As personified in our practice philosphy, children are some of our most special patients. The whole atmosphere of our office is designed to make a child's first visit to our office enjoyable. By starting young with our patients, we can make them at home in a friendly, caring. Quite often, parents bring a 3 year old in to observe and watch how easy their parent's appointment is. It is one of the benefits of treating the entire family.
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommendation
An infant should visit our office before their first birthday for an infant-toddler exam. This consists of a parent holding the child and leaning them back into Dr. Spangler's lap to get a good look in their mouth. Parents are frequently concerned that they will cry or sceam, and that this will be disruptive. This is exactly what we want to happen, as it gives Dr. Spangler the 45 seconds he needs to examine and apply topical fluoride to the newly erupting teeth.
This important treatment protects gives your child's newly-erupted teeth (erupting at 6-12 months of age) preventive care right from the beginning. This can prevent other problems when they are 3-5 years of age, and keep the dental appointment an easy and fun experience.
When new teeth arrive
Your child's first primary, or “baby” teeth will begin to erupt between the ages of six and twelve months, and will continue to erupt until about age three. During this time, your child's gums may feel tender and sore. 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. When your child has finished teething, you can expect a total of 20 primary teeth.
Your child's primary teeth are shed at various times throughout childhood, and their permanent teeth begin erupting at age six, and continue until age twenty-one. Adults have 28 permanent teeth, 32 including wisdom teeth.
Adopting healthy oral hygiene habits
As your child's teeth erupt, be sure to examine them every two weeks, looking for lines and discoloration that may be caused by decay. Remember that sugary foods and liquids can attack a new tooth, so take care that your child brushes after feeding or eating. We recommend brushing four times a day for optimal oral hygiene: after breakfast, after lunch, after dinner, and at bedtime.
Brushing can be fun, 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 toothpaste. For children younger than two, do not use fluoride toothpaste unless advised to do so by your dentist or other healthcare professional. We suggest reviewing proper tooth brushing procedures with your child.
Flossing is also a part of good oral hygiene habits, and your doctor will discuss with you the right time to start flossing. If you notice signs of decay, contact your dentist immediately.
Preventing tooth decay with regular checkups
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 children and adolescents do not practice regular, good oral hygiene habits. Proper brushing and flossing routines combined with regular dental visits help keep tooth decay away.
Your child should visit the dentist every six 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.