One Office For The Entire Family!
Superior oral health is vital for a child’s development, and we’re here to help every step of the way. We are committed to making your child’s first dental visit a pleasant and comfortable one. We understand the importance of establishing a good oral hygiene regimen early in a child’s life, and we provide children with the necessary knowledge and treatment to achieve excellent oral health. With preventive dentistry as our focus, we keep your kids on the right track for healthy smiles. Our office has several kid-friendly features, including a TV mounted above the chair, which helps kids relax and enjoy their visit! We also have puppets, books, toys and games to keep your children occupied while waiting for their appointment. Appointments are available all week long for children, but if you wish to have a quiet environment for your child’s visit, book an appointment on Friday or Saturday when no other patients will be in the office to distract your child.
Early Dental Care
Throughout your life, you will have two sets of teeth: primary (baby) teeth and secondary (permanent) teeth. At age 6-8 months, the primary teeth appear; all 20 are in place by age 3.
Permanent teeth will begin to grow around age 6, and except for wisdom teeth, are all present between ages 12 and 14. The next teeth to grow in are the 12-year molars and finally the wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth typically begin breaking through from age 17 and on. The total number of permanent teeth is 32, though few people have room for all 32 teeth. This is why wisdom teeth are usually removed.
Your front teeth are called incisors. The sharp “fang-like” teeth are canines. The next side teeth are referred to as pre-molars or bicuspids, and the back teeth are molars. Your permanent teeth are the ones you keep for life, so it is vital that they are brushed and flossed regularly and that periodic check-ups by a dentist are followed.
Infant’s New Teeth
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 (secondary) teeth into place when they replace the primary teeth around age 6.
Since primary teeth guide the permanent teeth into place, infants with missing primary teeth or infants 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 and adults are equally susceptible to plaque and gum problems—hence, the need for regular care and dental checkups.
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 the doctor and her staff. A pleasant, comfortable first visit builds trust and helps put the child at ease during future dental visits. If possible, we allow the child to sit in a parent’s lap in the exam room. Children should be encouraged to discuss any fears or anxiety they feel. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends X-rays and examinations every six months for children with a high risk of tooth decay. On average, most pediatric dentists request radiographs approximately once a year. Approximately every 3 years it is a good idea to obtain a complete set of radiographs, either a panoramic and bitewings or periapicals and bitewings.
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
(Early Childhood Caries)
One serious form of decay among young children is baby bottle tooth decay. This condition is caused by frequent and long exposures of an infant’s teeth to liquids that contain sugar. Among these liquids are milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice and other sweetened drinks.
Putting a baby to bed for a nap or at night with a bottle other than water can cause serious and rapid tooth decay. Sweet liquid pools around the child’s teeth giving plaque bacteria an opportunity to produce acids that attack tooth enamel. If you must give the baby a bottle as a comforter at bedtime, it should contain only water.
After each feeding, wipe the baby’s gums and teeth with a damp washcloth or gauze pad to remove plaque. The easiest way to do this is to sit down, place the child’s head in your lap or lay the child on a dressing table or the floor. Whatever position you use, be sure you can see into the child’s mouth easily.
Tooth decay is caused by the bacteria found in dental plaque (the white film that forms on a person's teeth). In general, the longer dental plaque remains on a tooth's surface the more likely it will be able to form a cavity. The idea behind brushing teeth is that dental plaque that has accumulated on a tooth's surface is scrubbed off.
Some back teeth, especially molars, can be difficult to clean because the grooves found on their chewing surface (the tooth's "pits and fissures") are deep and narrow. Even though the person brushes their teeth not all of the dental plaque that is present is cleansed off because the individual bristles of their toothbrush are simply too large to gain access into the depths of the tooth's grooves. Because some plaque has not been cleaned away, the tooth is at risk for the formation of decay.
By bonding plastic resin (the dental sealant) into the grooves of a tooth a dentist can create a tooth surface that is smoother. There are no longer any locations on the chewing surface of the tooth that the bristles of a toothbrush can't access and clean. Since dental plaque can be removed more easily and effectively, there is much less of a chance that tooth decay will form.
Fluoride varnish is a safe and protective coating that can be painted on baby teeth or permanent teeth in under a minute, and that can reduce tooth decay by 46% when used regularly. Fluoride varnish applied every six months is effective in preventing caries in the primary and permanent dentition of children and adolescents, especially in high risk populations. Among the definitions they use to define high risk patients are patients older than six years of age and with poor oral hygiene, in active orthodontic treatment or those that have irregular dental care.Fluoride varnish applications take less time, create less patient discomfort and achieve greater patient acceptability than does fluoride gel, especially in pre-school aged children.