BIRTH TO TWO 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.
WHEN WILL MY BABY START GETTING TEETH?
The primary teeth are forming under the gums even before a child is born! While it is possible to have “natal teeth,” where the baby is born with teeth already in the mouth, the primary teeth normally start to come in between 4 – 6 months of age, with the lower, center, front teeth (central incisors) coming in first. Permanent teeth start to develop under the gums around age 3 and begin to erupt around age 6. Eventually your child will have up to 32 permanent teeth, including the 4 wisdom teeth.
The vast majority of kids fly right through teeth eruptions with no problems, but teething can be difficult for some. When the back teeth are coming in, this can cause not only discomfort, but also fevers, blood blisters, and ear aches, which can simulate inner ear problems. To help your baby with teething, we recommend frozen bagels for them to chew on, so that the baby can gently work the gums to allow the teeth to erupt. You can also use Children’s Tylenol® or Motrin® to help your child be more comfortable. There are some topical analgesics, such as PM Orabase® that are also effective, but please do NOT apply aspirin directly to gums as this can cause severe burns of the tissue. If you have any questions about teething, please call us.
ABOUT BOTTLES AND NURSING AT BEDTIME
It is important to know that nursing a baby to sleep or putting a baby to sleep with a bottle of milk or juice can be very bad for her teeth. When a baby sleeps, her saliva production is lessened, so the natural cleaning mechanism for the teeth is not at work. Without this saliva, your baby’s teeth becomes covered in the sugars from the milk or juice. These sugars feed the bad bacteria that are in the mouth, creating an acid environment that encourages tooth decay. For this reason, we recommend cleaning your baby’s teeth with water and a soft bristled brush or washcloth before putting her down to sleep and after night feedings. If you must give something in a bottle to help her go to sleep, use plain water or flavored water without sugar.
HOW SHOULD I CLEAN MY INFANT OR TODDLER’S TEETH?
Clean your infant’s or toddler’s teeth with water and a washcloth or child’s toothbrush with soft bristles. It is recommended not to use toothpaste until he is able to spit it out and not swallow it. This ability usually occurs around age three.
DO YOU DO EARLY ORTHODONTIC EVALUATIONS?
Pediatric dentists are specialists with children’s dental development. Your child’s complete dental condition, including potential orthopedic (concerning the positioning of facial bones) and orthodontic (concerning the positioning of the teeth) conditions will be evaluated at every continuing care visit. It can be helpful to know that it is not unusual and in fact it is normal.
IS IT A PROBLEM IF MY CHILD SUCKS HIS THUMB OR USES A PACIFIER?
Orthopedic change can result from a prolonged use of thumb sucking or pacifiers, however, this is typically not an issue until age 4 or 5. Sucking is a normal reflex for infants and, as you are probably aware, can soothe them. Children usually stop sucking their thumbs naturally as they get more active and begin to require both hands for their activities, like holding toys, climbing on furniture and coloring.
THE POTENTIAL FOR DENTAL EMERGENCIES
We don’t call them toddlers for nothing! The typical coffee table is the perfect height of the upper front teeth for many children and for that, we see many injuries to these teeth in this age group. Look at the layout of your furniture and think ahead about what could be a bad situation for your child. We strongly recommend precautionary measures, like installing bumpers or removing items with sharp corners, to save a lot of pain and trouble. Establish a Dental Home for your child now, before something happens, and put the emergency contact number in your speed dial and next to your home phone. If your child experiences any facial trauma, please remain calm and consult with his dentist, because in many of these situations, your assurance is important!
Dr Z and his staff were amazing. From the moment you walk into the office until the moment you leave, Dr Z and his staff make you and your child feel so welcomed and taken care of. My 2 year old and 4 year old daughters are terrified of the dentist, but the first time we walked into A to Z, Dr Z made them feel so comfortable that my oldest walked straight to the back to sit in the chair. The question I get every morning from my daughter’s is, “Daddy can we go back to Dr. Z’s office today”!!! I w…
Great experience! Dr. Z and staff are 100% child focused from the moment you walk in the door. Beautiful office!
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! 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!
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.
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 …
Everybody knows how hard children are to handle. I took my one year old for her very first time to the dentist, and I was amazed on how Dr. Hassan was able to keep her calm while attending to her dental needs in the most professional way!
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 love Dr. Z. Our 10 year old son has autism with communication issues and hates going to the dentist. It’s always a production. Dr. Z is his 4th dentist and we have new hope for his teeth! With Dr. Z, he feels comfortable, engaged and actually complies with what Dr. Z needs him to do. Recently, I managed to get our 5 year old there. Last time we took the 5 year old to a dentist she clammed up and would NOT open her mouth. I was dreading this appointment with her because she is so stubborn, but…
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!!