Here at Naperville Dental Specialists, our pediatric dentists provide many preventative measures to keep your child’s teeth clean and healthy, including sealants and fluoride treatments. We also educate the parents in early detection of some common problems children may face, including thumb sucking, bruxism and baby bottle tooth decay.
Our primary goal for your children’s dental development is to achieve and maintain optimum oral health through advances in techniques, technologies and by maintaining their scheduled dental exams.
Infant Tooth Eruption
A child’s teeth actually starts forming before birth. As early as 4 months of age, the primary or “baby” teeth push through the gums-the lower central incisors are first, then the upper central incisors. The remainder of the 20 primary teeth typically erupt by age 3, but the place and order varies.
Permanent teeth begin eruption around age 6, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors. This process continues until around age 21. Adults have 28 secondary (permanent) teeth-32 including the third molars (wisdom teeth).
Normally the first tooth erupts between ages 6 to 12 months. Gums are sore, tender and sometimes irritable until the age of 3. Rubbing sore gums gently with a clean finger, the back of a cold spoon or a cold, wet cloth helps soothe the gums. Teething rings work well, but avoid teething biscuits-they contain sugar that is not good for baby teeth.
While your baby is teething, it is important to monitor the teeth for signs of baby bottle decay.
Importance of Primary Teeth
The primary teeth play a crucial role in dental development. Without them, a child cannot chew food properly and has difficulty speaking clearly. Primary teeth are vital to development of the jaws and for guiding the permanent (secondary) teeth into place when they replace the primary teeth around age 6. The self-image that healthy teeth give a child is immeasurable.
Since primary teeth guide the permanent teeth into place, infants with missing primary teeth or infants who prematurely lose primary teeth may require a space maintainer, a device used to hold the natural space open. Without a maintainer, the teeth can tilt toward the empty space and cause permanent teeth to come in crooked. Missing teeth should always be mentioned to your family dentist. The way your child cares for his/her primary teeth plays a critical role in how he/she treats the permanent teeth. Children and adults are equally susceptible to plaque and gum problems-hence, the need for regular care and dental checkups.
Good Diet and Healthy Teeth
The teeth, bones and soft tissue of the mouth require a healthy, well-balanced diet. A variety of foods from the five food groups helps minimize (and avoid) cavities and other dental problems. Most snacks that children eat cause cavities, so children should only receive healthy foods like vegetables, low-fat yogurt and cheeses, which promote strong teeth.