One of Dr. Freundlich's missions during his career has been to help create a generation of kids who actually enjoy going to the dentist and have nothing to fear. Mission accomplished!!! We are now on to the next generation, doing the same for the children of the now grown up kids who are patients! Great fun for us!!
A child's first visit to the dentist should be enjoyable. Our office makes a special effort to always keep it positive. We want you and your child to feel at ease from the moment your family arrives at our office.
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. When your child has finished teething, you can expect a total of 20 primary teeth. Care for baby teeth should begin as soon as the first tooth appears. We recommend that you bring your child in for an exam no later than his or her first birthday. And regular six-month checkups from then on will put kids on a similar schedule to most adults.
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
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.
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, after age six, 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.
As a parent, some early steps can help guard your child against tooth decay, even before the first dental visit:
- Your baby's teeth should always be flushed with water or wiped down with a damp cloth after feeding, especially before they fall asleep. Milk or formula residue left in the mouth can promote decay even in the youngest patients. Untreated cavities can eventually lead to pain and infection.
- Try to wean your child off breastfeeding or bottled milk by age one year. This effort helps avoid decay and minimizes the chance of jaw growth problems from excessive sucking.
- Begin brushing as soon as the first tooth appears. Even a small piece of tooth showing can develop a cavity. Start by brushing with a soft bristled brush and water, and ask your dentist when it's ok to begin using a small amount of toothpaste.
- Once your child is old enough to begin brushing on his or her own, continue to monitor their brushing, going back to clean any areas they may have missed.
- Don't give bottles of sugary drinks or milk before bedtime
- Use a straw with sugary beverages to allow the teeth to have less contact with the liquid.
- Try to limit the overall sugary foods your child eats and drinks.