Pediatric dentistry consists of the treatment of children from birth to adolescence. These early years are very important to an individual’s oral health as the child is working on developing good dental habits that they will maintain as they age. It is also an important time for building a good relationship with the dentist, such as yours at Wilmington Dental Studio in Wilmington, so that they can be sure to maintain regular appointments on their own when they are adults.
“Baby” teeth, or primary teeth, start to erupt at around six to 12 months. It is recommended that a child has their first visit with the dentist within six months of the appearance of the first tooth, or by the time they turn one. The baby teeth will continue to erupt until around age three.
The teething process is often very uncomfortable for children, which can cause distress for both children and parents. To help soothe the new teeth and the gums, it can help to rub the gums with a clean finger or a cool wet cloth. Teething rings can also be helpful (especially if they are kept in the freezer for a while to further soothe irritated gums).
In total, there will be 20 primary teeth before they start to fall out to get replaced by the permanent teeth (at around age six).
As children are establishing a good oral hygiene routine, their teeth may still be susceptible to tooth decay. To further protect them from damage, dental sealants can be helpful. These are thin, plastic coatings that are applied to the teeth to act as a barrier against harmful substances in the mouth, namely food particles, bacteria, and plaque. They are usually applied to the molars in the back because these teeth are the most difficult to reach and clean and are at the highest risk for developing cavities. Sealants last for several years and can be reapplied when they’ve worn away.
Brushing and flossing are the main oral habits that should be taught to children. Brushing should be supervised until parents are confident that good habits (proper brushing technique, no accidental swallowing of toothpaste) have been established. Fluoride is not recommended for children unless advised by your dentist. Regular visits to the dentist (every six months) are highly recommended for an exam and dental cleaning. Additionally, if children participate in sports activities, sports guards are highly recommended.
To find high quality dental care for your children in Wilmington, make an appointment at Wilmington Dental Studio.