How Your Child’s Teeth Develop
The first baby teeth that come into the mouth are the two bottom front teeth. You will notice this when your baby is about six to eight months old. Next to follow will be the four upper front teeth. The remainder of your baby’s teeth will appear periodically, usually in pairs along the sides of the jaw until the child is about 2-1/2 years old.
At that age, your child should have all twenty primary teeth. Between the ages of five and six, the first permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Some of the permanent teeth replace baby teeth, while others do not. Don’t worry if some teeth are a few months early or late, as each child develops differently.
Baby teeth hold space for permanent teeth, but they also are important to chewing, biting, speech and appearance. For all these reasons, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene.
Your Child’s First Visit
Your child’s first “regular” visit to Penobscot Bay Dentistry should be just after his or her third birthday. This first visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. We may ask the parent or guardian to sit in the dental chair and hold his or her child during the examination. The adult may also be asked to wait in the reception area during part of the visit so that a relationship can develop between the child and Dr. Lewis.
What Will Happen During The First Visit With Your Dentist?
While establishing a rapport with your child, Dr. Lewiss evaluation will include the following:
- Examining your child’s mouth, teeth and gums
- Evaluating adverse habits like thumb sucking
- Checking to see if your child needs fluoride
- Teaching you about cleaning your child’s teeth and gums
- Creating a schedule of regular dental visits
In addition, digital x-rays may be taken to reveal decay and to 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.
How Should I Prepare My Child for His or Her First Dental Visit?
We suggest you prepare your child the same way you would before for some other firsts: their first haircut or first trip to the shoe store. Speak with enthusiasm about the nice things that will happen for your child during that first appointment with Dr. Lewis.
Some First Visit Tips
- Take your child for a “preview” of our office by looking at the Office Tour photographs in the Meet Us section of our website (Insert link here)
- Read books with your child about visiting the dentist. You can find such books at your local library and online
- Speak positively about your own dental experiences
- Just before the first visit, review with the child what will happen in the dentist’s office
What About Preventive Care?
At Penobscot Bay Dentistry, we are most concerned with all aspects of preventive care. Once your child’s first permanent molars erupt, we can 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 can set the foundation for your child’s lifetime of good oral health.
Cavity Prevention: Helping Your Child to Eat Healthfully
Of course, regular brushing and rinsing at home will help your child to maintain oral health, as will a visit to Penobscot Bay Dentistry. Your child’s diet is also a crucial factor in preventing cavities.
A diet high in sugary foods causes many children’s cavities, as does high intake of starchy and sticky foods. Every time someone eats, an acid reaction occurs inside the mouth as oral bacteria digests the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time, the acid environment can destroy the tooth structure, eventually leading to cavities.
When a child eats a diet high in carbohydrates and sugars, he or she tends to have thicker saliva, allowing more acid-producing bacteria that can cause cavities.
Thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food more quickly.
Tips For Cavity Prevention
- Limit frequency of meals and snacks
- Watch what your child drinks
- Avoid sticky and starchy foods
- Decrease the intake of sugar
- Make treats part of meals
- Choose nutritious snacks
- Encourage brushing, flossing, and rinsing