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Early Dental Care

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

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.

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

First off, what is baby bottle tooth decay and how does it occur?

Often times, while your baby is teething, they may begin to develop signs of baby bottle tooth decay. This is the decay of an infant’s baby teeth, as the result of ingesting natural sugars through a baby bottle. These sugars can be found in formula, fruit juice, or even milk. When this happens, the sugar attaches to the baby teeth and causes them to erode over time, which will affect their general dentistry treatments in the future.

In order to prevent this from happening, be sure to examine their teeth every 2 weeks. Especially on the inside or the tongue side, search for dull spots (whiter than the tooth surface) or lines. A bottle containing anything other than water and left in an infant’s mouth while sleeping can cause decay. Another way to prevent this tooth decay from occurring is by not allowing sleeping infants to breast or bottle-feed. Infants that need a bottle to comfortably fall asleep should be given a water-filled bottle or a pacifier. Our office is dedicated to fighting baby bottle tooth decay. Let us know if you notice any signs of decay or anything unusual in your child’s mouth.

Protect Your Child Now!

Children, and especially infants, need extensive attention paid to their mouths in order to maintain a healthy set of baby teeth. At Family Dental Associates, we provide families in Margate, Coconut Creek, and Pompano, with the tools necessary to give their baby a perfectly healthy smile. If you have any questions regarding preventative measures or things to avoid, feel free to contact us with your question, and we’ll get right back to you. If you would like to schedule a consultation to see how we can help your child, please call us at 954-973-0990. We look forward to seeing you and your little one soon!