Interceptive Dental Treatment
At Family Dental Associates, we believe in the importance of our children and their oral health. Therefore, it is imperative to instill good oral hygiene habits early as a form of preventative care. While we are located in Margate, Florida, we serve families all over including Margate, Pompano, and Coconut Creek. It is our wish that every child in these cities receives the proper attention and care they deserve so they can grow up happy with a healthy smile to boot. As they grow up, they can continue to receive care from Family Dental whether they need general dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, periodontics, or other oral treatment. We house all these treatments and more under one roof, so your child will grow up with the best and widest ranging dental professionals in the business. Until then, read below for some tips and information regarding the early stages of your child’s oral development.
Teething is a perfectly normal occurrence in an infant’s development and will happen as they begin to grow in their first teeth. On average, an infant’s first tooth will erupt between the ages of 6 to 12 months. Their gums will be sore, tender and sometimes irritable until the age of 3. General family dentists will recommend some ways to alleviate this. These include rubbing the sore gums gently with a clean finger, the back of a cold spoon, or a cold cloth. All of these methods can be used to help soothe the aching gums. Also, teething rings work well, but avoid teething biscuits, as they contain sugar that is not good for baby teeth.
Infant’s New Teeth
The primary teeth, or “baby teeth” play a crucial role in dental development. Without them, a child cannot chew food properly and has difficulty speaking clearly. Primary teeth are vital to development of the jaws and for guiding the permanent (secondary) teeth into place when they replace the primary teeth around age 6.
Since primary teeth guide the permanent teeth into place, infants with missing primary teeth or infants who prematurely lose primary teeth may require a space maintainer, a device used to hold the natural space open. Without a maintainer, the teeth can tilt toward the empty space and cause permanent teeth to come in crooked and create a need for orthodontic treatment. Missing teeth should always be mentioned to your family dentist. The way your child cares for his/her primary teeth plays a critical role in how he/she treats the permanent teeth. Children and adults are equally susceptible to plaque and gum problems—hence, the need for regular care and dental check-ups.
Why Primary Teeth Are Important
Primary teeth are important for several reasons. Foremost, good teeth allow a child to eat and maintain good nutrition. Healthy teeth allow for clear pronunciation and speech habits. The self-image that healthy teeth give a child is immeasurable. Primary teeth also guide eruption of the permanent teeth. General dentists agree, if the primary teeth are not maintained properly, it can cause damage to the incoming adult teeth be it their alignment, shape, or susceptibility to plaque.
A Child’s First Dental Visit
A child’s first dental visit should be scheduled around his or her first birthday. The most important part of the visit is getting to know a doctor and becoming comfortable with the staff. A pleasant and comfortable first visit builds trust and helps to put the child at ease during future dental visits. If possible, allow the child to sit in a parent’s lap in the exam room. This will greatly reduce a child’s anxiety, which can come from simply being in a new and strange place. To further address this matter of anxiety, children should be encouraged to discuss any fears or worries they feel, so the staff and family can quell any reservations that arise. At Family Dental Associates, our highly trained staff is fully aware of these issues and will work to create a friendly and warm environment for you and your child.
Good Diet Leads to Healthy Teeth
The teeth, bones and soft tissue of the mouth require a healthy, well-balanced diet. A variety of foods from the five food groups help to minimize and avoid cavities and other dental problems. With a proper and balanced diet, a child will grow up with strong healthy teeth and may even allow them to prevent complications in mouth which require extra treatment like orthodontics, endodontics, and periodontics. Most snacks that children eat cause cavities, so children should only snack on healthy foods like high nutrient vegetables, and dairies that are high in calcium, to grow strong teeth.
Infant Tooth Eruption
The tooth of a child will start forming even before birth. Due to this, it does not take long before the teeth begin to erupt from the gum tissue. As early as 4 months of age, the primary teeth or “baby teeth” push through the gums, with the lower central incisors first, and then the upper central incisors. Following these initial eruptions, the remaining 20 primary teeth will emerge by age 3, with he place and order varying.
In terms of permanent “adult” teeth, they begin to erupt around age 6, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors. This process continues until around age 21. Adults have 28 secondary (permanent) teeth—32 including the third molars (wisdom teeth). Since will begin to have their permanent teeth by age 6, it is important to teach proper oral hygiene to children while they still have their baby teeth as to create good habits that last a lifetime. These habits are hard to break and will follow your child all throughout their general treatment phase, orthodontic phase, and into adulthood. Be sure to instill proper habits before it’s too late.