What can I expect during my child’s first dental visit?
With our special focus on pediatric dentistry, we do all we can to make your child’s dental visits enjoyable! We want you and your child to feel at ease as soon as you arrive at our office. While children don’t naturally fear dental visits, we recognize that they can frequently fear the unknown. We always make a special effort to talk to our young patients cheerfully and kindly during each treatment.
During the first visit and depending on your child’s willingness and comfort level, one of our hygienists will clean and polish your child’s teeth. We will also evaluate your child’s craniofacial development and make appropriate recommendations for necessary next steps. Most children don’t have their first x-rays with us until they are older, around 4 or 5. We treat each young patient as an individual and proceed according to what is most comfortable for your child.
How old should my child be at his or her first dental visit?
It is important for children to visit the dentist by their first birthday. Children’s teeth normally begin to erupt between 6 and 12 months of age, and it is best for the newly-erupted teeth to benefit from proper dental care and oral hygiene habits right from the beginning. For young children, this can be fun!
What can I expect when my child’s new teeth begin to arrive?
The first of children’s primary teeth (baby teeth) will erupt between 6 and 12 months of age, and the teeth will continue to erupt until about age 3. Your child’s gums may become tender and sore during the eruption period. To ease any discomfort, you can soothe the gums by gently rubbing them with a cool, wet cloth or offering your child a teething ring. When the primary teeth have finished erupting, you can expect 20 teeth in all!
Permanent teeth usually begin erupting around age 6, and the eruptions may continue until age 21. Children will lose primary teeth at various times throughout childhood as their permanent teeth erupt. Adults normally have 28 regular permanent teeth and four wisdom teeth.
How should I care for my young child’s teeth?
As your child’s new teeth arrive, you should examine them every two weeks or so. Look for lines and discoloration—these are caused by tooth decay. Sugar-laden foods and drinks can attack new teeth, so be sure to brush the teeth after your child has eaten. For the best oral hygiene, we recommend brushing four times each day—after each meal and at bedtime.
How should I floss and brush my child’s teeth?
As the first tooth arrives, parents should brush it gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. For children younger than age two, we normally do not advise using fluoride toothpaste.
Flossing is also important for good oral hygiene habits, and we will discuss with you the right time to start flossing.
Please contact us immediately if you notice signs of tooth decay.
How can I help to prevent decay in my child’s teeth?
Sugar from foods and drinks can remain in the mouth and become acidic. This acidity can break down teeth, resulting in tooth decay. You can minimize this risk by:
- limiting sugary snacks and drinks
- helping and teaching your child to floss daily and brush twice daily
- scheduling regular appointments every six months for dental cleanings and checkups (our administrative staff will send you reminders)
Along with regular cleanings, we can provide fluoride treatments twice a year to help keep teeth at their strongest. We can also apply tooth sealants, which seal deep grooves in children’s teeth and prevent decay from forming in hard-to-reach areas. Sealants can last several years. At your child’s regular checkups, we will monitor any sealants we have applied.