Pediatric Dentistry

A child's first visit to the dentist should be enjoyable. We make a special effort to use pleasant, non-frightening, simple words to describe each treatment. We want you and your child to feel at ease from the moment your family arrives at our office. The more you and your child know about the first visit, the better you will feel.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends...

Children should visit the dentist by their first birthday. It is important that your child's newly-erupted teeth (erupting at six and 12 months of age) receive proper dental care and benefit from proper oral hygiene habits right from the beginning.

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When New Teeth Arrive

Your child's first primary or baby teeth will begin to erupt when they are six to twelve months old, and will continue to erupt until about age three. During this time, your child's gums may feel tender and sore. To help alleviate this discomfort, we recommend that you soothe the gums by rubbing a clean finger or a cool, wet cloth across them. You may also choose to make use of a teething ring. When your child has finished teething, you can expect a total of 20 primary teeth.

Your child's primary teeth are shed at various times throughout childhood. Permanent teeth begin erupting around age six, and can continue throughout their teenage years. Adults have 28 permanent teeth (32 if we count the wisdom teeth).

Adopting Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits

As your child's teeth erupt, be sure to examine them from time to time, looking for anything out of the ordinary. Remember that sugary foods and liquids can attack a new tooth, so take care that your child brushes after feeding or eating. We recommend brushing four times a day for optimal oral hygiene: after breakfast, after lunch, after dinner, and at bedtime.

Brushing can be fun, and your child should brush as soon as the first tooth arrives. When a baby's tooth erupts, parents should brush the tooth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. For children younger than two, do not use fluoride toothpaste unless advised to do so by your dentist or other healthcare professional.

Flossing is an integral part of good oral hygiene. Some children have enough space in between their primary teeth that flossing won't be necessary, but for most children, flossing can make a huge difference in preventing tooth decay. Keep in mind that often the primary molars have tight contacts even if the front teeth appear to have large spaces in between. Dr. Buetow and Dr. Hadfield will be happy to look and let you know when is the right time for your child to start flossing. 

Preventing Tooth Decay with Regular Checkups

Tooth decay is caused by sugars left in your mouth. Tiny bacteria then convert this sugar into acid, which can break down your teeth. Children are at high risk for tooth decay for a simple reason: many children and adolescents do not practice regular, good oral hygiene habits. Proper brushing and flossing routines combined with regular dental visits help keep tooth decay away.

Your child should visit the dentist every six months for regular dental cleanings and checkups. We recommend fluoride treatments twice a year along with cleanings to keep teeth their strongest. Tooth sealants are also recommended because they "seal" the deep grooves in your child's teeth, preventing decay from forming in these hard-to-reach areas. Sealants last for several years, but will be monitored at your child's regular checkups.