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We see kids of all ages – from babies and toddlers to young children, tweens and teens. The American Dental Association recommends that parents bring children to the dentist for their first visit soon after the first baby tooth comes in.
A child's first visit to the dentist should be enjoyable. Children are not born with a natural fear of the dentist, but they can fear the unknown. Our office makes a special effort to use pleasant, non-frightening, 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.
First primary or baby teeth will begin to erupt between the ages of six and 12 months and will continue to erupt until about age three. During this process of teeth eruption, your child's gums may feel tender and sore. To help minimize 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 begin erupting at age six and continue until age 21. Adults have 28 permanent teeth (32 including wisdom teeth).
Sugary foods and liquids can attack new teeth, so take care that your child brushes after eating. To maintain proper oral hygiene, we recommend brushing at least four times after breakfast, after lunch, after dinner and at bedtime. As the teeth erupt, make sure you examine them every two weeks for signs of discoloration as they may be signs of decay.
A parent should start brushing their child's teeth as soon as the first tooth arrives. Parents should brush the teeth with soft bristles toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Children under two years should not use fluoride toothpaste unless advised by a dentist or health care professional.
Flossing is part of good oral hygiene. You should discuss with your doctor about the right time to start flossing for your child.
When sugar is left in the mouth, it turns into acid which breaks down your teeth and causes tooth decay. Children are at highest risk of getting decay due to some simple reasons:
Many children and adolescents do not practice regular, good oral hygiene habits. Proper brushing and flossing routines combined with regular dental visits help keep tooth decay away.
Children should visit a dentist every six months for regular dental cleanings and checkups. We recommend fluoride treatment at least twice a year with their regular cleanings as they make teeth stronger. We also recommend sealants which "seals" deep grooves and prevent decay. Sealants last for several years and will be monitored at regular checkups.
Here at Woodgrove Family Dentists, we look forward to seeing kids' faces light up with smiles in our office! We take the time needed to build excitement about dental visits, and we show children how important it is to keep those "cavity bugs" away. We do our very best to help our pediatric dental patients also feel happy and positive! We'll put cartoons on the TV, turn down the lights, get your child comfortable under a cozy blanket while hugging our special stuffed toy. All care is provided with a gentle touch.
Here are a few ways to prepare kids ahead of time to make the experience as positive as possible:
Get some books about visiting the dentist and use story time to kick-start a conversation. Age-appropriate books about visiting the dentist can be very helpful in making the visit seem fun. Here is a list of parent and dentist-approved books:
A fun way to get kids comfortable is to play "dentist," using props like toothbrushes, flashlights and cups for rinsing, and invite all their stuffed animals for a checkup, where your child can practice being the patient, the dentist and the parent.