At Mint Dental, we see all ages of children. Many of our patients enjoy having one dental office for the whole family.
A child's first visit to the dentist should be enjoyable. Children are not born with a natural fear of the dentist, but they can fear the unknown. Our office makes a special effort to use pleasant, non-frightening, simple words to describe each treatment. We want you and your child to feel at ease from the moment your family arrives at our office. The more you and your child know about the first visit, the better you will feel.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends...
Children should visit the dentist by their first birthday. It is important that your child's newly-erupted teeth (erupting at six and 12 months of age) receive proper dental care and benefit from proper oral hygiene habits right from the beginning.
Getting to know your teeth is fun!
When New Teeth Arrive
Your child's first primary or baby teeth will begin to erupt between the ages of six and 12 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. Permanent teeth begin erupting at age six, and continue until age 21. 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 two times a day for optimal oral hygiene: in the morning and especially before bedtime.
Brushing can be fun, and your child should brush as soon as the first tooth arrives. Current guildelines suggest using fluoridated toothpaste at all ages. When a baby's tooth erupts, parents should brush the tooth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a smear of toothpaste. For children between 2 and 5, use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and teach the child to spit out the extra. If they swallow a little, it is okay. Once they are able to properly spit out toothpaste, a regular amount can be used.
Flossing is also a part of good oral hygiene habits, and you should begin flossing once a day once the teeth are touching. Part of this is establishing a lifetime routine for your child.
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 couple of reasons. First, primary (baby) teeth do not have the same strength as permanent teeth. Secondly, children often have a diet high in sugar and carbohydrates. Finally, many children and adolescents do not practice regular, good oral hygiene habits.
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 child's regular checkups.