As a Winter Springs family dentistry practice, the office of Dr. Robert Burks proudly provides a wide range of dental services to patients of all ages including early dental care. At our office, we make sure our youngest patients feel safe and comfortable when spending time with us. We love working with kids and we’re confident it shows! We want all our young patients to develop good dental habits early on so they can enjoy the many benefits that come with good dental health.
Your Child’s First Dental Visit
Your child’s first dental visit should be scheduled around their 3rd birthday. In our office, we call this visit a “Happy Visit”. Our friendly and caring staff has the experience and know-how needed to put young children at ease. We have created a fun atmosphere at our office so our young patients (and adults!) have a positive experience every time they visit us. We also make our young patients members of our Super Hero Kids Club, which helps inspire them to make oral care a top priority.
Infant Tooth Eruption
Normally the first primary tooth emerges through the gums between the ages of 6 and 12 months. The first teeth to come in are the lower central incisors, followed by the upper central incisors. Then, the rest of the 20 primary teeth typically erupt by the age of 3, with the place and order varying from one child to the next.
Why Primary Teeth are Important
A child’s primary or “baby” teeth play a key role in dental development. These first teeth are important for chewing food, speaking clearly and ensuring the jaw develops properly. The primary teeth also hold space for the permanent teeth which start replacing primary teeth at around the age of 6.
Since primary teeth help guide the permanent teeth into place, a young child with missing primary teeth may need to wear a space maintainer which is an device designed to hold the natural space open. Without a maintainer, the teeth can tilt toward the empty space, causing the permanent teeth to come in crooked.
Because children are just as susceptible to plaque, tooth decay and gum problems as adults, regular dental care is very important for ensuring your child can enjoy all the benefits that come with good oral health.
As a child’s primary teeth start emerging through the gums, the gums are sore and tender which causes irritability until around the age of 3. To help ease the teething discomfort your child feels, rub the gums gently with a cold wet cloth, a clean finger or the back of a cold spoon. You can also provide your child with a teething ring but do not give your child teething biscuits as they contain sugar which harms the teeth.
As your baby is teething, keep an eye out for signs of baby bottle decay. Regularly check the teeth (especially on the tongue-side) for dull spots or lines. If you give your child a bottle containing anything other than water and it’s left in your baby’s mouth while sleeping, your child is at risk for developing tooth decay. This is because the sugar in the liquid mixes with bacteria in dental plaque, forming acids that eat away at the enamel on the teeth. If you suspect your child has baby bottle decay, contact our office right away for an appointment.
Developing Habits that Promote Healthy Teeth & Gums
Just like the rest of the body, your child’s teeth, bones and soft tissues of the mouth all require a healthy, well-balanced diet. It is important to provide your child with a variety of foods from the five main food groups and to limit the number of cavity-causing snacks they consume. Instead of offering your child cookies, chips and candy at snack time, give them something healthier like fresh vegetables, low-fat yogurt, nuts and cheeses which are foods that help keep teeth strong and healthy.
Contact Your Winter Springs & Oviedo Dentist
If you have any questions about early dental care or need some tips for helping your child learn how to properly care for his or her teeth, please feel free to contact us as we’re always here to help! If it’s time to schedule your child’s first dental visit, please request an appointment by calling our office at (407) 327-2030. We look forward to seeing you and your child soon and helping your child get on the right path toward a lifelong healthy and beautiful smile.