As your Winter Springs family dental practice, the office of Dr. Robert Burks provides a wide range of dental services to patients of all ages. We love working with children and want to ensure that our youngest patients feel safe and comfortable in our office. Our goal is to help kids develop good dental habits early on so they can enjoy the many benefits of good dental health. Continue reading this page to learn more tips for your child’s dental health.
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.
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.
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 a 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.
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.
Your child won’t keep his or her first teeth forever, but that doesn’t mean those tiny pearly whites don’t need conscientious care. Maintaining your child’s dental health now will provide health benefits well into adulthood, as primary (baby) teeth serve some extremely important functions.
For one thing, primary teeth serve as guides for the eruption of permanent (adult) teeth, holding the space into which these new teeth will erupt. The crowns (tops) of the permanent teeth actually push against the roots of the baby teeth, causing them to resorb, or melt away. In this way, the adult teeth can take their proper place.
What’s more, your child’s primary teeth will be there for most of childhood, helping your child to bite, chew, and speak. For the first six or so years, he or she will be relying on primary teeth exclusively to perform these important functions. Until around age 12, your child will have a mix of primary and permanent teeth. You will want to make sure those teeth stay healthy and are lost naturally — when it’s time.
Your child’s 20 baby teeth will begin to appear usually between six and nine months, though in some cases it may start as early as three months or as late as twelve months. The two lower front teeth tend to erupt first, followed by the two upper ones. The first molars come in next, followed by the canines (eyeteeth). Sometimes your baby can experience teething discomfort during this process. If so, let us know and we will advise you as to the best course of action.
Your infant’s gums and newly erupting teeth should be gently wiped after each feeding with a water-soaked gauze pad or damp washcloth. Any teeth that have fully come in should be cleaned with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and no more than a thin smear of fluoridated toothpaste. Starting at age 3, you can teach your child to brush with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Your child may need your help with this important task until about the age of 6.