A baby's first teeth begin to appear in the 6 to 12-month range. Typically, it’s the two lower front ones that appear first. The baby teeth come into place from the front of the mouth and then on to the back. With that said, most children will get all their baby teeth by the time they are three.
For babies with new teeth just emerging, we may recommend just a washcloth or infant toothbrush to start. As your baby grows and more teeth come into place, an age-appropriate soft bristled brush, and a tiny dab of toothpaste will be recommended. One word of caution; be careful that your child does not swallow the dab of toothpaste. When your child gets older, we will teach him or her more about the responsibilities of self-care and oral hygiene.
While getting teeth is an important milestone in a baby’s development, it’s essential to be aware that teething can make a baby quite irritable. Your little one may act fussy, have trouble sleeping, avoid eating, and drool quite a bit. While you are powerless to speed up the process of teething, there are a few things that you can do to soothe your baby as their new teeth are erupting into place. Common approaches to helping your baby feel more comfortable while getting their new teeth include safe teething rings, a cold spoon, or a moist gauze rubbed over their gums. Remember, you can always call our office if you have any concerns.
The first set of teeth not only makes it possible for your baby to smile, eat, and speak, but they also play the critical role of serving as placeholders for the permanent teeth. Losing a baby tooth too early can potentially result in a misaligned smile.
When caring for your child’s smile, it’s important to remember that baby teeth are just as susceptible as the permanent teeth to decay. In fact, more than 50% of children develop cavities before the age of five. Not only does tooth decay pose a risk to the health of the involved baby teeth, but untreated cavities can also have consequences for your child’s overall well-being and the permanent teeth that are yet to come into place.
Baby bottle syndrome, which is also known as nursing bottle syndrome, refers to the rampant tooth decay that results from babies sleeping with a bottle containing milk or juice. While the damage is most prevalent in the front teeth of the upper jaw, extensive dental work is typically required to restore the toddler’s oral health and prevent infections. New parents are advised not to let their baby sleep with a bottle or at least swap the juice or milk for water.
Some children persist in sucking their thumbs or fingers beyond their preschool years. For these children, the activity continues to be a source of comfort, relaxation, and security. It may even help them fall asleep at night. However, it’s essential to be aware that in the long-term, a finger sucking habit is not healthy.
If your child is still thumb or finger sucking by the age of five or six years, it’s time to constructively help them stop the habit. If it has caused any alterations to the alignment of the teeth or jaws, or if it is affecting your child’s speech or swallowing patterns, it’s likely your child requires orthodontic care.
The American Dental Association advises parents to bring their kids in for a routine checkup and preventive care once every six months. At this time, our dentist will examine the teeth, gums, and jaws to assess your child’s overall dental health and development. Your child will also have a dental cleaning performed in addition to receiving age-appropriate oral hygiene instructions and nutritional guidance. If any emerging issues are detected, our office will provide the treatment required to address these problems early in their onset.
Our office takes pride in providing gentle, compassionate care in an environment designed with children’s comfort in mind. However, everyone is different. While for some children, a trip to the dentist is taken in stride; for others, it can present challenges that produce significant anxiety. If your child is apprehensive, has a medical condition, special needs, or difficulty sitting in a dental chair, we can discuss the best choices for the provision of care and options in dental sedation.
Helping your child start the school year on the right foot not only means getting the correct school supplies, but it also involves making sure your child is in the best of health. One key to avoiding setbacks during the academic year is to make sure your child’s smile is in tip-top shape! Our practice specializes in addressing the dental needs of children as well as helping them establish a strong foundation for a lifetime of optimal oral health.
Cavities develop when plaque is not consistently removed from around the teeth and gums. Due to inadequate oral hygiene practices and dietary habits, children are especially prone to developing cavities. As an added level of protection against tooth decay in children, our office typically recommends periodic fluoride treatments and dental sealants.
Sometimes, due to tooth decay or a traumatic injury, a child may lose a primary tooth early, before the permanent one underneath is ready to come into place. When this happens, our dentist will consider the best way to hold the space left by the baby tooth and maintain a clear path for the succeeding adult tooth. Sometimes a small dental appliance, known as a space maintainer, is required to make sure the permanent tooth does not become crowded out of the dental arch or impacted by shifting adjacent teeth.
In addition to checking for the presence of dental disease, harmful oral habits, as well as the presence of other unhealthy activities or conditions, our office will also monitor your child’s facial growth, jaw development, and alignment of their smile. If orthodontic treatment is indicated, we’ll advise you of our recommendations for care. One common misconception regarding orthodontic treatment is to wait until all of the permanent teeth (except the wisdom teeth) are present. However, most problems involving the alignment of the teeth and jaw growth can be identified by the time a child is in the first or second grade.
If your child or teen plays sports, a sports mouthguard is an excellent idea. Properly fitted, mouthguards are a fundamental component of protective athletic gear and have been demonstrated to reduce trauma to the teeth, tongue, lips, and jaws. Based on your child’s involvement in a particular sport, we’ll advise you on the most appropriate mouthguard to protect his or her smile.
After your child’s permanent molars and premolars come into place, we typically recommend the placement of dental sealants. As an ultra-thin, clear coating that is painlessly applied to the biting surfaces and grooves on the back teeth, dental sealants block the bacteria and acids that cause decay.
Wisdom teeth, which are also known as the third molars, are the last permanent teeth to develop in the oral cavity as well as the final ones to come into place. However, as is often the case, many wisdom teeth do not have sufficient room to erupt, are not developing correctly, or are causing issues for the adjacent teeth and the surrounding tissues. If the wisdom teeth are not fully or partially impacted, they tend to emerge between the ages of 17 and 21 years. At every checkup visit, our office will monitor the development and position of your child’s wisdom teeth and recommend if and when any extractions are indicated.
Our goal is to help every patient experience the benefits of good oral health and a beautiful smile. We value the trust you have placed in our office and strive to provide solutions that meet your dental needs and expectations of care.