When Should My Child First Visit the Dentist?
Around 24 months is an excellent time to schedule you baby's first Happy Visit. At that time we'll introduce you child to dentistry, and begin to educate your family on oral hygiene and answer any questions you might have about caring for your child's teeth.
An early introduction to proper oral care habits, including regular checkups, will help keep your child's smile healthy for a lifetime.
What Will Happen At The First Visit?
After making your child feel comfortable, we will begin examining their mouth. The examination will include the teeth, gums, tongue, lips and roof of the mouth. Depending upon your child's age, number of teeth present and ability to cooperate, we may order a few x-rays to detect cavities if decay is suspected. X-rays are also helpful for determining the normal development of permanent teeth. We may also clean your child's teeth and apply fluoride.
How Should I Prepare My Child for the First Visit?
Your attitude should convey the message that dental visits are pleasant experiences. Emphasize the attention your child will get while in the chair and try to schedule the appointment for the time of day when your child is most rested and cooperative. To prepare your child, read a story together about a trip to the dentist, or play dentist and take turns, etc.
How Can I Keep My Child's Teeth Healthy?
It is important to begin a daily oral care routine for your child before the first tooth appears. After each feeding, wipe your child's gums with a warm, wet cloth or a small gauze pad to remove excess food and bacteria. As soon as the first teeth appear, brush them with a small, soft-bristled brush moistened with warm water.
When teeth begin to touch each other, add daily flossing to the routine. With adult supervision, most children are able to brush their own teeth by about the age of four; however, we recommend assisting your child at least once a day to ensure a thorough job. You should continue to monitor their oral care throughout childhood. Remember, by maintaining your own healthy oral care habits, you can be an important role model for your children.
What Else Do I Need to Know About Brushing?
Have your child brush with a pea-sized dot of fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride will help strengthen teeth against decay. Your child will go through toothbrushes quickly, so check the brush often and replace it when it is worn out. Have your child hold the tooth brush at a 45-degree angle and brush gently back and forth with short strokes. Make sure to brush the outside, inside and chewing surfaces of each tooth. Teach your child to finish by brushing her tongue to freshen her breath and remove bacteria.
Why Are Primary (Baby) Teeth Important?
Primary teeth are important to your child's development for a number of reasons: they encourage the development of the jaw bone, reserve the space required for the permanent teeth that follow and also enable your child to chew solid food. Moreover, baby teeth assist in speech development and contribute to your child's positive feelings about his or her appearance, which helps build self confidence.
How Can I Protect My Child's Primary (Baby) Teeth?
Baby bottle tooth decay is the leading cause of decay and tooth loss in very young children. This condition usually occurs when a baby is allowed to continuously nurse from a bottle of milk, formula or fruit juice at nap time or bed-time. You can help prevent this condition by always cleaning your infant's mouth and teeth after nursing, and by giving your infant only water in a bottle or a pacifier at bedtime. You can also safeguard the health of your baby's teeth by weaning your child from the bottle by the age of one.
What Else Can I Do To Safeguard My Child's Smile?
A balanced diet is essential for children's’ teeth to develop properly. Teeth, bones and soft tissue in the mouth will benefit from a diet consisting of a variety of healthy foods. Your child's diet should include foods from all the five major food groups:
Breads, cereals and grains
Milk, cheese and yogurt
Meat, poultry and fish and their alternatives, such as beans, eggs and nuts
Discourage sugary and starchy snacks. Provide bite-sized fresh vegetables instead.
What If My Child Damages Or Knocks Out A Tooth?
Active children may chip or dislodge a tooth completely. Call us as soon as possible after the accident occurs. If the tooth is chipped, take the broken piece with you because we may be able to bond the piece back onto the tooth. If a healthy permanent tooth is completely knocked out, keep the tooth moist in milk or water and get to the dentist immediately. In most cases, teeth can be successfully replanted if they are brought to a dentist within the first hour after an accident. Do not wrap the tooth in tissue or gauze or let it dry out. If the tooth is a primary (baby) tooth, we may insert a space maintainer to keep the space open for a permanent tooth.
Are There Other Preventive Measures To Consider As The Child Gets Older?
At the appearance of your child's first permanent molars, usually about age six, you should consider sealants to protect your child's back teeth to help "seal out" decay. In some cases, we might also recommend applying sealants to primary teeth as well. This involves applying a thin plastic coating to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. If your local water supply does not contain fluoride, we usually recommend a fluoride mouth rinse or other sources of extra fluoride.
At What Age Should My Child's Teeth Appear?
Please refer to the list below to find out the approximate ages for tooth appearance. Since these are only averages, however, don't be concerned if your child's tooth development varies somewhat from this timetable.
When Primary (Baby) Teeth Appear
When Permanent Teeth Appear
17-21 yrs. (wisdom teeth)
17-21 yrs. (wisdom teeth)