the tooth very gently back into the empty socket, and use a cloth to keep it secure. If the tooth is unable to sit in the empty socket, put the tooth in milk. It is urgent to either call our emergency line or to visit the hospital. While baby teeth usually can’t be reattached, there may be time to save your child’s permanent tooth, but please move fast. If a baby tooth is knocked out, you should call us for an appointment. If any pieces of the tooth linger, we’ll need to extract them.
An extremely loose tooth can be dangerous, as it could possibly be inhaled or ingested. You should try to pull the tooth.
Toothaches can be painful for children and adults. If your child tells you they have a toothache, look at their teeth closely, as there might be a foreign object caught in them. Have them rinse with warm water. If there’s persistent pain, apply a cold washcloth on the area – heat and topical painkillers should be avoided for the health of your gums. You can give your child oral painkillers, adhering to the recommended dosage on the bottle. Call our office to set up a visit.
A broken jaw is a very serious injury. Try our emergency line or visit the hospital as soon as possible. In the meantime, help alleviate the swelling with a cold washcloth. Know that jaws often break after a hard blow to the head. In some extreme cases, head wounds can be fatal. Take action immediately.
Be proactive to side-step dental disasters. Children should never gnaw on hard foods such as popcorn kernels and ice. Take time to child proof your home, so that your child can navigate your home safely, and you can live without worry. When riding in cars, make sure infants and youngsters are secure in their car seats, and always ask if your older children have their seatbelts fastened before you start the car. For children active in sports, a protective mouth guard can keep their teeth safe. Lastly, make sure your child is practicing good oral health habits – flossing, brushing, and coming to the dentists twice a year.