Dental Care for Infants

DSC_4132When Do The First Teeth Appear?

Every child is different, so some children may get teeth in sooner than others and some may get them later. However, the first teeth usually erupt when your child is about six months old. The two bottom front teeth are the first to come in, followed by the two top front teeth.

You should make an appointment to see the dentist as soon as the first teeth appear. Every child should see a dentist by his or her first birthday and no later than six months after the first teeth come in.

Teething

Every child has a different experience with teething. Some children are more tolerant of pain while others are more sensitive to the pressure put on the gums. Some children have several teeth coming in at once while others seem to take their time, getting one or two in spaced out intervals.

The front teeth come in first, followed by the first baby molars, then the canines and second molars usually come last.

My Baby Was Born With A Tooth – What Do I Do?

Believe it or not – some babies are actually born with teeth!

Teeth that babies are born with, called Neonatal teeth, may not be fully developed. They may be brown or yellow-tinted in appearance because the hard coating of the tooth would not have mineralized yet. Their roots are not usually completely formed yet either, so they may be loose.

If the Neonatal tooth or teeth cause problems for the baby, removal may be necessary. This is very easy because neonatal teeth don’t have developed roots like normal baby teeth or adult teeth. It is hardly even necessary to use anesthetic.

If the tooth or teeth are not causing problems, it may be best to leave it alone and keep a close watch.

Making an appointment for your baby so that we can take a look and determine the best course of action is very important.

First Dental Visit – Sooner Than You May Think!

Every child should see a dentist by his or first birthday, according to the American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatrics. Why?

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children – 5 times more common than asthma, according to the American Surgeon General’s report.

In an effort to decrease the amount and severity of tooth decay in children, the focus has been moved to prevention. The earlier we see your child, the better chance we have of finding decay in its early stages or helping you keep your child cavity free for life.

Taking Care of Your Baby’s Mouth and Teeth Starting at Birth

Bacteria and sugars from breast milk and formula build up on the gums from birth. Once bacteria has been introduced and allowed to grow in the mouth, your baby will be more susceptible to decay throughout his or her life – so it is best to keep the mouth as clean as possible from birth.

  • Use a clean washcloth, soft rubber finger brush, or sterile gauze to wipe the gums and tongue clean every morning after breakfast and every night before bed.
  • Do not share germs with your baby. Avoid chewing food up for your baby, putting his or her pacifier in your mouth, and sharing eating utensils. Always wash your hands before touching anything that will go in your baby’s mouth.
  • Only give clean pacifiers to your baby. Do not dip them in honey or other sugary substances.

When To Stop Using the Bottle

  • It is best for your baby to stop using the bottle by their first birthday?
  • When your baby uses a bottle, there is a constant flow of sugary milk in the mouth. The sugars are allowed to build up on the teeth. If your baby uses a cup as soon as possible, he or she is less likely to get tooth decay.
  • Never put your baby to bed with a bottle full of milk or juice. Try to limit night feeding, and only

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

The rapid-spreading, severe decay of teeth in infants and toddlers caused by the sugars in milk and juice, called Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, is the most common form of early dental disease.

It usually begins around the first birthday with either chalky white spots or brownish pits on the front teeth and progresses rapidly, developing infection within a year or two.

If you suspect that your child may have the beginnings of Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, please do not delay in setting up an appointment. Every day the decay progresses only makes it worse for your child!

Is Your Child Having a Difficult Time Giving Up the Milk Bottle At Night?

Here are a few tips that may help you make the transition:

  • Remember that crying is normal. After a few nights your baby will sleep peacefully.
  • Replace it with water. If you absolutely must, you can do this gradually – replacing milk with water a little at a time.
  • Try a few of these alternatives to bottles at bed time:
  • Rocking
  • Reading
  • Singing
  • Clean pacifier
  • Blanket
  • Stuffed Toy
  • Mobile

The Truth About Fluoride

Because fluoride strengthens bone and enamel, it should have positive benefits to teeth. But too much fluoride can cause a chalky white to even a brown discoloration of permanent teeth called dental fluorosis. Because your children may be getting fluoride from a variety of sources, like toothpaste and certain foods, beverages & supplements, please discuss the use of fluoride with your pediatric dentist.

What To Do When Baby Falls (And Other Infant Dental Emergencies)

It is quite common for young children, especially when they begin exploring and walking, to fall and experience injuries to the head and mouth.

Additionally, infants and toddlers are always putting things in their mouths – metal toy cars, hard plastic balls, etc. Sometimes these hard objects can cause damage to teeth.

Sometimes they are even hit in the mouth accidentally, by other children or objects.

What to do if your child has an accident hits his mouth and damages a tooth!

  • First and most importantly “Stay Calm!”
  • Evaluate the situation:
  • If there is blood use gauze or soft cloth with slight pressure to stop bleeding.
  • If a tooth is missing attempt to find it but do not try to put back in until or if your dentist tells you.
  • Apply a cold compress to the area if swelling has occurred.
  • Call our office at 336-524-5439.

One important thing to remember:

If you child has received a blow to the face or head make sure that your child has not lost any consciousness. If they have even for a few seconds, they should see a physician immediately!!

Source: American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.  For additional information, please go to www.AAPD.org