Pediatric dentistry has some special challenges, but also many unique rewards, which is why we are happy to offer it in our office. Dr. Debra Cederbaum has extensive experience working with children, and knows how to ensure that their first visits are positive and enjoyable, laying the foundation for a lifetime of good oral health.
We invite you to bring your children to our office for an outstanding first dental appointment. Please call 206-524-1314 or email us today for an appointment at our dental office in Seattle.
Children’s First Teeth and Their First Visit
Your child’s teeth should begin to arrive between the ages of six and 12 months. Sometimes, though, teeth may not start to appear until the age of 18 months. A slight delay in the eruption of teeth is not a concern. Once teeth start to emerge, your child’s gums may be tender, which can cause them to be irritable. Rubbing the gums with your finger or a soft, cool cloth can help sooth them.
Once your child’s teeth begin to emerge, it’s time to start taking care of them. Remember that virtually all foods contain sugars that bacteria can feed on to start decay, including mother’s milk. Once your child is old enough to start drinking water, it’s not a bad idea to have your child finish a meal with water that can rinse away sugars. Also, start brushing your child’s teeth gently with a soft-bristled brush.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child’s first visit to our office should be around age 1, but it’s not crucial to make it right away. Talk to your pediatrician about when will be a good time for your child.
Children’s teeth will continue to emerge and most children will have all their 20 baby teeth by age 3. Adult teeth begin to emerge about age 6. Normally, baby teeth are shed without difficulty, but sometimes we may have to extract a baby tooth to permit the entry of adult teeth. Adult teeth continue emerging through adulthood. By age 21, most of us will have our full set of 32 teeth, although many of us have our four wisdom teeth extracted because they cause problems.
Oral Hygiene for Healthy Teeth and Gums
There are three main things you can do for your child’s oral hygiene:
- Proper diet
- Good oral hygiene habits
- Regular dental exams and cleanings
Of course all kids love sugary snacks, but it’s important to keep these under control to reduce your child’s risk of cavities. A low-sugar diet and limiting access to acidic sweet drinks like soda can make a big difference in your child’s oral health. When a child eats is as important as what they eat. Constant snacking is bad for teeth, and children should be encouraged to eat at mealtimes and clean their teeth afterward.
Start brushing teeth as soon as they emerge, initially using training toothpaste. When your child is old enough to spit and not swallow toothpaste, you can move on to fluoride toothpaste. This may be by age two, but some children take longer. You should encourage your child to take over brushing as soon as they are able, but you should closely monitor them until you are confident they are able to do a good job.
Regular dental exams and cleanings are just as important for your child as they are for you. Bringing your child in for exams will allow us to check on the progress of their teeth, evaluate their oral hygiene techniques, and recommend preventive procedures. One procedure that many children benefit from is dental sealants. This plastic coating can be used to seal deep crevices or pits in the teeth and help prevent decay. These can last for several years (and are just as good for adults, too).
Are you looking for a dental home for you children? They are very welcome at ours. To schedule an appointment for your child, please contact our dental office in Seattle.