Children’s Dentistry: What You Should Know
Dental hygiene should begin when your child is a baby. Starting your children on an oral hygiene routine from an early age will go a long way in ensuring healthier teeth and gums throughout their lives. Part of this involves scheduling regular visits to a dentist. At Carraway Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, we are a family dental office with a wealth of experience in both adult and children's dentistry.
Here's part of what you need to know.
WHEN DO I NEED TO BRING MY CHILD IN FOR THEIR FIRST EXAM AND CLEANING?
Your child's first dental appointment should take place within six months of the first tooth coming out, but no later than their first birthday. Dental visits should start early because your child can get cavities as soon as they have teeth. However, the first cleaning typically takes place a little later, between 12 and 36 months, after most of the baby teeth have appeared. Right from the first dental checkup, you should work with an experienced children's dentist.
WHAT WILL BE DONE AT THE FIRST EXAM AND CLEANING?
The first dental visit usually takes between 30 and 45 minutes. This is usually a quick and informal appointment to introduce the little one to the dentist. Depending on the age of your child, the dental expert will conduct a comprehensive exam of the teeth, gums, jaws, bite, and oral tissues. This is designed to check for proper development as well as cavities. The dentist will perform gentle teeth cleaning to remove stains, tartar, and plaque if necessary. You should also expect:
• Questions about your child's teething, diet, exposure to fluoride, and medical conditions • An opportunity to ask any questions you may have • Expert advice on how to ensure proper dental hygiene
WHAT IF MY CHILD DOESN'T COOPERATE OR GETS REALLY SCARED?
It is normal for both adults and children to have dental anxiety. However, if your child does not cooperate or gets really fearful, you should try to create excitement around the first visit and make them look forward to future appointments. Below are some tips to help you. • Have a two-way conversation with your child about the dental visit • Read books or watch videos about dentists together • Choose a pediatric dentist, preferably a fun one • Schedule your appointment when your child tends to be happiest and most cooperative • Be a good role model by being cheerful and staying relaxed • Be patient with the little one
HOW CAN I PREVENT MY CHILD FROM GETTING CAVITIES?
Prevention is always better than cure. As a parent, you will want to keep dental cavities away in order to avoid future headaches. Here is how you can go about it.
• Regular brushing and flossing. Start brushing as soon as the first tooth appears • Ensure your little one eats a well-balanced diet • Make sure your child drinks a lot of water • Avoid sharing food and beverages to minimize the spread of bacteria • Schedule routine dental visits • Ask your child's dentist about dental sealants. The protective sealants help to prevent decay
In case you suspect your child has a cavity, take them for a dental checkup immediately. Indeed, family dentistry also covers the diagnosis and treatment of cavities in children.
SHOULD I BE BRUSHING MY CHILD'S TEETH WITH FLUORIDE TOOTHPASTE?
Fluoride can help to prevent cavities and reverse early signs of tooth decay. While the mineral is generally recognized as safe, babies and children need less fluoride than adults. Normally, children develop the ability to spit at around age three. As such, experts recommend that children younger than three years old use fluoride toothpaste in an amount the size of a grain of rice, while those between three and six years old should use at most a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. However, you can consider fluoride-free toothpaste if you are concerned about the mineral. Our experts in children's dentistry will be happy to advise you further during your regular visits.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD MY CHILD COME IN FOR CLEANING AND EXAM?
After the first appointment, children should go to the dentist at least once every six months. This allows for proper dental care which may entail a dental exam, teeth cleaning, teeth x-rays, and fluoride treatment. During the dental visits, children's dentistry experts will address any oral health problems before they become more serious.
HOW MANY TEETH SHOULD MY CHILD HAVE?
By the time they are three years old, most kids will have a full set of 20 baby teeth. Between ages six and 12, the 20 baby or milk teeth will start to fall out and will be replaced by 20 permanent teeth. Eight other teeth will also grow behind the baby teeth. By around age 13, most people have 28 permanent teeth.
WHEN WILL MY CHILD LOSE THEIR FIRST TOOTH AND WHEN WILL THE PERMANENT TOOTH COME IN?
Oftentimes, children will lose their first tooth when they are around five or six years old. However, each child is unique; some lose their teeth as early as four, while others are as late as seven. This means that permanent teeth start coming in at about six or seven years.
MY CHILD IS SEVEN YEARS OLD AND STILL HASN'T LOST THE FIRST TOOTH. SHOULD I BE CONCERNED?
In case your child has not lost any teeth by the time they are seven, you should consult your family dentist. While in most instances there will be no problem, the dental expert will examine your child to establish whether all teeth are under the gum. One advantage that late losers enjoy is that they tend to have harder teeth that are more resistant to cavities.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY CHILD NEEDS BRACES? WHEN SHOULD MY CHILD GET BRACES?
It is important to know if your child will need braces. This will enable you to seek proper treatment early on. Here are some signs to watch out for.
• Early, late or irregular loss of milk teeth • Misaligned jaw and improper bite • Prolonged habits like mouth breathing and thumb sucking • Irregular teeth alignment • Mouth or jaw pain • Problems with speech
Usually, a children's dentist will recommend dental braces when the young one is between ages eight and 14. At this age, the child has lost most of their baby teeth and a majority of the permanent teeth have erupted.
The next time you need a family dentist in Greer, SC, look no further than Carraway Family and Cosmetic Dentistry. We are able to see patients of all ages, thanks to our dedicated and experienced dentists. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation and experience quality family dentistry services.