Pediatric dentistry focuses on the dental needs of children. Our team is specifically trained in the unique dental needs of children, but also in creating a safe and comfortable environment for them. As a caring healthcare provider, pediatric dentists understand the importance of making their young patients feel at ease and reducing any anxiety they may have about dental visits. We can help you take charge of your child’s dental health and keep them smiling with pediatric dentistry.
When to Start
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children should visit the dentist by their first birthday. It is important that your child’s new teeth receive proper attention and good oral hygiene habits from the start.
When New Teeth Come In
Primary or baby teeth will begin to come in between the ages of six and 12 months and will continue to come in until around age three. While their teeth are coming in, your child’s gums will likely feel tender and sore. Your child’s primary teeth are shed at various times throughout childhood and permanent teeth begin coming in at age six and continue until age 21.
Starting Healthy Habits
It is recommended to have your child’s teeth examined every two weeks as they are coming in. It’s important to be looking for lines and discoloration that may be caused by decay. We also recommend brushing after meals and at bedtime to start those great oral hygiene habits.
Flossing is also a beneficial part of good habits and our office can discuss the right time for your child to start flossing with you.
Children can be at high risk for tooth decay simply because they do not practice regular, good oral hygiene habits. Tooth decay is caused by sugar left in your mouth that can begin breaking down your teeth. Brushing, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist help keep tooth decay away.
Pediatric Dental Emergencies
We are always here to assist when dental emergencies arise. If your child is experiencing a dental emergency, please give our office a call immediately. Some examples of dental emergencies in children can be:
- Bitten lip or tongue
- Object caught in teeth
- A broken, chipped, or fractured tooth
- Knocked-out tooth
- Loose tooth
Lip & Tongue Tie
A tongue tie is a birth defect that involves the strip of skin (lingual frenulum) connecting a baby’s tongue to the floor of their mouth is shorter than usual. Typically, this strip of skin separates before birth, allowing the tongue a free range of motion, but in some cases, this will not separate and will cause the tongue to remain “tied.”
The tongue tie is a very common condition that, if addressed quickly, will not hinder a child’s development. Discuss with our office if you suspect that your child has a tongue tie.
Pediatric Dental FAQs
When should I schedule my child’s first visit to the dentist?
We recommend making an appointment to see the dentist as soon as your child gets their first tooth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children be seen by six months after their first tooth erupts, or at one year of age, whichever comes first.
What happens during my child’s first visit to the dentist?
The first visit is usually short and simple. In most cases, we focus on getting to know your child and giving you some basic information about dental care. The doctor will check your child’s teeth and if necessary, we may do a bit of cleaning. We will also answer any questions you have about how to care for your child’s teeth as they develop, and provide you with materials containing helpful tips that you can refer to at home.
How can I best prepare my child for his first dental appointment?
The best preparation for your child’s first visit to our office is maintaining a positive attitude. Children can pick up on adults’ nervousness so if you are able to stay positive and relaxed, your child will follow. Let your child know the importance of keeping teeth and gums healthy, and that the doctor will help them do that.
How often should my child visit the dentist?
We recommend visiting us every six months. Depending on the circumstances of your child’s oral health, we may recommend more frequent visits.
Baby teeth aren’t permanent. Why do they need special care?
Although they don’t last as long as permanent teeth, your child’s first teeth play an important role in his development. While they’re in place, these primary teeth help your little one speak, smile, and chew properly. They also hold space in the jaw for permanent teeth. If a child loses a tooth too early (due to damage or decay) nearby teeth may encroach on that space, which can result in crooked or misplaced permanent teeth. Also, your child’s general health is affected by the oral health of the teeth and gums.
How can I help my child avoid cavities?
Be sure that your child brushes their teeth at least twice a day. Help them floss to clean in between their teeth daily as well. Avoid sugary foods and drinks, limit snacking, and maintain a healthy diet as much as possible.