Though children have baby teeth that aren’t going to be with them permanently, dental care for children is just as important as it is in adults with permanent teeth.
Primary teeth play a significant role in the development of your child’s permanent teeth, palatal development (roof of the mouth), speech ability, facial structure, profile / appearance, and they also help ensure proper digestion.
Dental Development in Children
Starting at the age of about six months through the time that they are nearly an adult, your child will be developing and losing teeth. Here is a guide to help you better understand what your child is going through and at what stage they’re in.
- Your baby will start to get their primary teeth at around the age of 6 months. You will notice the lower front teeth first.
- By the time your small child is three years old, they will have all of their baby teeth (for a total of 20.)
- First molars, also known as six-year molars, are the first set of new permanent teeth that your child will develop. They’re in addition to the twenty primary teeth and will appear in the back of the mouth. There are four.
- At approximately 6 years old, you will notice the lower front teeth being replaced with their permanent counterparts. Between the age of 6-13 is when the tooth fairy should have funds readily available. Your child will begin to shed their baby teeth and shortly after, permanent ones will take their place.
- 12-year molars are the second set of new permanent molars that will develop behind each first molar. These teeth are also referred to as second molars.
- By the time your child reaches the age of 13, all baby teeth should be gone and replaced by 28 permanent teeth.
- Not all people will develop wisdom teeth (third molars), but if your child does, it can be as early as the age of 16-17 when they start to erupt.
When Should a Baby Visit the Dentist for the First Time?
With all the dental changes that your growing child is constantly going through, you can see why it’s so important for them to visit our Ottawa dentists. There are so many common dental problems that can, with preventative help, be avoided altogether.
It’s recommended that your baby visit a pediatric or family dentist by the age of one, or six months after the first tooth erupts, whichever comes first. Sometimes parents bring their child in at the age of three or four, after all of the baby teeth have already come in. At this point there may already be concerns like tooth decay developing. However, it’s better late than never!
What Happens During a Child’s First Dental Visit?
During your child’s dental visit, we’ll check the development of their teeth and orofacial structures. If we see anything that may interfere with the function of your child’s mouth we can step in and recommend certain therapies that will allow their mouth to get back on the right track.
We also check for tooth decay and examine the mouth to determine the best level of home care. This helps us provide you with the necessary tools and advice that you need in order to help your child maintain a healthy mouth, without cavities or premature tooth loss.
Depending on the age of your child is during their first dental visit, we may take a few X-rays, which are intended to help us spot cavities or underlying developmental problems.
Building a good rapport with your child is important for everyone. We understand that the clinical setting can be a scary place for a lot of people. Thanks to gentle preventative care, we can help make your little one’s experience fun (so that we build a strong relationship with them that will last a lifetime!)
Early Childhood Tooth Decay
Having tooth decay as a child is an unfortunate situation that can be prevented through good home care and the help of our Ottawa dentist.
Tooth decay (cavities) can cause a significant amount of pain. If you wait to take your child to the dentist until they complain of a toothache, the relationship they form with the dentist office may not be a positive one. Your child will associate the dentist with pain and never look forward to another visit.
Prematurely losing a baby tooth due to decay can cause dental developmental issues, as well. One of the roles of primary teeth is to serve as a space holder for the respective permanent tooth. If a baby tooth is lost early, a lot of shifting can occur, and the space can close in. This results in limited space for the permanent tooth to erupt which can cause crowding or block the tooth from entering the mouth entirely. This can result in serious orthodontic concerns.
How To Brush Your Baby’s Teeth
Tooth brushing should begin as soon as your baby’s first tooth erupts. You can use a finger brush or toothbrush. Apply a grain of rice(a smear) sized amount of non-fluoridated toothpaste to the tool of your choice.
Gently wipe all of the surfaces of each tooth.
As your child gets older, they may want to brush their teeth on their own. This is great but you should be helping them by doing a once over until they can tie their own shoes..
Your Child and Fluoride
Fluoride makes teeth stronger and more resistant to the development of decay.
When selecting a toothpaste for children three and older, make sure it has fluoride in it. Drinking water in the city of Ottawa has been fluoridated. Also, when you visit our dentist, we apply fluoride treatment during their checkup.
A Few Words on Thumb-Sucking & Pacifiers
Finger or thumb sucking and the use of pacifiers soothe your baby and make them feel safe. However, the sooner you can break this habit, the better. Constant sucking can affect your child’s teeth position, shape of their palate and arches which can cause orthodontic issues later.
Visit Our Ottawa Dentist Today!
Now that you understand the importance of getting your child to the dentist regularly, call Parkdale Dental Centre for your family’s next appointment. We look forward to meeting you and building a strong relationship with your child that will last years!