Pediatric Dentistry

Your Baby’s First Teeth

Your baby will get his or her first teeth when they are about 6 to 8 months old. The first baby teeth that usually come into the mouth are the two bottom front teeth.

Next to follow are the 4 upper front teeth and the remainder of your baby’s teeth will appear periodically, typically in pairs, along the sides of the jaw until your child is about 2 1/2 years old.

At around 2 1/2 years old your child should have all 20 teeth. Between the ages of 5 and 6 the first permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Some of the permanent teeth replace baby teeth and some don’t. Don’t worry if some teeth are a few months early or late as all children are different.

Baby teeth are important as they not only hold space for permanent teeth but they are important to chewing, biting, speech and appearance.

For this reason it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene.

Your child’s first visit

The first “regular” dental visit is usually after your child’s third birthday. This visit is short and involves very little treatment. It’s important to let your child know that mommy or daddy go to our office and how much they like to see the dentist. The parent may also be asked to wait in the reception area during part of the visit so that a relationship can be built between your child and your dentist.

We will gently examine your child’s teeth and gums. X-rays may be taken (to reveal decay and check on the progress of your child’s permanent teeth under the gums). We may clean your child’s teeth and apply topical fluoride to help protect the teeth against decay. We will make sure your child is receiving adequate fluoride at home. Most important of all, we will review with you how to clean and care for your child’s teeth.

What should I tell my child about the first dental visit?

We are asked this question many times. We suggest you prepare your child the same way that you would before their first haircut or trip to the shoe store. Your child’s reaction to his first visit to the dentist may surprise you.

Here are some “First Visit” tips:

  • Take your child for a “preview” or online tour of the office
  • Read books with them about going to the dentist
  • Review with them what the dentist will be doing at the time of the first visit
  • Speak positively about your own dental experiences

During your child’s first visit the dentist will:

  • Examine her mouth, teeth and gums
  • Evaluate adverse habits like thumb sucking
  • Check to see if she needs fluoride
  • Teach her about cleaning her teeth and gums
  • Suggest a schedule for regular dental visits

What about preventative care?

Tooth decay and children no longer have to go hand in hand. At our office we are most concerned with all aspects of preventive care. We use the latest in sealant technology to protect your child’s teeth. Sealants are space-age plastics that are bonded to the chewing surfaces of decay prone back teeth. This is just one of the ways we will set the foundation for your child’s lifetime of good oral health.

Cavity prevention:

Most of the time cavities are due to a diet high in sugary foods and a lack of brushing. Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help.

Tips for cavity prevention:

  • Limit frequency of snacks
  • Encourage brushing, flossing and rinsing
  • Watch what your child drinks
  • Avoid sticky foods
  • Make treats part of meals
  • Choose nutritious snacks
  • Avoid milk or juice drinks prior to bedtime