Child’s First Visit/ Early Dental Care

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Children’s Dentistry at Antelope Creek Family Dentistry

Serving Lincoln, Lancaster County and Nebraska

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A Child’s First Dental Visit

We welcome your child to our office for the very first time by scheduling them at 18-24 months. Our staff will help your child get acclimated to our office by:

  • Counting their teeth
  • Teaching them about the dental instruments we use during treatment
  • Riding them up and down in our treatment chair
  • Giving them a new toothbrush, toothpaste and floss to use at home
  • Letting them pick a prize from our treasure chest

Teething

Normally a child’s first tooth erupts between ages 6 to 12 months. Gums may be sore and tender until the age of 3. Rubbing sore gums with a clean finger or cold wash cloth helps sooth sore gums. Cold teething rings also work well.

While your baby is teething, it is important to monitor the teeth for signs of baby bottle decay. A bottle containing anything more than water and left in an infant’s mouth while sleeping or trying to sooth to sleep can cause decay. This happens because sugar in the liquid mixes with the bacteria in the dental plaque and forms acids that attack the tooth enamel. It takes approximately a half hour for the mouth to re-neutralize to a normal state where the saliva is neutral and not acidic to cause decay. Also, during sleep, the saliva flow significantly decreases, and liquids “pool” around the infant’s teeth for long periods of time, covering the teeth in detrimental acids. Keep in mind that diluting a child’s bottle with water will not help in the decay process for it is not the AMOUNT of sugar that can cause decay, but the FREQUENCY of how many times they are exposed to the sugars.

Infant’s New Teeth

The primary, or “baby” teeth, play a vital role in a child’s dental development. They are essential for chewing and speaking properly. Healthy teeth allow a child to eat properly and maintain good nutrition. Primary teeth are crucial to the development of the jaw bones and for guiding the permanent teeth into place when they start to replace primary teeth around the age of 6. Since primary teeth help guide the permanent teeth into place, children with missing primary teeth may require a device known as a space maintainer. Without a space maintainer, the teeth can tilt toward the empty space and cause the permanent teeth to come in crooked or block the tooth from erupting.

Good Diet and Healthy Teeth

A child’s teeth, bones and soft tissue of the mouth require a healthy, well-balanced diet. A variety of foods from the five food groups are important for a child’s growth. In our office, we like to involve both the child and parent in making a list of healthy snacks that are appropriate between meals. This helps the child take responsibility for their dental health from a very early age and make healthy decisions that will last a lifetime.

Fluoride for Children

Fluoride is essential for a child’s teeth to develop properly and reduce their chances of developing cavities. Children need both a balanced combination of fluoride in their drinking water as well as topical tray applications that are applied in the dental office. If you live in an area where you have well water, a prescription for fluoride drops may be crucial in the development of the child’s teeth and to reduce their risk of developing cavities.