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. The more you and your child know about the first visit, the better you will feel.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends…
Children should visit the dentist within six months after the first tooth appears, and no later than your child’s first birthday. It is important that your child’s newly-erupted teeth 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 first primary or baby teeth will begin to erupt between the ages of six and 12 months, and will continue to erupt until about age three. During this time, your child’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. When your child has finished teething, you can expect a total of 20 primary teeth.
Your child’s primary teeth are shed at various times throughout childhood. Permanent teeth generally begin erupting between five and seven years of age, and continue until age 21. Adults have 28 permanent teeth (32, including wisdom teeth).
Adopting Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits
As your child’s teeth erupt, be sure to regularly examine them, looking for discoloration or ‘holes’ that may be caused by decay. Remember that sugary foods and liquids can attack a new tooth, so limit the frequency of sugary drinks and foods. Supervise and check your child’s brushing habits. A child has limited dexterity, so until they can tie their own shoes, you should brush their teeth for them.
Brushing can be fun! When a baby’s first tooth erupts, parents should brush the tooth with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Flossing is also a part of good oral hygiene habits, and your dentist will discuss with you the right time and method to start flossing. If you notice signs of decay, contact your dentist 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 a diet low in sugary drinks and foods will help prevent tooth decay.
Your child should visit the dentist every six months for regular dental cleanings and checkups. We recommend fluoride treatments twice a year along with their cleanings to keep their teeth the strongest. Tooth sealants may also be recommended to “seal” the deep grooves in your child’s teeth, preventing decay from forming in these hard-to-reach areas. Your doctor will make recommendations for your child’s oral care and individual needs.
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