A child’s first visit to the dentist should be enjoyable. Our office makes a special effort to use age appropriate vocabulary to explain procedures in a way that invites curiosity, not fear. We want you and your child to feel at ease from the moment you arrive at our office. The more you and your child know about the first visit, the better you will feel.
Why Choose a Pediatric Dentist
Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. Pediatric dentists have spent an additional 2-3 years after dental school focused exclusively on learning about and treating children. Why is that important? Children have different oral and cognitive needs than teens and adults that are best addressed by someone who is trained specifically in children’s dental care.
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry Recommendation
Your child should visit the dentist by their first birthday or when their first tooth erupts, whichever occurs first. It is important that your child’s newly erupted teeth receive proper dental care and will benefit from early oral hygiene habits.
Getting to know your teeth is fun!
When New Teeth Arrive
Your child’s first primary, or baby, teeth typically begin to erupt between the ages of 6 and 12 months and will continue to erupt until about age 3. During this time, your child’s gums may feel tender and sore. 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 begin erupting around age 6 and continue until age 21. However, these timelines are approximate as every child is different.
Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits
As your child’s teeth erupt, if you see lines and discoloration, that could possibly indicate decay, please call us right away. Remember that sugary foods and liquids can attack a new tooth, so brush your child’s teeth after every feeding or meal. We recommend brushing two times a day for optimal oral hygiene: in the morning and at bedtime.
Brushing can be fun, and brushing should begin as soon as the first tooth arrives. While child involvement is important and encouraged with brushing, it is recommended that an adult rebrush to ensure adequate hygiene. We recommend fluoridated toothpaste for all children starting at tooth eruption. Use only a smear of toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice up to age 3. After the third birthday, you can start using a pea-sized amount. We recommend dispensing toothpaste for young children and supervising and assisting with brushing.
Flossing is also a part of good oral hygiene habits, and we can talk to you about the right time to start flossing. 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. Proper brushing and flossing routines combined with regular dental visits help keep tooth decay away.
Your child should visit the dentist every 6 months for regular dental cleanings and checkups. We often recommend fluoride treatments twice a year, along with cleanings to keep teeth their strongest.
Dental Sealants for Children
Tooth sealants are also a good option because they “seal” the deep grooves on the chewing surfaces of your child’s teeth, preventing decay from forming in these hard-to-reach areas. Sealants last for several years, but we will monitor them at your child’s regular checkups. If you want to learn more about how sealants can benefit your child’s oral health, give us a call, and we’ll be happy to tell you more.