|What is a pediatric dentist?
Pediatric Dentists are specialists who have completed dental school and additional specialized residency training that focuses on dental care for children. Board-Certified Pediatric Dentists are recognized by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry for their unique knowledge, experience, and skill in providing comprehensive age-appropriate dental care for infants, children, teens, and children with special needs.
How to Care for Your Child's Teeth
Babies are born with 20 primary teeth just below the gums that begin to come in around 6 months of age. This first set of teeth is not only necessary for eating and speech, it also creates a healthy foundation for future permanent (adult) teeth by maintaining appropriate space in the jaw. It is important to teach children good oral hygiene habits early in life because cavities can develop as soon as the first teeth are visible.
Wipe the gums with a washcloth after feeding your baby even before the teeth have come in. Once teeth begin to come in (about 6 months of age), brush them twice daily with a child-size toothbrush and a small smear of fluoride toothpaste. Flossers should be used to floss between any teeth that touch. Juice contains a lot of sugar that increases the risk of cavities. Fill sippy cups and bottles with water between meals and at bedtime to prevent cavities.
Most children begin losing their primary teeth around 6 years of age. Help your child brush his or her teeth twice a day using only a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to avoid accidental ingestion and overexposure. Provide children the opportunity to learn oral self-care by letting them brush by themselves first, followed by more thorough brushing as needed. Continue to floss between any teeth that touch on a daily basis. Fluoride supplements and/or dental sealants may be recommended for some children.
Children continue to lose primary teeth and gain permanent teeth from 6–12 years of age. All this change can increase the difficulty of keeping teeth clean and healthy. Brush and floss twice daily. Two-minute timers for brushing and handheld flossers can be helpful tools. Continue to teach your child about making smart drink and snack choices. Depending on tooth development and spacing, some children may be referred to an orthodontist for evaluation or early treatment.
Most permanent teeth have come in by 12 years of age. The third molars ("wisdom teeth") typically come in around 18 years of age. Molars that are impacted (wedged between the jaw and another tooth) may need to be removed to prevent gum tenderness and pain. We recommended that children who play contact sports be fitted for a mouth guard to help protect their teeth and gums from injury.