Pediatric Dentistry

Smiling little girl in pediatric dentist's chair getting her teeth fixed

Children are not miniature adults. They're growing human beings, and every stage of their development comes with its own special dental care needs.

Some children are born with neonatal teeth that require professional dental care. For most babies, however, the first deciduous teeth (primary or "baby teeth") begin to erupt at somewhere around five to six months of age. The child's first trip to the dentist should take place no later than their first birthday (or earlier if the child experiences dental problems, such as excessive pain or other complications related to teething).

Some people mistakenly believe that because primary teeth will eventually be replaced with permanent teeth, they are not very important. This is not true! Problems with primary teeth can affect the health of the permanent teeth that replace them, as well as the bones and gums. We see kids (and adults) all the time who need extensive dental work on their permanent teeth because their dental needs were neglected when they were younger.

Little boy in dentist's chair getting his teeth examined by the dentistGood dental health also is important to a child's overall general growth, development, and emotional well-being. Children with dental problems are less likely to eat properly and may suffer from nutritional deficiencies as a result. Long-term neglect of baby teeth can even lead to serious medical problems such as infections and abscesses.

Kids with dental problems also may experience harassment or teasing. Dental problems can cause bad breath or can can make their teeth look unattractive, and these children are sometimes teased mercilessly -- and needlessly -- by other children. We say "needlessly" because most of these dental problems can be fixed by a caring dentist who's good with kids.

Beginning with the first tooth, baby teeth need to be cleaned. Infants' teeth can be cleaned using a sterile gauze pad after meals, and toddlers' and young children's teeth should be brushed using a soft, child-sized toothbrush and a pea-sized bit of toothpaste.

Most importantly, children need to start visiting a dentist at about one year of age. We have specialists in pediatric dentistry on staff who understand children's unique dental needs. They're also experts in dealing with fears and anxiety that little kids usually have about going to the dentist, as well as how to educate them about the importance of proper dental hygiene and routine dental care.

We know it's not a play date, but we do strive to make a visit to the dentist as painless and positive an experience as we can.

For more information about our dental care service for children, please contact us.