Dentistry for Children
A child’s first visit to the dentist should be enjoyable and positive. The more you and your child know about the first visit, the better you will feel. Children are not born with a fear of the dentist, but they can fear the unknown. To ease these fears, our dentists and staff use simple, non-frightening, simple words to describe your child’s first dental visit and treatment. Following your child’s dental visit, he or she will be invited to select a prize from the treasure chest. We also provide children’s toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss for your child to take home.
To prepare for your child’s visit, we have created an activity kit to familiarize your child with dental care: Dynamite Dental Fun Kit.
When New Teeth Arrive
Your child’s first tooth erupts between ages 6-12 months, and the remainder of the 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. For more information on dental care for baby, click here.
Your child’s primary teeth are shed at various times throughout childhood, and the permanent teeth begin erupting at age 6 and continue until age 21. Adults have 28 permanent teeth, or 32 including wisdom teeth.
For more information check out our “Know Your Teeth” informational graphic »
Adopting Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits
As new teeth erupt, examine them every two weeks 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 his or her teeth after meals. For optimal oral hygiene we recommend brushing four times a day: after breakfast, after lunch, after dinner, and at bedtime. Brushing can be fun, and should begin as soon as the first tooth arrives. When a baby’s first tooth erupts, parents should brush with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of non-fluoridated toothpaste. As your child gets older, he or she will begin to take over brushing duties. We suggest reviewing proper tooth-brushing procedures with your child and assisting until age 10.
Flossing is an important part of good oral hygiene habits, and your DDA dentist will discuss with you the right time to start flossing.
How to Floss
How to Brush
Preventing Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is preventable. Tooth decay is caused by sugars left in your mouth that breakdown into an acid that erodes your teeth. Decay, when left untreated can the soft interior of the tooth and cause pain or infection. Children are at high risk for tooth decay for a simple reason — many children and adolescents tend to be lax in their oral hygiene habits. A low-sugar, proper brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits help keep tooth decay away. If you notice any signs of decay or suspect that your child has a cavity, contact your DDA dentist immediately.
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 strong. 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.