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Early Dental Care

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Your Scottsdale, AZ Pediatric Dentists

 At Affiliated Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics, we love nothing more than crafting beautiful, healthy smiles for our patients - and making the whole experience fun for everyone involved. We know that a trip to the dentist's office can sometimes cause anxiety for children, so our doctors work hard to form a personal relationship with your child and make every dental appointment something to look forward to!

In your child's early years, a lot happens in their dental development - and this can present unique challenges to a parent. Here's some useful information about the various stages and steps of oral development and how to make them easier for your child:

Teething

Pediatric-Dentist-Early-Treatment.jpgThe first baby tooth usually erupts between the ages of 6 and 12 months. Baby teeth continue to erupt until the approximate age of 24 months. This can mean sore, tender, and often uncomfortable gums for your child until the age of two. You can help ease the pain by rubbing gums gently with a clean finger, the back of a cold spoon, or a cold, wet cloth. Teething rings are another great alternative, but avoid teething biscuits, as they contain sugar that can hurt baby teeth. Also, avoid any over the counter oral products that contain benzocaine.

The Importance of Primary Teeth

Although the primary teeth aren't permanent, they still play a vital role in your child's development and need to be cared for accordingly - primary teeth help your child learn proper chewing, swallowing, and speaking habits, and also help with jaw development and guide the permanent teeth into place around age 6.

Accordingly, babies who prematurely lose teeth or have missing teeth may require a space maintainer to hold space for the permanent tooth. Without proper space maintenance, tooth alignment can be an issue for the eruption of the permanent teeth. Another important aspect of the primary teeth is that in caring for them, your child learns proper oral hygiene habits. Forming these habits early on significantly lowers your child's chance for dental problems later on.

A Child's First Dental Visit

Parents often ask us when their child should first come and see us - we love this question because it shows that they're thinking about their child's oral health early on, something vital for a beautiful, healthy, lasting smile! The American Board of Pediatric Dentistry recommend your child’s first visit be within 6 months of the eruption of their first tooth, no later than 12 months of age. This visit is about education on how to properly care for baby teeth, dietary recommendations for healthy teeth and establishing a relationship with your child - we'll use it to build trust and discuss any anxiety your child may feel in coming to see us.

Good Diet and Healthy Teeth

While we're sure you know how important a healthy, balanced diet is for bodily health, we'll bet you didn't know that your teeth depend on it too! A nutritious diet with a variety of foods from all food groups helps ensure teeth develop and stay strong and healthy. Unfortunately, many snacks children eat can cause cavities - so be sure to teach your kids the importance of eating healthy and provide them healthy foods like low-fat yogurt, vegetables, and cheeses, which help to promote strong dental growth.

Infant Tooth Eruption

Your child's teeth actually started forming before they were born - who knew! At as early as four months old, you may see the first baby teeth push through the surface of the gums - starting with the lower central incisors, followed by their upper counterparts. The rest of the 20 primary teeth will erupt by approximately 24 months.

Your child's permanent teeth will start to come in around age 6, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors, and won't finish until around age 21. The tooth fairy has quite a job in front of her!

Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Tooth decay in infants can almost always be completely prevented by ensuring your child does not fall asleep while drinking milk. If your child needs a bottle to fall asleep, just fill it with water or use a pacifier.

Every two weeks, check the teeth - particularly the inside (tongue side) - for dull spots or lines that appear whiter than the rest of the tooth surface. A bottle with anything other than water - even with milk - left in a baby's mouth during sleep can cause cavities, as the sugar in the milk interacts with bacteria creates acids that eat away at tooth enamel. During the day, saliva cleans away these compounds, but during sleep saliva flow significantly decreases and creates a higher risk for decay.

Contact Your Scottsdale, AZ Pediatric Dentists

If you have more questions about caring for your little one's teeth, we're always here to help. Feel free to reach out to us at our contact page, or schedule an appointment at either our Grayhawk or Scottsdale office. We can't wait to craft a beautiful, healthy, and long-lasting smile for your child!