3 TO 5 YEARS
WHY ARE PRIMARY TEETH SO IMPORTANT – AREN’T THEY GOING TO FALL OUT ANYWAY?
Primary teeth, sometimes called “baby teeth,” are important to your child’s health and development and should be cared for just as you would for permanent teeth. Primary teeth serve critical functions as a child learns to eat and speak. They are important for the normal growth and development of the face. In addition, they maintain space on the dental arch and guide the eruption of the permanent teeth. While some primary teeth are typically replaced around age 6, the back teeth (molars) can remain in until age 12 or 13. Without proper care, these teeth can decay and possibly cause toothaches, gum disease, and serious health problems. For these reasons, primary teeth are significant and require good daily hygiene and regular professional attention, just like permanent teeth.
ERUPTION OF TEETH
During this age, your child will get his final primary teeth as – the second molars generally erupt around age two years. He will then experience a lag time during which he will neither gain new teeth nor lose any teeth. Children typically begin to lose, or exfoliate, their first primary teeth around six years of age, but some children may begin this as early as four years. If you have any questions regarding your child’s tooth eruption or loss, please consult with his dentist.
PREVENTING CAVITIES AND CONTROLLING DENTAL CARIES
Between the ages of 2 and 5, children tend to become more independent and we recommend that parents stay diligent at controlling their child’s nutrition, snacking habits, and oral hygiene. This is the age where children often increase their snacking and drinking of sugary liquids. It is no coincidence that we see a lot of tooth decay in children who drink a lot of fruit juice. Therefore, we highly recommend that juices be limited to twice a day consumption or the child be given plain water or flavored waters with no sugar.
Also at this age, children tend to want to do more things by themselves; however, we strongly recommend that a parent continue to help a child brush and floss his teeth until he is 7 or 8. A good rule of thumb is that if they can not tie his shoes, he can’t do an adequate job of brushing and flossing.
IS IT A PROBLEM IF MY CHILD SUCKS HIS THUMB OR USES A PACIFIER?
Thumb-sucking and pacifier use in children younger than 4 is not considered a problem. Children usually stop this habit between the ages of 2 and 4.
Children who suck their thumbs frequently or with great intensity after the age of 4 or 5 ARE at risk for dental or speech problems. Such problems include the improper growth of the jaws, misalignment of the teeth and shape of the dental arches. A child may also develop speech problems, including mispronouncing Ts and Ds, lisping, and tongue thrusting. Questions regarding oral habits are common, so please do not hesitate to ask yours!
If you are concerned about your child’s thumb sucking or pacifier habit, talk with the dentist about your child’s dental condition, and what you can do to help your child quit their habit. A good book about thumb sucking is David Decides About Thumbsucking: A Story for Children, A Guide for Parents, by Susan P H.D. Heitler.
EARLY ORTHODONTIC EVALUATION AND TREATMENT
The ages of 2 to 5 years often present opportunities to correct many orthopedic (concerns the positioning of the facial bones) discrepancies and to allow for normal function of the jaws. The goal of most intervention at this age is to create an environment that allows for normal eruption of the 6 year molars. Also, at this time, we can begin to assess crowding and develop strategies for managing the eruption of the permanent teeth.
THE POTENTIAL FOR DENTAL EMERGENCIES
This is very active and adventurous time for most children. They are often climbing, jumping , and testing their limits. Please keep a watchful eye on them and help them to understand how to have fun while making good choices to avoid major injuries. We also recommend that you put our emergency number in your cell phone and next to your home phone. When you need it, you do not want to have to look for it! If your child experiences any facial trauma, please call the emergency number and consult with his dentist.
Dr. Z and his assistant, Lucy, were amazing with my 2.5 year old son. They introduced each of the instruments they were going to use. Dr. Z made Matty feel comfortable right away by giving him high fives, fist bumps, and shooting his “water gun” instrument. They made sure to incentive him with prizes and stickers. There was also a TV he could watch while laying down but he was so engaged with Dr. Z he didn’t even notice it. Also gave us great tips on oral hygiene, brushing and flossing technique…
Dr. Z was amazing. Our 2.5 year old boy was immediately drawn to the activities in the waiting room which was nicely decorated. My son loved interacting with Dr. Z whose demeanor was great. While I expected my son to cry some, Dr. Z was great about keeping the appointment as stress-free as possible. My son and I talked later that night about how much fun he had at the appointment. We will definitely bring our kids back for future cleanings.
Outstanding experience from Dr. Z and his staff. Going to the dentist for a young child can be scary but Dr. Z and his staff went above and beyond for my 5 year old. She left her visit feeling happy and can’t wait for her next check up.
Dr. Z and his staff are excellent! Professional but acutely aware of a child’s point of view and cater to their emotional well-being as well as dental health. Our son had a traumatic fall and had to have some teeth pulled, and Dr. Z made the whole process as pain and stress-free as possible.He and his staff even followed up with us on our cell phones over the weekend to see how he was doing. If you have kids who need to go to the dentist, don’t go anywhere else!!
When I initially made this appointment for my 2 year old daughter I thought to myself “this isn’t going to really happen”. I didn’t think she would allow a dentist near her teeth. But as soon as we walked in she was hooked. She absolutely loved the office, pointing out the iPads on the wall, watching the movie on the flatscreen TV, and jumping in and out of the colorful seats while grabbing books from the bookshelf. I was thinking this was the nicest office I had seen in a long time, if ever, an…
THIS PLACE IS AWESOME! Dr. Z is so cool with the kids. He really makes seeing the dentist fun. The atmosphere is very calm. The waiting room has awesome seating for kids, tablets to play games an TV with kid movies. The chair you lay in during cleaning has a TV on the ceiling & kids wear sunglasses. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS DENTIST. FIVE STARS IS NOT ENOUGH!!
Dr. Z is flat-out great with kids. He has them laughing and sitting still when they should be scared. Most dentist offices are traumatic for kids. They’d rather be somewhere else but Dr. Z lightens the mood with a few jokes and by engaging with the kids and parents. It’s a great overall experience and I’ll continue to bring my two sons and tell others about it.
We loved Dr. Z! I brought all three of my kids including my son with special needs/sensory issues and my daughter for her first visit to the dentist!
We went this afternoon and it was the girls first visit to the dentist. Neither of them shed a single tear or even seemed uncomfortable (they’re 3.5 and 2). He really goes out of his way to make them feel safe and at ease. It’s a new office and has tablets with all sorts of games attached to the wall in the waiting room for the kids to play with as well as movies playing and even movies on the ceiling over the exam chairs! He also gives out little prizes after their cleaning and gave us coupons …
Dr. Z! Thank you for the excellent experience! I can only wish that my childhood experiences could’ve started as well as those of our son. You know you’re in the right place when your child actually asks when he is going to see his dentist again! The warmth and professionalism of Dr. Z and his staff has made what we thought would be a difficult decision an easy one. We’re very thankful to you for all you do. Thanks again!