Are My Child’s Baby Teeth on Schedule?

Your darling three-month old is crying and fussy—can she be teething already? Or, your happy baby boy has just celebrated his first birthday—with only one tooth in that beautiful, gummy smile. Is this normal? Probably! While baby teeth do typically erupt (come in) in the same order for all babies, and around the same time, there is still a lot of flexibility in the time it takes for a full, healthy smile to develop.

Baby teeth actually form before your baby is born, and those 20 teeth are there under the gums waiting to come out and shine. And even though there are no firm and fast dates for each of these primary teeth to erupt, it’s helpful to have a general overview of typical teething patterns so you know what to look forward to.

Incisors

These little teeth create a charming baby smile, and, if your finger has been in the wrong place at the wrong time, a very sharp one as well! That is because these tiny incisors are made to bite into foods. You might notice this when you introduce solid foods, even if the majority of your child’s “chewing” is done with her back gums. These teeth are the earliest to arrive.

  • Six to ten months old: The lower central incisors (bottom front teeth) are often the first to come in.

  • Eight to 12 months old: The upper incisors (8-12 months) are the next to show.

  • Nine to 13 months old: The upper lateral incisors on each side of the front teeth arrive.

  • Ten to 16 months old: The lower lateral incisors appear.

First Molars

Because these are larger teeth, babies often experience another bout of teething pain at this time. The large flat surface of each molar helps your child to chew and grind food, so he can handle a wider variety of foods and develop his chewing skills.

  • 13 to 19 months old: You can generally expect to see the upper first molars arrive.

  • 14 to 18 months old: The lower first molars appear.

Canines (Cuspids)

Fitting between the first molars and the incisors, the strong, pointed shape of the canine teeth allows your child to grip food and break it apart more easily.

  • 16 to 22 months old: The upper two canines make their way into the space between the incisors and the first molars.

  • 17 to 23 months old: The two lower canines appear.

Second Molars

By the age of three, most children have a full set of baby teeth.

  • 23 to 31 months old: The second pair of bottom molars start erupting—you are in the home stretch!

  • 25 to 33 months old: The upper second molars come in—completing that beautiful set of 20 teeth!

Baby teeth are extremely important, as our will tell you when you visit our office. They help your child eat and chew, develop face and jaw muscles, assist proper speech formation, and provide space for the adult teeth to come in properly. Now that your child’s smile is complete, keep providing him with the same care and attention you have been giving those little teeth since the arrival of the very first incisor.

It seems that so much of new parenthood is scheduling—when to feed her, when to put her to bed, how many hours between naps. But we soon find out that every baby is not on the same schedule, and the same is true for the arrival of their teeth. We should see your baby when that first tooth comes in, or by his or her first birthday. And if you ever have concerns at any time about your child’s teething schedule or teething delays, always feel free to give us a call.

Pediatric Dentistry Q&A

Today, our team thought we would answer some of the most frequent questions about pediatric dentistry and oral health we hear from parents.

What constitutes a “healthy, balanced diet” for my child?

A healthy, balanced diet contains all the nutrients your child needs to grow, including one serving each of fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products, and meat, fish and eggs per day. Make sure your child limits snacking in between meals and limits how frequently they consume food or beverages that contain sugar, which is known to cause tooth decay. Besides pastries, cookies, and candy, sugars are usually found in processed foods such as crackers, cereals, and soda, as well as in condiments like ketchup.

Should my kid give up all foods that contain sugar?

Absolutely not, we simply recommend choosing and serving sugars sparingly. A food with sugar is safer for teeth if it is eaten with a meal, not as a snack. When your child chews during his or her meal, the saliva produced helps neutralize the acids that are found in sugary and starchy foods. Foods that are not easily washed away from your child’s teeth by saliva, water, or milk have more cavity-causing potential.

What causes cavities?

Many types of bacteria live in our mouths—some good, some bad. When these bacteria come into contact with sugary foods left behind on your child’s teeth after eating, acids are produced. These acids then attack the enamel, and eventually eat through the enamel and create holes in the teeth, which our team call cavities, or caries.

How can I help my child avoid cavities?

This is a great question that we hear a lot. Make sure that your child brushes his teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Flossing daily is also important, as flossing can reach spots between the teeth that brushing simply can’t. And finally, we encourage you to schedule regular appointments with us so that we can check the state of your child’s teeth and gums, as well as provide a professional cleaning to protect him or her from cavities and gum disease.

What is the best way to clean my baby’s teeth?

We recommend you clean your baby’s gums after feedings with a damp, soft washcloth. This is even before your baby’s first tooth appears. As soon as his or her first tooth does appear, you may begin using a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. You can most likely find a toothbrush designed for infants at your local drugstore or ask us for one during your next visit.

What should I do if my child has a toothache?

First, we recommend rinsing the irritated area with warm salt water and placing a cold compress on his or her face if it is swollen. If you have any at home, give your child acetaminophen for any pain, rather than placing aspirin on the affected teeth or gums. Finally, give us a call as soon as possible to schedule an appointment.

We hope that helps! Please give us a call if you have any questions or ask us next time you visit our office for your child’s appointment! If you have any other questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, we would love to hear from you.

A Parent’s Guide to Choosing the Best Toothpaste

Tooth decay is the most common childhood disease, with more than 16 million children suffering from it each year. Oral disease also leads to just over 51 million school hours lost every school year. You can help prevent your child from getting cavities by getting them toothpaste that works for their smile. Here’s what to look for when buying toothpaste for your children.

Look for…

The ADA Seal of Approval

Look for the American Dental Association’s seal of approval when buying any dental or oral care products. The seal will be easily viewable on the box. The ADA’s stringent testing procedures help ensure that you’re buying a useful product that actually works.

Fluoride

For more than half a century, the ADA has recommended using toothpaste containing fluoride to prevent cavities. Fluoridated toothpaste does an excellent job of cleaning teeth, but make sure that your child spits all of it out and rinses their mouth thoroughly after brushing since ingesting excessive fluoride can lead to a condition called fluorosis.

Avoid Abrasives

Mild abrasives remove debris and residual surface stains from teeth, but they can also remove enamel. Avoid whitening toothpastes for your children that contain abrasives like: calcium carbonate, dehydrated silica gels, hydrated aluminum oxides, magnesium carbonate, and silicates.

Enjoyable Flavors

Your goal is to get your child to brush twice per day for two minutes each time. A lot of children find that mint or other traditionally flavored toothpastes are too “spicy” for them. You can find flavors that aren’t too harsh on their sensitive palates. Children’s toothpaste often comes in fun flavors like berry and bubblegum, and sometimes features some of their favorite cartoon characters or superheroes on the container.

Begin a Good Cleaning Routine Early

Just because your toddler doesn’t have teeth doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean their mouth! You can clean toddler’s gums with a clean, damp cloth by gently running away residual food. By doing this, you are actually improving the health of the baby teeth that will soon erupt, and familiarizing them with oral care early in their life.

Does Your Child Brush Twice per Day?

To prevent cavities and tooth decay, your child should be brushing twice per day for two minutes at a time, and floss once per day. If they are complaining of sensitive or painful teeth, then visit our office for further evaluation. Our team will check their mouth for signs of tooth and provide them with a treatment plan that will get them a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.

Can a Child Lose a Baby Tooth too Soon?

Baby teeth aren’t permanent, but did you know that it’s possible to loose a baby tooth too soon? Here’s everything parents need to know about losing a baby tooth too soon.

It’s too Soon When…

If your child loses a tooth before the age of 4, then you need to schedule an appointment with your pediatric dentist. Usually, natural tooth loss begins around age 6, and concludes around age 12.

Risks of Losing Teeth too Soon

If a baby tooth is lost too early, it can cause serious crowding problems for the developing adult teeth, as well as negatively impact the jaw’s muscle and bone development. This can lead to necessary orthodontic treatment later in life to correct a bite and alignment issues.

Common Causes of Tooth Loss

The most common causes of premature tooth loss are traumatic facial injuries and tooth decay. It’s impossible to prevent accidents from happening, but you can prevent tooth decay by ensuring your child follows a healthy brushing and flossing regiment, and enjoys mouth healthy foods and plenty of water.

When is it Okay to Lose a Baby Tooth?

 

Baby teeth usually begin to fall out around age 6, and the process usually lasts 6 years until ages 11-12. Baby teeth will naturally become looser, and fall out on their own to make room for adult teeth erupting beneath them. Usually, teeth fall out in the order that they first arrived, but that’s not always the case.

Can You fix a Tooth lost Too Early?

Fortunately, there are plenty of options for those that lose teeth too soon! Spacers and space maintainers are placed in the gap of the lost tooth to help prepare for the arrival of the incoming adult tooth. Spacers come in many shapes, sizes and colors, and can make an un-fun situation more enjoyable for your child.

Schedule an Appointment with Our Office

If you think that your child has lost a tooth too soon, then call our office to schedule an evaluation. We’ll provide your child with the necessary treatment that best prepares their mouth for a healthy, adult smile.  

Which Sports Guard is Right for My Child?

Dental injuries account for nearly 20% of all sports related injuries. Did you know that your child is 60 times more likely to sustain damage to their teeth when they aren’t wearing a mouth guard? Here’s what you need to know about mouth guards, and how to select the one that is best for your child.

How Do Mouth Guards Work?

Mouth guards – sometimes called mouth protectors – work by helping cushion a blow to the face, and minimizing the risk of broken teeth, or lacerating a lip, tongue or cheek. Did you know that the CDC estimates that more than 3 million teeth are knocked out at youth sporting events? Mouth guards work to prevent tooth loss and other facial injuries.

What Kind of Mouth Guards Work Best?

There are a variety of mouth guards available today, and some are more effective than others.

Stock Mouth Guards

The most inexpensive, and least effective mouth guards are stock mouth guards. Stock mouth guards can be very bulky and ill-fitting, and they can make breathing very difficult. You can find them at most major sporting goods stores for very reasonable prices. We advise getting these if your child is in a sport with less contact, but for contact intensive sports like football or hockey, a better fitting model will protect their teeth much more effectively.

Boil and Bite Sports Guards

The middle-of-the-road option in both price and quality is the boil and bite mouth guard. Boil and bite guards are made of rubber composites that become malleable when heated. When you buy one of these, they are packaged as “U” shaped pieces of rubber without indentation. After you boil it (read the manufacturer’s instructions before boiling) you child firmly bites into the guard so that it molds to fit her teeth. Boil and bite guards can be found at many major sporting goods stores, and they provide sufficient enough protection for high contact sports.

Custom Made Mouth Guards

The best fitting and most effective mouth guards are custom-made mouth guards, which can be made for your child by a dentist that offers the service. Custom mouth guards are available in multiple materials and affords them a mouth protector that is completely personalized to fit their teeth. Custom mouth guards fit the best and provide the most advanced protection.  

Which Sports Require Mouth Guards?

The American Dental Association recommends wearing custom mouth guards for these popular sports: basketball, boxing, field hockey, football, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, racquetball, roller hockey, rugby, skateboarding, skiing, soccer, volleyball, water polo and wrestling, among others. This is just a recommendation by the ADA. If you’re unsure about whether or not your child is required to wear a mouth guard, consult the rules of the sport.

Common Dental Emergencies that Require a Trip to the Dentist

It can be scary when your child gets hurt or has an accident. As a parent, you’re equipped to handle a bruise or a scrape, but what about a broken tooth? Do you know how to handle a lost permanent tooth? When it comes to the following dental emergencies, it’s best to take your child to the dentist.

1- Fractured Tooth

Fracturing a tooth is almost like a childhood rite of passage. Kids play rough, and sometimes, their teeth bear the brunt of their actions. If your child fractures a tooth, then gather what fragments and store them in a clean container of cool water, saliva, or milk. It is important that you visit the dentist immediately to prevent infection and other complications that are brought on by chipped teeth. Your dentist will be able to repair your child’s tooth, or fix it with a crown. In the meantime, have your child rinse their mouth with warm water if they are experiencing any pain.

2 – Tongue or Cheek Injury with Excessive Bleeding

Chewing on the tongue or inside of the cheek is a habit that is common in children and teens. Usually, bleeding can be stopped by applying clean gauze to the affected area. However, sometimes regular chewing can lead to excessive bleeding. If your child has an open oral wound, then they are more susceptible to infection. You should visit your dentist if your child experiences bleeding on their tongue or inner-cheek that lasts longer than 48 hours to prevent infection and stop the bleeding.

3 – Persistent Tooth Ache

If your child has a tooth ache, then have them rinse their mouth with warm water to ease the pain. If the pain persists for more than 48 hours, then see your dentist as soon as you can. Persistent tooth aches can indicate more serious problems that need to be observed by a dental professional.

4 – Knocked out Baby Tooth

If a baby tooth is knocked out too soon, it can lead to teeth crowding the vacant spot. This can cause alignment issues when the permanent tooth begins to emerge, and could lead to crooked teeth and biting problems. Visit your dentist within 24 hours if your child prematurely loses a baby tooth. Your dentist will be able to check the incoming adult tooth, and provide your child with a spacer if necessary to prevent any crowding that may occur.

5 – Knocked or Lost Permanent Tooth

If your child loses a permanent tooth, then it is imperative that you visit your dentist immediately. Store the tooth in a clean container of cool water, milk, or, use a tooth preservation system like the ADA Approved Save-A-Tooth. If the dislodged tooth is stored properly, then your dentist may be able to reinstall it.

6 – Objects That Won’t go Away

This is a less common problem, but still very serious: if something becomes lodged in between your children’s teeth, beneath their gum line or impacts the surface of their gums, then visit the dentist. When an item gets stuck in any of those areas, it can cause serious damage. Objects stuck in the mouth can cause, pain, swelling and infection, not to mention plaque and cavities. If you can’t get rid of the obstruction by brushing and flossing, then visit our office so that we can dislodge it.

If in Doubt, Visit Our Office

If your child has lost their teeth from serious accidents like a head injury or broken jaw, then visit the hospital before you see the dentist. It’s absolutely imperative that you care for the more serious injury first. However, if their oral emergency is not immediately threatening their overall well-being, then call our office. We are equipped to deal with a litany of oral emergencies and will be able to help your child’s smile back in working order.

What are Dental Sealants and How do They Help Teeth?

Dental sealants are very common tool that dentists use to help “seal teeth off” and prevent cavities. Here’s all you need to know about dental sealants, and about how they help teeth.

How do Dental Sealants Work?

Food left on teeth fuels bad bacteria that cause cavities by giving them the nutrition they need to thrive. Molars are particularly susceptible to cavities because the naturally occurring pit can more easily trap food particles than other teeth. Dental sealants work to prevent cavities by sealing pits and fissures that naturally occur in molars. Sealants “seal off” the pit and fissure to prevent cavities and tooth decay from worsening and keep the tooth healthy.

Who can get Dental Sealants?

Most dental sealants are applied to children as their adult molars begin to erupt, between the ages of 6 and 12. Sealants are often applied as a preventative measure to keep food particles out of the pit and fissures in molars. Adults can have sealants applied, but it is not common. Most adults that get sealants do so because their dentist has deemed that their teeth are more susceptible to cavities than normal.

What Kinds of Sealants are Popular?

Dental sealants are primarily made of a composite liquid resin that is then cured by light or chemical exposure to adhere to the tooth. Most sealants contain a small, trace amount of BPA, but not nearly enough to cause any harm. In fact, you get more exposure to BPA by touching a receipt or handling makeup powder than dental sealants.

How Long do Dental Sealants Last?

With proper oral care, dental sealants can effectively last for up to 10 years. During dental checkups, your child’s pediatric dentist will inspect their sealants to see if they are holding up well and working properly. If it is not in working condition, the dentist will replace the dental sealant as needed.

Do Dental Sealants Hurt?

Applying sealants is a quick and painless process. There is no drilling or scraping involved. Typically, a dentist will clean the tooth first then apply a gel-bonding agent to it. Then, the dentist will apply the sealant and cure it with a special blue light, or chemical rinse.  After the bonding is dry, the dentist will then clean any residue left on the tooth, and the procedure is done!

Visit Our Office

Does your child have sensitive teeth? If so, they may need dental sealants. You can help your child stay on top of their oral health by scheduling regular dental visits in our office every six months.

Easy Ways to Help Your Children Become Comfortable with Oral Care

Getting your child excited about visiting the dentist can be incredibly difficult, and many children feel stressed out about visiting for the first time. Here’s how parents can help their children overcome their fear of visiting the dentist’s office, and help them become more comfortable with oral care.

Schedule a Stress-Free First Visit 

Kids are usually very nervous to visit the doctor or dentist for the first time, and that can make introducing children to a dentist can be a difficult task for any parent. Pediatric dentists know this, which is why most offer relaxed “meet and greets” for their first office visit. The first visit gives you a chance to gauge how your child responds to the new surroundings, and gives them a chance to enjoy the office without sitting in the dentist’s chair.

Before visiting the dentist, be sure to ease your child’s stress by reminding them how common and positive a dental visit is. Reiterate that they’re not sick, but their teeth need to be taken care of!

Encourage Positive Oral Health Routines at Home 

One of the best ways to quell dental-visit stress is by establishing healthy oral care routines at home before their visit. This will help familiarize your child with brushing their teeth, and get them comfortable with the idea of oral healthcare. You can find some fun brushing videos online that encourage children to brush their teeth, or you can brush with them to help them stay on track and help normalize oral care at home.

Establish a Dental Home by Their First Birthday 

One of the best ways to eradicate dental-visit anxiety is by finding a dental home for your child before their first birthday. Introducing your child to their dentist early can get them more comfortable with oral health, and gives you an early leg up on helping them grow healthy baby teeth.

Visit Our Office

We would love to speak with you about your child and their dental needs. We see children of all ages, so call us and schedule an office tour! We want to make visiting the dentist fun, so stop by and see why pediatric dentistry is the way to go for your children! 

Did the Ancient Egyptians have Dentists?

Oral health practices stretch back into early human history. Today, we look at how the ancient Egyptians took care of their teeth and discuss some of the contributions they’ve made to dental care.

The First Dentist

Oral care in Egypt dates back to 2000 B.C., and the ancient Egyptians were way ahead of their time in terms of oral care and procedures. The first dentist on record is known as “Hesy-Ra,” who held the title of “Great One of the Dentists.” But, Hesy-Ra wasn’t alone in his dental practice, and there are records indicating that 9 more people were trained and served as dentists in ancient Egypt.

A Poor Diet That was Hard on Teeth

The ancient Egyptians didn’t have the luxury of a well-developed diet and subsisted on a lot of raw fruits and vegetables, as well as starchy breads. Researchers have studied the teeth of mummified Egyptians and found a lot of hard wear and tear, which suggest a coarse diet that contained a lot of tough textures that were hard on teeth.

Ancient Egypt, Advanced Oral Care

Dentists were viewed as important health providers, and helped Egyptians fight a number of oral ailments, some of which were quite serious. Dentists treated loose teeth by filling them with an herbal mixture of honey and barley, and they also drank a number of different mouth washes that helped them fight breath. Further, ancient Egyptian dentists performed more sophisticated operations and real surgery like jaw placements, surgical removal of abscesses, and partial removal of damaged pieces of gum. Far from simply removing food from teeth, the dentists of ancient Egypt provided meaningful contributions to oral health knowledge and helped influence some of our most popular and necessary dental procedures we use today.

The First Dental Bridges

The ancient Egyptians are credited with inventing and popularizing the first dental bridges, which helped people replace adult teeth that were lost. Egyptian dentists accomplished tooth replacement by threading thin gold wires around and through a replacement tooth, and then attaching the wires to nearby teeth in the mouth. After wires, Egyptian dentist experimented with making thicker, gold-plated mouth guard type devices to hold teeth in, and these pieces were actually seen as a symbol of wealth.

Oral Care Has Been Around for a Long Time

Ancient Egypt is just one of many places and cultures that practices oral healthcare, but they are one of the most advanced in terms of the procedures they performed, and the quality of their work has lasted long enough for today’s researchers to observe.

3 Handy Snacks for Healthy Teeth on the Go

Life is busy, and sometimes families need to snack while away from home. But, you don’t have to sacrifice your oral health just because you’re snacking on the go. Here’s our favorite handy snacks for those eating away from home.

Nuts

Nuts are another handy snack that promote a healthy mouth. Nuts are rich in protein, which helps to build stronger teeth. Chewing nuts promotes saliva production that naturally protects and cleans your teeth by clearing the mouth of debris and acid buildup that can lead to cavities. Nuts are a great healthy alternative to potato chips, or other salty snacks that your kids may crave.

Apples

Apples are high-fiber fruits, which naturally clean teeth as they’re being eaten! Apples scrub your teeth, gums and tongue as they’re being eaten because of their fibrous texture – particularly the skin. This helps fight plaque buildup, and helps remove surface stains from teeth. Apples also fight bad breath by removing traces of bad plaque and residue from the back of the tongue. We suggest adding apple slices into your child’s diet as a dessert substitute. Keep the skin on the apple slices, so that your child gets all of the oral health benefits.

Cheese

Cheese is high in calcium, which promotes strong teeth. But the benefits of cheese don’t end there. It also contains a protein called casein, which strengthens tooth enamel and helps to prevent cavities. Try adding a couple of slices of cheese to your child’s lunch every day to give them more calcium and casein. Or, you can buy them string cheese since it is a fun snack that kids love to eat!

Don’t Forget to Pack Water

Water is one of the best tools for keeping mouths clean, especially fluoridated water, which helps make teeth more resistant to acidic foods. When preparing a snack for your child on the go, grab a water bottle instead of a juice box or sugary soda. Also, encourage your kids to swish water around in their mouth after they’re done snacking. Swishing water can help remove debris caught in their teeth that can lead to enamel loss, and acid buildup.

A Healthy Diet Helps Teeth

A mouth-healthy diet is an important part of maintaining optimal oral health. If you’re concerned about how your child’s diet may be affecting their teeth, then bring them into our office. We can discuss healthy, delicious dietary options that kids love, and strengthen teeth.