A Child’s First Dental Visit
A child’s first dental visit should be scheduled around his/her first birthday. The most important part of the visit is getting to know and becoming comfortable with a doctor and his staff. A pleasant, comfortable first visit builds trust and helps put the child at ease during future dental visits. At Surf Smiles Family Dentistry, the parent is very important at the first dental visit. Your son or daughter will sit in the parent’s lap in the dental chair.
Why Baby Teeth Are Important
The primary, or “baby,” teeth play a crucial role in dental development. Without them, a child cannot chew food properly and has difficulty speaking clearly. Primary teeth are vital to development of the jaws and for guiding the permanent (adult) teeth into place when they replace the primary teeth around age 6.
Since primary teeth guide the permanent teeth into place, children with missing primary teeth or children who prematurely lose primary teeth may require a space maintainer, a device used to hold the natural space open. Without a maintainer, the teeth can tilt toward the empty space and cause permanent teeth to come in crooked. Missing teeth should always be mentioned to your family dentist. The way your child cares for his/her primary teeth plays a critical role in how he/she treats the permanent teeth. Children, like adults, are susceptible to plaque and gum problem. It is very important that a child, like adults, has regular 6 month dental check-ups.
Healthy Diet, Healthy Teeth
The teeth, bones and soft tissue of the mouth require a healthy, well-balanced diet. Most snacks that children eat can cause cavities. During your exam at Surf Smiles Family Dentistry, it is important we discuss your child’s diet. We can help to educate on the effect that potential foods can have on the teeth.
Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
A common occurrence that we see here at Surf Smiles Family Dentistry, are cavities in the front teeth of toddlers. Tooth decay like this can be minimized or totally prevented by not allowing sleeping children to breast or bottle-feed. Infants that need a bottle to comfortably fall asleep should be given a water-filled bottle or a pacifier. Surf Smiles Family Dentistry is dedicated to fighting baby bottle tooth decay. Let us know if you notice any signs of decay or anything unusual in your child’s mouth.
The Eruption of Baby Teeth
A child’s teeth actually start forming before birth. As early as 4 months of age, the primary or “baby” teeth push through the gums—the lower central incisors are first, then the upper central incisors. The remainder of the 20 primary teeth typically erupt by age 3, but the place and order varies.
Permanent teeth begin eruption around age 6, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors. This process continues until around age 21. Adults have 28 secondary (permanent) teeth—32 including the third molars (wisdom teeth).
During the process of tooth eruption, gums are sore and tender. You may notice your child is very irritable and seeks comfort. Rubbing sore gums gently with a clean finger, the back of a cold spoon or a cold, wet cloth helps soothe the gums. Teething rings work well, but avoid teething biscuits—they contain sugar that is not good for baby teeth.