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Family Dentistry in Forth Worth, Texas
Family Dental Services
Dental Services for Children
Our dental needs change throughout our lives. The developing dental structures of children and adolescents require different treatments and considerations from those required by adults. Dentistry for Life wants to provide you and your entire family with the specialized care they need to ensure a lifetime of beautiful, healthy smiles.
Between the ages of three months and six years, children are continually developing new teeth. By age three, most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth. The jaw will begin growing to accommodate permanent teeth around age 6. Primary teeth act as placeholders for these permanent teeth and are very important to the development of a child’s speech and self-esteem.
We try to make a child’s first visit to the dentist both fun and interesting. We check for tooth crowding, calcium deposits, abnormal numbers of teeth, tooth decay resulting from bottle feeding, gum disease, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder and any tooth alignment problems stemming from thumb sucking. We explain to our young patients the importance of a healthy diet and demonstrate proper brushing techniques. As with adults, we also clean and polish young patients’ teeth. Because primary teeth are important placeholders for permanent teeth, we provide special crowns to restore primary teeth in the event of damage or decay. As a preventive measure, we also provide resin tooth sealants that can prevent cavities in the deep recesses of the tooth’s top surface.
Young children often need x-rays more often than adults. We use our digital x-ray technology to detect cavities, bone disease, and erupting teeth; evaluate the condition of the teeth after an injury; and even plan future orthodontic treatment such as Invisalign®, which can be administered during their teenage years.
*Cited by the Centers for Disease Control
What to Expect During Childhood
Wiggly teeth ~ When a child is about 6 years old, his/her teeth will begin to come loose. Let your child wiggle the tooth until it falls out on its own. This will minimize the pain and bleeding associate with a lost tooth.
Growth patterns ~ Each child grows and develops at a different rate, however there are patterns to look for when it comes to when your child’s teeth typically erupt. See Chart for typical growth rate. (Click here for downloadable chart that can be edited for your memories or feel free to contact our team and we can email it to you!)
Cavities ~ Cavities can develop when sugar-containing foods are allowed to stay in the mouth for a long time. Bacteria that live on the teeth feast on these bits of food and can eat away at tooth enamel. Saliva washes away the acid between meals, but if your child is always eating, there may not be time for this acid to get washed away.
Because children are still growing and have not mastered a dental routine yet, they are especially vulnerable to cavities.
Made of a thin plastic coating, dental sealants act as literal shields against decay-causing bacteria so that your child’s smile stays healthy.
Understanding how dental sealants help.
- Prevent Cavities
By acting as a physical barrier, a dental sealant can protect teeth from bacteria and decay. They are most often applied to the molars, which are especially vulnerable.
- Lower the Cost of Dental Care
The fewer cavities your child gets, the less you have to pay for restorative treatments like fillings and crowns.
- Establish Long-Term Dental Health
Children do not always brush and floss their teeth properly, which makes it easier for cavities to develop. A little extra protection can lay the foundations for good oral health in the future.
Frequently Asked Questions
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry believes it is best to have the first visit around the first birthday. Pediatricians also agree that your child should be seen within 6 months of the first tooth appearing. The American Academy of Pediatrics also recommends that children who are at high risk of early childhood cavities visit a dentist by their first birthday.
The idea of such early dental visits is still surprising to many new parents. However, national studies have shown that preschool-aged children are getting more cavities. More than 1 in 4 children in the United States has had at least one cavity by the age of 4. Many kids get cavities as early as age 2.
To prevent early childhood cavities, parents first have to find out their child’s risk of developing cavities. They also need to learn how to manage diet, hygiene and fluoride to prevent problems.
Some dental problems begin as early as infancy. A huge concern is baby bottle tooth decay, a very serious condition caused by a child staying on the bottle (or breast) too long and not brushing the child’s teeth after feedings. Another problem is pediatric gum disease. About 40% of children 2-3 years old have, at least, mild inflammation of gum tissues. Oral habits (such as thumb-sucking or tongue thrusting) should also be checked. The sooner the dental visit happens, the better the chances of preventing future problems. Strong, healthy teeth help your child chew food easily and properly, speak clearly and feel good about his or her appearance.
At Dentistry for Life, we believe the purpose of any dental visit, but especially the first one, is to learn about your child’s oral health and how to best care for your child’s unique needs before any problems occur. Many dental problems can be prevented or more easily treated in the early stages. It’s important you trust and feel comfortable in our office. At this first visit, you should get your questions answered and your child should start to build a relationship with our doctors.
The best way to prepare for this visit is to consider what you want to know, what you want to look for and what you should expect.
Be prepared to ask about any concerns you may have:
- Tell you how to reach the office in case of an accident or dental emergency
- Give specific advice about regular follow-up care
- Tell you about what will happen next in your child’s oral development
- Help you to guard and promote your child’s oral health
Begin using toothpaste to brush your child’s teeth when he (or she) is 2 years old. Young children tend to swallow toothpaste when brushing, rather than spitting it out. Introduce fluoride toothpaste when your child is old enough not to swallow it. As soon as two teeth touch each other, floss between them once a day. You can use regular floss or special plastic floss holders.
Click the tooth to download our fun coloring book to share and teach your child about their teeth!