A child's first visit to the dentist should be enjoyable. Our office makes a special effort to use pleasant, 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. Getting a child to know their teeth is fun!
When New Teeth Arrive
Your child's first primary or baby teeth will generally 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 often begin erupting at age six, and continue until age 21. Adults should have 28 permanent teeth (32, including wisdom teeth).
Adopting Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits
As your child's teeth erupt, be sure to examine them every two weeks, looking for lines and discoloration that may be caused by decay. Remember that sugary foods and liquids can attack a new tooth, so take care that your child brushes after feeding or eating. We recommend brushing four times a day for optimal oral hygiene: after breakfast, after lunch, after dinner, and at bedtime.
Brushing can be fun, and your child should brush as soon as the first tooth arrives. When a baby's tooth erupts, parents should brush the tooth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. The concentration of fluoride in toothpaste (even "children's toothpaste") is too high to be swallowed. Swallowing fluoridated toothpaste is counterproductive for healthy teeth (especially for young children). For this reason, use a toothpaste without fluoride unitl your child is old enough to reason with her/him to not swallow the toothpaste (more or less age four). At the same time, your child should consume drinking water that is properly fluoridated beginning as early as 6 months of age for optimal dental health.
Flossing is also a part of good oral hygiene habits, and your doctor will discuss with you the right time 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 and/or eating habits. Proper brushing and flossing routines combined with regular dental visits help keep tooth decay away.
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 teeth their strongest. Tooth sealants are often recommended because they "seal" the deep grooves in your child's teeth, preventing decay from forming in these hard-to-reach areas. Sealants last for several years, but will be monitored at your child's regular checkups.
We, at Venetian Pointe Family Dentistry, suggest that your child's first visit with us begin at age 2 - 3. If you feel as if your child requires dental care before the age of 2 then the service of a pediatric dentist (pedodontist) should be sought after. While the vast majority of children do wonderfully at our office, there are certain occasions that require the service of a pedodontist. If this is the case, we will be happy to assist with making these arrangements. The best welfare of your child's oral health is of utmost important to us as it is for you!