Services – Kids Services

Children’s Dental Health

It is important for children to learn and practice good oral health habits from a young age. Our staff loves working with children and helping them ease through dental appointments. For many children, the dental office can be an intimidating setting if they are not sure what to expect. We recommend bringing your children with you to your own dental check-up appointments, to familiarize them with the office and staff.

Your child’s first dental visit is what we call a happy visit. At a happy visit, we count your child’s teeth, demonstrate proper brushing and flossing techniques and give parents tips on improving their child’s oral health. We love to make children’s dental visits fun for them, including them in their oral hygiene routine, and even going for a ride on the chair! These visits help foster good dental habits and create a comfortable environment for children. Kids who learn early that dental visits are neither painful nor unpleasant generally grow into adults who feel comfortable with regular dental upkeep. The dental habits developed during childhood can last a lifetime. Habits and behaviors that cause baby teeth to develop cavities are the same habits that can cause cavities in adult teeth.

Are early dental hygiene habits really that important?

Your child’s baby teeth are crucial to your child’s speech, appearance, and eating ability. Baby teeth are less mineralized than adult teeth, making them more susceptible to cavities. Cavities that form on a baby tooth are likely to form on the adult tooth erupting beneath. It is important to familiarize your child with brushing and flossing twice daily, as early dental hygiene habits will be carried on throughout your child’s life.

What causes children to get cavities? How can I help prevent them?

Cavities occur when bacteria that is already present in the mouth uses sugar from the food and drinks that we consume to create an acid. When left on the teeth, this acid demineralizes the enamel, making it easier for the bacteria to penetrate the tooth, causing a cavity. Baby bottle rot is extremely common in young children. Giving your child a bottle containing anything other than water before bed will cause decay if given the opportunity. Even infant formula or breast milk can contain large amounts of sugars/acids. While your child sleeps, saliva flow decreases and sugar pools around teeth. When acids remain on tooth enamel for extended time periods, a cavity can form. The best way to avoid your child from early childhood decay is maintaining good oral habits and limiting your child’s sugar intake.

Dental sealants may be recommended by your dentist. A sealant is a thin coating that is placed on the chewing surfaces of the molar and premolar teeth to help protect them from forming cavities. These teeth have deep grooves where bacteria can easily build up, as they are difficult to clean thoroughly with a toothbrush. This makes them vulnerable to decay. Sealants act as a protective shield over these grooves, making a smooth surface that is easy to brush over, reducing the likelihood of a cavity forming.

What should I do if my child has a dental emergency?

Any time your child experiences facial trauma, it is a good idea to schedule a visit to the dentist as soon as possible to ensure that their teeth have not be damaged or loosened. Prompt attention from a dentist can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth. If a tooth has been knocked out, it is essential to see your dentist right away to ensure that the area does not become infected and to control bleeding. Even if the tooth looks damaged or broken, try to bring the tooth or chipped piece with you to the dental appointment, as the dentist may be able to repair the tooth. While a tooth that will soon be lost may not need replacement, a tooth lost to injury may need treatment to maintain proper tooth spacing and bite health.

What steps should I take in case of a dental emergency?

 Check for bleeding. If the area is bleeding, apply a compress as soon as possible. Gauze or a plain tea bag will both work great.
 If the tooth has come out whole, try to locate it. Pick it up without touching the roots if possible. If the tooth or piece of tooth is dirty, you can rinse it with water.
 If you can, place the tooth back in the socket where it was lost. If this is not an option, place the tooth or piece of tooth in a cup of milk, salt water, or saliva.
 Apply a cold pack to the cheek/lips over the broken tooth to help reduce swelling and relieve pain.
 See a dentist as soon as possible. You can reach Core Dental Group by calling 780-DENTIST.

When should baby teeth erupt?

Although most babies are born without teeth, some have one or more teeth already peeking from their gums at birth. Children get their teeth at widely varying times, but the following list is an approximate indication of when a child’s baby teeth generally appear:

 Front teeth at 6 to 13 months
 Canine teeth at 16 months to 2 years
 First and second molars at 1 to 3 years
When all baby teeth have erupted, a child should have 20 teeth.

What can I do to help my child during teething?

Signs and symptoms of teething include:

 Drooling
 Chewing on solid objects
 Irritability or crankiness
 Sore or tender gums

If your teething baby seems uncomfortable, you can try some of these tips:

 Rub your baby’s gums. Use a clean finger or moistened gauze pad to rub your baby’s gums. The pressure can ease your baby’s discomfort.
 Keep it cool. A cold washcloth, spoon or chilled teething ring can be soothing on a baby’s gums. Don’t give your baby a frozen teething ring, however. Contact with extreme cold can be harmful to their gums. If you purchase a teething ring or toy, opt for a product without BPA.
 Try hard foods. If your baby is eating solid foods, you might offer something edible for gnawing — such as a peeled and chilled cucumber or carrot. Keep a close eye on your baby, however. Any pieces that break off might pose a choking hazard.
 Wipe up drool. Excessive drooling is part of the teething process. To prevent skin irritation, keep a clean cloth handy to dry your baby’s chin. Consider applying a moisturizer such as a water-based cream or lotion to help soothe the skin.
 Consult with your doctor. If these steps are not helping your child, consult with your doctor. A doctor might recommend acetaminophen (Tylenol, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, Children’s Motrin, others.)

When should adult teeth erupt?

Your child will have their 20 baby teeth until they are about 6 years old. Because there are more permanent adult teeth than baby teeth, the permanent teeth will start to come in behind the primary molars. As your child grows, the jaw will lengthen to create space for the new adult teeth. It takes about six years, between the ages of 6 and 12, for children to lose their baby teeth and gain their permanent adult teeth. This time is called the period of “mixed dentition”; because children will have a mix of both primary and permanent teeth. Eventually, the 20 primary teeth are replaced by 32 permanent teeth, starting with the first teeth emerging around age 6, and completing with the wisdom teeth, emerging between 17-21 years of age.

How long should I be supervising my child’s brushing and flossing?

Every child is different, meaning there is no magic number where a child should begin brushing and flossing on their own. As children get older, they develop better dexterity and hand-eye coordination, both skills playing a major role in proper oral hygiene care. A good test of how well your child is doing when brushing and flossing can be shown by trying products that show where the plaque is sitting on the teeth. There are both liquids and tablets available that will show a color on teeth where the plaque is left. It is important that all of the colors is removed when brushing and flossing, otherwise, the plaque is being missed and can, in turn, become a cavity. Until age 6, parents should have an active role in their child’s oral hygiene routine. After this, parental involvement is still important, however, instead of performing the oral hygiene, you can switch to active supervision. You may find that you only need to brush or floss teeth that are in a certain difficult-to- reach area, or if compliance is a problem. Actively inspect your child’s teeth for cleanliness on a regular basis.