A child’s first visit to the dentist should be around 2-3 years old, enjoyable and positive. The more you and your child know about first visit, the better you will feel. Children are not born with a fear of the dentist, but they can fear the unknown. Executive Dental Arts makes a practice of using pleasant, non-frightening, simple words to describe your child’s first dental visit and treatment. We want you to feel at ease from the moment your family arrives at our dental office.
When New Teeth Arrive
Your child’s first tooth erupts between ages 6 and 12 months, and the remainder of their 20 primary or “baby” teeth typically erupt by age 3. During this time, gums may feel tender and sore, causing your child to feel irritable. To help alleviate 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.
Your child’s primary teeth are shed at various times throughout childhood, and their permanent teeth begin erupting at age 6 and continue until age 21. Adults have 32 permanent teeth including wisdom teeth.
Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits
As new teeth erupt, examine them every week for lines and discoloration caused by decay. Remember that sugary foods and liquids can attack a new tooth, so take care that your child brushes their teeth after feeding and eating. We recommend brushing at least three times a day for optimal oral hygiene. Brushing should be a fun activity and your child should brush as soon as the first tooth arrives. When a baby’s tooth erupts, parents should brush the tooth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. We suggest reviewing proper tooth-brushing procedures and flossing techniques with your dentist.
Fighting Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is preventable. Tooth Decay is caused by sugars left in your mouth that turn into an acid which can break down your teeth. Children are at high risk for tooth decay for a simple reason – many kids and teenagers tend to be lax in their oral hygiene habits. Proper brushing and flossing routines combined with regular dental visits help keep tooth decay away. A low-sugar diet also helps keep tooth decay at bay.
Your child should visit the dentist every 6 months for regular dental cleanings and checkups. We recommend fluoride treatments twice a year along with cleanings to keep teeth their strongest. Tooth Sealants are also recommended because they “seal” the deep grooves in your child’s teeth, preventing decay from forming in these hard-to-reach areas. Sealants last for several years, but will be monitored at your regular checkups.