Even though your child’s first teeth won’t last forever, they still require careful attention. Maintaining your child’s dental health now will benefit them later in life, as primary (baby) teeth perform vital functions.
For one thing, primary teeth guide the eruption of permanent (adult) teeth by holding the space for their eruption. The permanent teeth’ crowns (tops) push against the roots of the baby teeth, causing resorption (melting). So the adult teeth can grow in properly. (See baby teeth eruption schedule below)
Moreover, your child’s primary teeth will last through childhood, helping them bite, chew, and speak. For the first six years, he or she will only use primary teeth to perform these vital tasks. Until the age of 12, your child’s teeth will be mixed. You’ll want to keep those teeth healthy and let them fall out naturally.
Baby teeth usually appear between six and nine months, but can appear as early as three months or as late as a few years old. A child’s lower front teeth erupt first, followed by the top two. Next come the first molars, then the canines (eyeteeth). During this time, your baby may be teething. If so, let us know and we’ll help you decide.
After each feeding, gently wipe your baby’s gums and newly erupted teeth with a wet gauze pad or washcloth. All teeth should be cleaned with a small soft-bristled toothbrush and a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste. Brushing with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste can begin as early as age 3. Your child may need your assistance until the age of 6.
We recommend that you bring your child in by his/her first birthday with mom and dad to get comfortable in our office. We can teach you proper pediatric oral hygiene, check for cavities, and monitor developmental issues.
Tooth decay can affect babies and young children. Early Childhood Caries (tooth decay) can progress from the hard outer enamel layer to the softer inner dentin in as little as six months.
Above all, we want your child to enjoy his or her visit to our office at Piedmont Dental and return often.
We offer many dental treatments to prevent tooth decay in children, as well as save or repair teeth.
Topical fluoride hardens and strengthens tooth enamel, making it more resistant to decay. Although toothpastes and some water supplies contain fluoride, we can apply a higher concentration to your child’s teeth for maximum protection.
Dental Sealants — We can apply a plastic coating to the chewing surfaces of back teeth to prevent cavities. These nooks and crannies attract decay-causing bacteria. Dental sealants are simple to apply and can last for years.
As previously stated, baby teeth serve as guides for the permanent teeth forming beneath your child’s gums. Preventing their premature loss can help prevent malocclusions (bad bites) that require orthodontic treatment.
Chips and minor fractures in the front teeth can be repaired with tooth-colored bonding materials. These lifelike resins made of plastic and glass can be used on baby and permanent teeth until the child’s facial growth is complete.
Most malocclusions are visible as a child. An early orthodontic intervention can help direct tooth positioning and/or jaw growth, reducing or eliminating later treatment. Many orthodontic issues can be detected early, which is why a trained professional should evaluate your child’s growth and development.