Pediatric Dentistry FAQs: Babies and Toddlers

At Southern Dental Associates, we receive many questions about pediatric dentistry from parents. To help you better understand your child’s dental care, we have compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding babies’ and toddler’s teeth.

When should my child have their first dental visit?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children have their first dental visit by the age of one, or within six months after their first tooth erupts. This early visit allows the dentist to check for any potential issues and also allows your child to become familiar with the dental office.

When will my baby’s first tooth appear?

Babies usually start getting their first teeth between 6 to 12 months of age. Typically, it’s the two lower front teeth that show up first. The baby teeth emerge from the front of the mouth and then progress towards the back. By the age of three, most children will have all of their baby teeth.

How should I clean my baby’s new teeth?

For infants with emerging teeth, we may suggest using a washcloth or an infant toothbrush initially. As your baby grows and more teeth come in, we will recommend using an age-appropriate soft-bristled brush and a small amount of toothpaste. However, it is important to be cautious and ensure that your child does not swallow the toothpaste. As your child gets older, we will educate them about the importance of self-care and oral hygiene.

What should I do if my baby is teething?

While the emergence of baby teeth is an important developmental milestone, it’s crucial to recognize that teething can cause considerable irritability in infants. During this time, your little one may exhibit fussiness, sleep difficulties, decreased appetite, and excessive drooling. Although you cannot expedite the teething process, there are several measures you can take to alleviate your baby’s discomfort as their new teeth emerge. Common approaches to soothing your baby during this time include using safe teething rings, offering a chilled spoon, or gently rubbing their gums with a moist gauze. Remember, if you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to reach out to our office.

Why are baby teeth so important?

Primary teeth, commonly known as baby teeth, serve multiple important functions. They enable your baby to smile, eat, and speak, while also acting as temporary placeholders for the permanent teeth. It’s crucial to avoid premature loss of baby teeth as it may lead to potential misalignment of the smile.

Can babies develop tooth decay?

When it comes to caring for your child’s smile, it’s crucial to remember that baby teeth are just as vulnerable to decay as permanent teeth. Surprisingly, over 50% of children develop cavities before the age of eight. Tooth decay not only jeopardizes the health of baby teeth but can also have long-term consequences for your child’s overall well-being and the future growth of permanent teeth.

What is baby bottle syndrome?

Baby bottle syndrome, also known as nursing bottle syndrome, is a condition that occurs when infants develop severe tooth decay due to sleeping with a bottle filled with milk or juice. Although the damage is most noticeable in the front teeth of the upper jaw, extensive dental treatment is often necessary to restore the child’s oral health and prevent infections. New parents are strongly advised against allowing their baby to sleep with a bottle, or at the very least, substituting milk or juice with water.

Will thumb or finger sucking affect the development of my child’s smile?

Some children continue to suck their thumbs or fingers even after their preschool years. For these children, this activity provides comfort, relaxation, and a sense of security. It may even aid in falling asleep at night. However, it is crucial to recognize that in the long run, a habit of finger sucking is detrimental to their health.

If your child continues to suck their thumb or finger beyond the age of five or six, it is important to help them break this habit in a positive way. If the habit has caused any changes to the alignment of their teeth or jaws, or if it is impacting their speech or swallowing patterns, it is likely that your child may need orthodontic treatment.

Southern Dental Associates: Pediatric Dentistry You Can Trust

Southern Dental Associates is committed to providing high-quality dental care for children of all ages. Our experienced and compassionate pediatric dentists are dedicated to making your child’s dental visit as comfortable and enjoyable as possible. We hope that this FAQ has addressed some common concerns you may have about your baby’s oral health. If you have other questions or would like to schedule a consultation, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to help your child achieve a lifelong healthy smile!

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