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  1. When does the first tooth come in?

    The first tooth usually comes in around 6 months of age. Most often it is a lower front tooth. Our experience, however, is that the tooth eruption timing of primary (milk) teeth is more variable than for permanent teeth. The front 8 teeth (4 on top and 4 on bottom) usually have come in by 9 months of age.

  2. When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?

    The simple answer is that teeth should be cleaned as soon as they first appear. Parents should not limit the cleaning only to teeth. The gums also need to be cleaned.

  3. What is the best way to clean a baby’s mouth?

    Different methods have been recommended. The popular technique nowadays is to use a clean, small gauze pad/ dry cloth can be used. The teeth and gums are firmly wiped to remove liquid and food debris. This is done before bedtime. Once the child has back teeth (molars), a small, soft toothbrush can be used to clean the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the molars.

  4. At what age should a child have the first dental check-up?

    Early examination procedures have been recommended strongly in the past decade to help reduce the number of infants and children who suffer from preventable tooth decay. Ideally, we like to see children have their first dental check-up by their first birthday. Why? Seeing the child early gives the dentist the opportunity to examine the mouth and confirm normal oral development. Most importantly, the teeth can be examined for cleanliness. It gives the dentist the opportunity to provide advice on prevention and make the best care plan for your child. It also gives parents the chance to discuss feeding practices, teething, and mouth habits.

  5. Why do some children get tooth decay before they are two years old?

    About 1 in 10 children experience tooth decay before they are two years old. The most common cause is when a baby is placed in the bed at night with a bottle of milk or sweetened liquid. The contents of the bottle cling to the teeth all night. Tooth decay begins! The same effect can occur with a sweetened pacifier. In circumstances, babies who are breastfed throughout the night over a long time are also at risk. The decay experienced by these toddlers has a typical pattern. It usually is evident near the gum line of the upper front teeth. Because of the age of these children, treatment becomes a major problem sometimes requiring general anesthesia. Parents need to be alert and keep their teeth healthy. Occasionally when illness or some other disturbance affects growing teeth, the quality of the enamel (outer layer of the tooth) is poor. These teeth can decay early and more easily. A dental examination around one year of age helps identify these problems.

  6. What can be done about my child grinding teeth at night?

    Some children grind their teeth at night. It is a habit called bruxism. It is not unusual in the early years. We know that this really worries parents but in our experience it rarely requires treatment. The grinding habit can be minor or a child can wear teeth severely. If the habit persists in later years and there is damage to the second teeth, some form of treatment may be indicated. Some suggestions for treatment have been minor tooth adjustments, the use of mouth splints, relaxation techniques, and sedation at night.

  7. Are baby teeth important?

    For years, the importance of baby teeth was underrated. Once their importance was recognized, adult teeth improved! There are obvious reasons why baby teeth are important – chewing, speaking, and appearance. Baby teeth do more. They conserve the space in the jaws for permanent teeth. If baby teeth are removed ahead of their natural time to fall out, space for the second teeth may be lost.

  1. I am worried about my child’s visit to get teeth filled, is there anything I can do to help?

    We would all like the dental visit to be a good experience. Research tells us that anxious parents can pass their anxieties to their children. So, try and be relaxed and positive. Treat the visit as a routine part of life and health care. Extensive information on this website can be used to explain procedures. You may also ask friends and other family members about dental practices that are oriented toward children or about dentists who limit their practice to children. Other children in the dental office and a dental team who look forward to treating children can be a big help to the child.

  2. By two years of age, are all the baby teeth present?

    That is a hard question without a dental examination. The answer likely is no! Baby teeth begin to arrive around 6 months of age. By age two, 16 teeth usually are present and the last of the molars begin to appear, but they do not finish erupting until around 30 months. The upper molars are usually the last to come in.

  3. What type of toothbrush do you recommend?

    Many types of toothbrushes are available in the market. Some manufacturers specialize in the development of children’s toothbrushes. Rather than offering a brand name, we would like you to think about what you want in a toothbrush for a child 2 -5 years old. Look for a brush with a short and bulky handle as this is easier for the young child to manage. Bristles should be soft to avoid injury.

  4. How often do you recommend cleaning teeth?

    One of the most important things about a tooth cleaning schedule is developing good habits. Brushing should be done at least twice daily – morning and at bedtime. Of course, if it is done more often that is good. Brushing teeth after meals or sweet snacks is very beneficial. Cleaning is best done by children and parents.

  5. What is the black stain on my child’s teeth?

    A black stain is a result of a combination of many things in the mouth related to saliva, bacteria, and foods. Black stain on the surfaces of teeth is usually associated with decay. Other kinds of stains also appear on the outside of teeth; brown and gray stains are the most common. These stains may indicate poor hygiene and under them, early signs of tooth decay may be found

  6. Why do baby teeth need fillings?

    When they have cavities (decay), baby teeth are filled. All the decayed parts of teeth are cleaned and fillings are placed to repair them until they fall out normally. If teeth are removed early, space may be lost in the dental arch. The end result is that the permanent teeth may become crowded in a mouth that might have had a good, straight set of teeth. Another reason is that baby teeth are filled in to prevent dental abscesses and facial infections. Teeth left to decay can lead to unnecessary health problems. A third reason that baby teeth are filled is to reduce the number of bacteria (germs) in the mouth that cause tooth decay. These bacteria multiply in areas of decay. Eventually, the decay spreads to other teeth and even to the permanent teeth when they come into the mouth.

  7. Does it matter that my child had a baby tooth removed?

    Yes, it may be a problem later on especially if back teeth are severely decayed or lost early. Baby or primary teeth are of a specific size and occupy a certain amount of space in the jaw. If a baby tooth is removed, the nearby teeth may drift into the space that has been created by the lost tooth. This means there will be insufficient space in the future for the permanent tooth that will replace the lost tooth. The end result is that the way the teeth bite together may be affected.

  8. What is a space maintainer?

    A space maintainer is an appliance that reserves space in the jaw that is created when a baby tooth is lost prematurely. The design of a space maintainer depends upon the teeth missing, the teeth present, and the child’s tooth development.

  1. When will my child start getting permanent teeth?

    The arrival of permanent teeth occurs at 6 years +/- 6 months. With the exception of the wisdom teeth, the last of the permanent teeth come in around 12 years of age. Tooth eruption can be variable. Girls tend to get teeth earlier than boys. Variation has been observed. In our experience, it is not so much the timing that is important as the sequence of tooth eruptions. When individual teeth are delayed, this could indicate local problems. A good reason to see your Pediatric Dentist regularly is to have development supervised.

  2. What can be done for my child who is still sucking the thumb?

    It is time to do something! Most experts think that by 6 years of age when the second teeth start to come in, is the proper age to treat the habit. We like to see the habit discontinued because it can push the new teeth into poor alignment. Finger sucking encourages the upper teeth to protrude. It also can be associated with poor speech, social stress, and other habits. These habits are treated with psychologically based programs and/or mouth appliances. Correction of the habit is sometimes not easy. Consult your Pediatric Dentist.

  3. Why does my child have two rows of teeth?

    The common site for this occurrence is in the lower front tooth region. The appearance of two rows of teeth is due to the permanent teeth coming in behind the baby teeth. Your dentist should be consulted. An x-ray may be needed to determine how much of the root of the baby tooth remains. Sometimes the baby teeth need removal but in many cases, they fall out after a few weeks.

  4. If a child has bad baby teeth, will they have bad permanent teeth?

    This does not have to be the case. To have dental decay we need teeth, germs in the mouth, and sweet foods. If germs collect in large numbers and sweet foods are eaten regularly and allowed to remain in the mouth without being brushed away, we have a recipe for tooth decay. We have had many patients under our supervision that arrived with terrible baby teeth but did not get decay in their permanent teeth. It took a lifestyle change. Diet, proper mouth care and regular dental visits are all important. So, bad permanent teeth do not have to follow bad baby teeth.

  5. Why does my child have a large space between the new front teeth?

    A large space sometimes is noticed when the two upper front teeth come in. The easy answer is that this is a normal part of jaw development. As more teeth arrive, the space tends to close. When canine teeth arrive near the teenage years, the space is usually closed. There can be other causes for space between front teeth and the area may need x-ray investigation by your dentist.

  6. Why do children need sealants?

    When teeth first come into the mouth they are more at risk for tooth decay. The most common teeth are permanent molars. These molar teeth arrive about 6 years of age and often have deep grooves on the chewing surfaces. Tooth brushing cannot clean these grooves properly. As a result, these new teeth will get decay. What the sealant does is stick to the tooth so that food cannot collect in the deep molar grooves. This prevents them from decaying!

  7. When do children begin to floss their own teeth?

    Flossing teeth is difficult. Children acquire these abilities at different rates. Studies with 7 to 8-year-olds have shown that many of the children do not have the ability to self- floss at this time. Consequently, at about 8 to 10 years of age, we suggest that children can be introduced to self- flossing. Begin by learning to floss the front teeth. Then, when they can do this well, begin to floss in the back of the mouth. It is important not to have a child floss before they are ready. It frustrates them and then their cooperation will be lost. It is important to floss correctly. Your dental team can help you learn.

  1. When will my child get braces?

    Children vary in their development and so they will vary when they get braces. As well, the type of treatment being undertaken will determine when orthodontic treatment begins. Orthodontics may be undertaken early when there are both primary and secondary teeth in the mouth. Sometimes it is all that is required or it could be the first part of a lengthy treatment. Commonly orthodontics begins later when the permanent teeth have come in and much of the facial development is nearly completed.

  2. Will my child need permanent teeth removed if they get braces?

    The decision to remove teeth will depend on the orthodontic diagnosis and treatment plan. There are different approaches to treatment. The decision on the need to remove teeth will be different for every child.

  3. What is the best way to clean the mouth when wearing braces?

    We realize that cleaning the mouth while wearing braces is not an easy thing to do. It takes more time and requires more effort. The person who puts the braces on should spend time instructing you what to do. Three things can be suggested for home care. (1) Brushing may require a standard brush for regular cleaning and a special brush (small end-tufted brush) to clean around the hardware. (2) Special dental floss threaders which enable cleaning between teeth that cannot be done with wires in place. (3) Fluoride mouth rinse should be used daily because children wearing braces are more prone to tooth decay. Be very alert to having good hygiene and diet while wearing braces! Nothing is more disappointing to children, parents, and clinicians than having to cope with gum problems and tooth decay when the braces are removed.

  4. Why are my child’s gums red or bleed while brushing?

    Bleeding gums are not healthy. There are many possible reasons for gums becoming red or bleed when brushing. The main reason relates to improper cleaning of the teeth. If the teeth are not straight, they may be more difficult to clean. The gums and teeth need to be brushed regularly at least twice daily. Dental flossing can help clear up the situation as the floss gets between the teeth and removes plaque from areas that the brush cannot reach. Parents and children can tell when the gums are getting healthier because the bleeding decreases and the gums become pink. Other causes are related to medical conditions. One special situation that should be mentioned is called pubertal gingivitis. This condition can persist even though the mouth appears well cleaned. It is due to the hormonal changes that occur in the body at puberty. We consider it a passing phase. The gums will eventually return to a healthy, pink color. Consultation with the dentist is recommended.

  5. When do you get wisdom teeth?

    This question usually is asked by older teens rather than parents. Wisdom teeth, or third molars, may come into the mouth as early as 16 years of age but usually, they come in several years later. The question is prompted by hearing stories about wisdom tooth problems. These problems often are due to inadequate space in the back of the mouth for these teeth. As a result, they only partially come into the mouth. The gums around them tend to become infected causing pain and swelling. Under these conditions, wisdom teeth are removed. If they need removal, we recommend that this be done early rather than waiting for years. Often the surgery is easier as the roots of the teeth are not fully formed.

  6. Are mouth beads (rings) harmful in any way?

    The current trend for young people to have facial jewelry can cause some dental damage. Tongue studs, for example, have contributed to the breakage of back teeth. Lip rings can get caught in clothing or elsewhere and tearing of the lip can occur. The jewelry needs to be well-cleaned as it can be an area where the infection begins. Whenever these items or tattoos are put into the mouth, they should be done under the cleanest possible conditions.

  7. When do children begin to floss their own teeth?

    Flossing teeth is difficult. Children acquire these abilities at different rates. Studies with 7 to 8-year-olds have shown that many of the children do not have the ability to self- floss at this time. Consequently, at about 8 to 10 years of age, we suggest that children can be introduced to self- flossing. Begin by learning to floss the front teeth. Then, when they can do this well, begin to floss in the back of the mouth. It is important not to have a child floss before they are ready. It frustrates them and then their cooperation will be lost. It is important to floss correctly. Your dental team can help you learn.