A child’s first visit to the dentist should be enjoyable, so the more you and your child know about the first visit, the better you both will feel. Our dental centers make a special effort to use pleasant, non-frightening, simple words to describe each treatment, making sure you and your child feel at ease from the moment your family arrives at one of our dental centers.
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 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 continue until about age three. During this time, your child’s gums may feel tender and sore. You can help alleviate their discomfort and soothe the gums by rubbing a clean finger or a cool, wet cloth across them or use a teething ring. When your child has finished teething, you can expect a total of 20 primary teeth.
Your child will shed their primary teeth at various times throughout childhood. Permanent teeth generally begin erupting between ages five and seven 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. Contact your dentist immediately if you see anything suspicious.
Supervise and check your child’s brushing habits. A child has limited dexterity, so think about it this way: until they can tie their own shoes, you should brush their teeth for them with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
Flossing is also an important part of good oral hygiene habits, and your dentist will discuss with you the right time and method to start flossing.
Tooth decay is caused by sugary foods and liquids left in your mouth that turn into an acid, which can break down your teeth. That is why it’s important to limit the amount your child receives.
Preventing Tooth Decay with Regular Checkups
Children and adolescents are at high risk for tooth decay for a simple reason: many do not practice regular, good oral hygiene habits. Proper brushing and flossing routines along with a diet low in sugary drinks and foods 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 cleanings to keep their teeth strong. Tooth sealants may be recommended to seal any 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.