Frequently Asked Questions About Pediatric Dentistry and Children's Dental Care
Oral care is important for everyone, including children. Proper oral care for your child to ensure the proper development of their teeth. Taking care of their mouth now helps to set them up for good oral health in the future. At Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry, we can help you and your child to take care of their mouth, and set them up for a lifetime of optimal oral health. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about pediatric dentistry and dental care for your child.
What Is Pediatric Dentistry?
All dentists go to dental school and receive four years of education. Pediatric dentistry is one of nine dental specialties. As pediatric dentists, we receive two to three additional years of education and specialized training. We focus on the oral care of infants, children, and adolescents. We also have the training and experience necessary to provide oral care to children and adults with special needs. We strive to provide quality care for your child in an environment that is welcoming, comforting, and safe.
When Should I Bring My Child in for Their First Visit?
According to the American Dental Association, your child should be seen for his or her very first dental visit six months after the eruption of their first tooth, or by their first birthday, whichever one comes first.
What Happens During the First Visit?
The first visit is designed for you and your child to get to know us, and for us to get to know your child. This visit is generally a short one. It gives us an opportunity to provide you with some information on the dental care of your child, as well as answer any questions you might have. We may also take a quick peek inside the mouth to look at the teeth. At the end of your visit, we may also provide you with materials on how to help care for developing teeth and help your child maintain a healthy mouth.
How Often Should My Child See the Dentist?
Just like an adult, your child should be seen every 6 months. Depending upon the specific needs of your child, we may recommend more frequent visits. The earliest visits are used to continue helping your child get used to our office. We then begin to clean and examine their teeth. We show them the tools that we use and explain what we do with them before using them, giving your child an opportunity to grow comfortable with our procedures.
When Will My Child Get Their Teeth?
Most children start to get their first baby teeth around the age of 6 months. Some children may get their first teeth earlier (between 3 and 4 months), while others may not get their first tooth until closer to their first birthday. The baby teeth do not erupt all at once. Instead, they come in gradually over the course of their first few years of life. Children have a total of 20 baby teeth, and the last of the baby teeth usually erupt before the age of 3.
How Can I Help My Child With Teething?
Teething can be an uncomfortable process for many infants. The pain usually begins 2 to 3 days before the tooth erupts, and lasts until the tooth is through the gums. You may notice that your child drools, gnaws on hands more frequently, or that they are quite fussy. Some children have no issues as their teeth erupt. If your child is uncomfortable during the teething process, there are things that you can do. You can gently rub the gum tissue with a clean finger. You can also use the back of a cool spoon, or a damp, cool washcloth. There are also plenty of teething toys that can be helpful.
Is Thumb Sucking or Using a Pacifier Harmful?
Sucking is a natural reflex in children. They may suck their thumb, or they may rely on a pacifier. The act of sucking may help to soothe your child, helping them to feel safe, comfortable, and secure. These habits can become a problem if your child continues thumb-sucking or using a pacifier as their permanent teeth begin to erupt (usually around the age of 6). Continued sucking can lead to developmental problems in the jaw and affect the alignment of the teeth. It is important to help your child to stop sucking their thumb or using a pacifier between the ages of 2 and 4 before the permanent teeth start to emerge. We can help to provide you with tips on how to help your child if you are having trouble.
Are Baby Teeth That Important?
Baby teeth are extremely important. Along with helping your child to eat, they help your child to develop proper speech patterns. They are important for holding space in the jaw for the eruption and proper alignment of the permanent teeth. They also help to give your child an adorable smile. Premature loss of baby teeth can affect the oral health of your child. If your child has lost a baby tooth early, it is important to schedule an appointment.
How Can I Help My Child Care for Their Teeth?
Oral care begins before the eruption of the first tooth. Before your child gets their first teeth, you can clean their gums with a damp washcloth after feedings. Once the teeth begin to emerge, you can start to brush them. Chose a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. You should use toothpaste, but do not use fluoridated products before the age of 2.
How Can I Help My Child Prevent Cavities?
Children are very susceptible to cavities, but you can help your child avoid them. Make sure that your child brushes their teeth at least twice a day. Young children should be monitored. You can let your child brush their own teeth, but you may need to go over them when they are finished to ensure that every area has been reached.
How Can My Child Protect Their Teeth During Sports?
If your child plays sports, it is important for them to wear a mouthguard. Mouthguards help to protect against tooth injury, injuries to the soft tissues, or jaw injuries. A custom fit mouthguard, which is professionally made from impressions of the mouth, helps to provide your child with greater protection.
If you have any questions or concerns about pediatric dentistry or the dental care of your child, contact Tiny Teeth Pediatric Dentistry today at (316) 202-9629.