How Children’s Teeth Develop

Your child’s first tooth erupts between 6-12 months old. The rest of their 20 primary teeth, or “baby” teeth, typically erupt by age 3. During this time, gums may feel tender and sore, causing your child to be irritable.

To help alleviate this discomfort, we recommend soothing their gums by rubbing a clean finger or a cool, wet cloth across them. You can also use a teething ring.

Your child’s primary teeth will shed at various times throughout childhood, and their permanent teeth begin erupting at age 6 and continue until age 21. Adults have 28 permanent teeth, or 32 including wisdom teeth.

What to Expect for Your Child’s First Visit

Our experience in pediatric dentistry tells us that it’s never too early to take care of your child’s teeth – even when they’re toddlers! Prevention and early intervention can help maintain healthy, happy smiles for a lifetime.

At our office in Medfield, we recommend parents take their small children along with them to their own dental appointments. This can show your kids how things work at the dentist, becoming acquainted with our staff and office before their time in the dentist’s chair.

We also advise scheduling your little one’s first visit between 24 and 36 months of age. We can start monitoring the growth and development of their mouth and teeth and give them their first dental exam!

What the Dental Exam Entails:

  • Examining teeth & gum health
  • Checking bite & oral tissues
  • Removing dental plaque
  • Polishing teeth & cleaning gums
  • Evaluation for oral habits (thumb sucking, dental grinding, etc.)
  • Evaluation for orthodontic needs

Skipping a cleaning can result in cavities going untreated or getting bigger. What happens is, bacteria coats their teeth in a white film called plaque. When plaque thickens and the acid in sugar wears away tooth enamel (the top layer of their teeth), this can also lead to other dental issues, like gum disease.

Regular dental cleanings will help prevent tooth decay and even premature tooth loss in children.

Do Your Children Need Braces? In Pre-School?

It hasn’t been long since we found out about the chronic oral health consequences of misaligned teeth. In fact, it was just within the last ten to fifteen years or so.

Orthodontic dentistry isn’t just for making a teenager’s teeth look straight anymore. Now, the practice concentrates on much more.

The Effects of Misaligned Teeth in Children

Misalignment and malocclusion (imperfect teeth position) can bring on chronic headaches and full-blown migraines. A misaligned bite can cause ringing in the ears and vertigo (dizziness). Completely healthy teeth can start to chip and wear away, producing a ragged-edged smile.

Worst of all, a malocclusion usually isn’t something a parent can just “see.” It continuously exerts strain and pressure on the jaw joint, the teeth, and the chewing muscles.

Benefits of Early Orthodontic Treatment

There are some real benefits in starting orthodontic treatment when children are much younger. They usually don’t have to wear braces for a long period of time, and it’s also much easier to expand the palate. This allows room for all of the adult teeth to have the proper growing space.

But in most of those cases, young children won’t need to get braces. Instead, they’ll have their palates expanded by an appliance. This will make their arches wider and similarly makes space in the mouth for adult teeth.

How West Mills Smiles Can Help Identify Orthodontics Needs

Our office in Medfield has developed relationships with some excellent orthodontists in the area. If a dental exam reveals crowded or crooked teeth, or issues with the palate, we can refer you and your child to an orthodontist.

We are trained to spot early orthodontics needs in children, and we’re happy to help you choose the best orthodontist that meets the needs and temperament of your child. Just like we are well equipped to maintain your child’s general dental health!

Tips for Maintaining Your Child’s Oral Health:

  • Limit frequency of meals and snacks
  • Encourage brushing, flossing, and rinsing
  • Watch what your child drinks
  • Avoid giving your child sticky foods
  • Make treats part of meals
  • Choose nutritious snacks

Ready for Your Child’s First Dental Visit?

The key to good dental health (and the right habits) is starting care at an early age. We’re here to help establish those habits with your kids so they can learn lifelong lessons for keeping their teeth and gums healthy. Contact us today to make an appointment for your child’s first dental visit!