Child Dentistry

Baby’s first Teeth

As teeth begin to emerge, some babies may have sore or tender gums. Rubbing your child’s gums with a clean wet gauze or cotton or finger may relieve some of the soreness. A clean, chilled teething ring may also ease tender gums.

Your child’s baby teeth or milk teeth are important in helping your child chew and speak normally. In addition, the primary teeth hold the space in the jaws for the permanent teeth. Both primary and permanent teeth help give the face its shape and form. A baby’s front four teeth usually erupt first, typically at about six months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months. Most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth by the time they are three years old. As your child grows, the jaws also grow, making room for the permanent teeth that will begin to erupt at about age six. At the same time, the roots of the primary teeth begin to be absorbed by the tissues around them, and the permanent teeth under them begin to erupt. Typically, children have the majority of their permanent teeth by 12 to 14 years of age. The remaining four permanent molars, often called“wisdom teeth,”erupt around age 21 to complete the set of 32 permanent teeth.

First dental visit
As your child’s first tooth erupts, consult with the dentist regarding scheduling a first dental visit. It is advantageous for the first dental visit to occur within six months after the first tooth erupts, but not later than the first birthday.

Preventing decay of milk teeth
As soon as teeth appear in the mouth, decay can occur. One of the risk factors for early childhood cavities (sometimes called baby bottle tooth decay) is frequent and prolonged exposure of a baby’s teeth to liquids containing sugar, like sweetened water and fruit juice and potentially milk, breast milk and formula. Encourage healthy eating habits. This would include a diet with plenty of vegetables and fruits and whole grains. Snacks should be nutritious. Limit sweets to mealtimes.

Permanent teeth
Sometimes a primary tooth is lost before the permanent tooth beneath it is ready to erupt. If a primary tooth is lost too early because of cavities or injuries, nearby teeth can tip or shift into the vacant space.When the permanent tooth is ready to emerge into the space, there may not be enough room for it. The new tooth may be unable to erupt or may emerge in an abnormal position. If your child loses a tooth prematurely, the dentist may recommend a space maintainer, a metal appliance that holds open the space left by the missing tooth. The dentist will remove this device once the permanent tooth begins to erupt.