Pediatric dentistry treats children from birth to adolescence. These early years are very important for dental health in both establishing a good relationship with your dentist and developing healthy oral habits. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that the first visit to the dentist occur within six months of the appearance of the first tooth, or by the child’s first birthday. This first visit can be intimidating for young children, but at Katy Smiles Center, we aim to provide the most pleasant experience possible to help you and your family feel at ease.
Primary, or “baby” teeth, begin to appear at around six to 12 months, continuing to erupt until about age three. This may be an uncomfortable experience for children, so to help soothe them, we recommend that parents rub the gums with a clean finger or a cool, wet cloth. Teething rings may also help. There will be a total of 20 primary teeth, which will start to be replaced by permanent teeth at around age six, continuing until age 21.
Dental sealants can offer a boost in protection for your child’s teeth. Sealants are a thin plastic coating that is applied to the teeth (usually the molars in the back, as they are the most difficult to clean), to act as a shield between the tooth and the things that can harm it, specifically food particles, bacteria, and plaque. Sealants last for many years and can be reapplied if needed.
As your child’s teeth first start to appear, it’s important to keep an eye on their development. Check on them every two weeks to look for lines and discoloration that might be signs of decay. Supervise brushing until you’re sure that good habits have been established. Fluoride toothpaste should not be used for children under the age of two unless advised by your dentist.
If your child is involved in contact sports, make sure he or she is using mouthguards regularly. These are integral in reducing the chance of oral injuries. Regular checkups are also an important part of maintaining good oral hygiene. Your family should visit our Katy, TX dentist twice a year for regular cleanings and checkups.