A child’s first visit to the dentist should be enjoyable. Children are not born with a natural fear of the dentist, but they can fear the unknown.
Our office makes a special effort to use pleasant, non-frightening, simple words to describe each treatment. We want you and your child to feel at ease from the moment your family arrives at our office.
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends
Children should visit the dentist by their first birthday. It is vital that your child’s newly emerged teeth (which appear at six to 12 months of age) receive proper dental care and benefit from proper oral hygiene habits right from the beginning.
Getting to know your teeth is fun!
When new teeth arrive
Your child’s primary, or “baby,” teeth normally begin to erupt between the ages of 4 to 12 months, and will continue to emerge until about age three. During this time, your son or daughter’s gums may feel tender and sore.
To help alleviate this discomfort, we recommend that you soothe the gums by rubbing a clean finger or a cool, wet cloth across them. You may also choose to make use of a teething ring.
Your child’s primary teeth are shed at various times throughout childhood. Permanent teeth begin appearing between 5 and 6 years of age and continue until age 21. Adults most commonly have 32 permanent teeth, although the four wisdom teeth (third molars) will normally be extracted.
Adopting healthy oral hygiene habits
As your child’s teeth erupt, make sure to examine them often, to look for lines and discoloration that may be caused by decay. Remember that sugary foods and liquids can attack a new tooth, so take care that you brush your children’s teeth regularly. We recommend brushing two times a day for optimal oral hygiene.
Brushing can be fun. When a baby’s tooth erupts, parents should brush it with a soft-bristled brush and just a smear of fluoridated toothpaste on the bristles. Once a child reaches the age of 3, up to a pea size amount of toothpaste can be used.
Flossing is also a part of good oral hygiene habits, and Dr. Parker will discuss with you the right time to start flossing your little one’s teeth. If you notice signs of decay, contact us immediately.
Preventing tooth decay with regular checkups
Tooth decay is caused by sugars left in your mouth that turn into an acid, which can break down your teeth. Children are at high risk for tooth decay for a simple reason: many children and adolescents do not practice regular, good oral hygiene habits. Proper brushing and flossing routines combined with regular dental visits help keep tooth decay away.
Your youngster should visit us every six months for regular dental cleanings and checkups. We recommend fluoride treatments twice a year along with cleanings to keep teeth their strongest.
Tooth sealants are also recommended because they “seal” the deep grooves in your child’s teeth, and prevent decay from forming in these hard-to-reach areas. Sealants last for several years, but will be monitored at regular checkups.