When should my child see the dentist for the first time?
Dental care is crucial during the first year of your child’s life. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), the American Dental Association (ADA), and the American Academy of Pediatrics all recommend a dental check-up by age one. The appointment will establish a dental home and focus on growth and development and cavity prevention. If your child appears to have any oral or dental concerns, they can be seen sooner. Trauma or injury may also warrant an earlier visit.
What type of toothpaste should I be using?
Starting at birth, the infant’s mouth needs to be cleaned. Start with a soft cloth or a soft infant tooth brush and water. As the first tooth begins to erupt you can introduce fluoride free toothpaste to your child. There are several fluoride-free infant toothpastes available on the market and you will only need to use a “smear” of the toothpaste. Begin brushing two times a day as soon as you see that first tooth. Once the child is two years old, you can begin to use a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste on the appropriate sized toothbrush. Always have the child spit out any excess toothpaste and do the best job possible at brushing your child’s teeth. They do not yet have the ability to brush themselves.
When should my child start getting his or her teeth and how many teeth should my child have?
The first tooth to erupt is usually a lower front tooth. It begins to come in between four to eight months. They are followed by the upper front teeth which begin to appear eight to twelve months. The last tooth to erupt is usually the upper second molars which usually appear between the ages of 25 to 33 months. There will be a total of 20 teeth, 10 on top and 10 on bottom.
Are baby teeth really that important?
Primary or “baby” teeth as they are commonly called are needed for more than a beautiful smile. They are used for not only chewing food, but they are important in speech development. They also aid in developing a path for the permanent teeth to follow when they begin to erupt.
How important is my child’s diet in preventing decay?
A good diet for your child is crucial in preventing decay. Here are some tips to assist you:
- Avoid giving your child juice until they are 6 months old. At this point limit the amount of juice to no more than 4-6 ounces per day.
- Avoid giving your child sticky, sugary snacks. Introduce them to healthy snacks at a young age, such as cheese, yogurt, and fruit as an alternative to candy, soda, sport drinks, or juice.
- Create a bedtime routine which begins with brushing and flossing nightly. Do not put your child to bed with juice or milk, only water.
- Avoid sippy cups filled with juice or soda. Giving your child water only between meals will greatly decrease their chances of developing cavities.
- See your pediatric dentist by age one to establish a healthy diet and habits to prevent decay.
The other dentist told me they may put my child to sleep for treatment, what are my options and is it safe?
Our office offers several different types of sedation dentistry. They range from nitrous oxide gas to general anesthesia. In some cases, nitrous oxide can be used to help comfort your child. Nitrous oxide is safe and is an effective technique in calming a child’s fear of dental visits. We also have days scheduled in the hospital where your child can be treated under general anesthesia. There are several factors that need to be considered before going to the hospital. We need to look at your child’s health risk, the amount of treatment that is needed, and the expense of the hospital. If your child does not meet these criteria, the doctor may suggest one of our in-office sedations. This will be discussed with the parents before any decisions will be made. A treatment plan will then be created and given to you. We strive to work with each family individually in creating a treatment plan that will best suit you.
How do dental sealants work?
As your child develops their permanent molars and premolars in the back of their mouths, we may recommend sealants be placed. These teeth often develop with deep groves in the chewing surfaces. A sealant works like a barrier between these deep grooves and the bacteria that cause decay. It is simple to place sealants and no anesthesia is needed.