We love working with our young patients and realize that they have unique needs when visiting the dentist. We try not to push young children so that they wind up fearful of the dentist’s office. We’d like their visit to be as fun and comfortable as possible, and for them to develop life-long relationships with our dentist’s office.
At our office in Tacoma, we recommend mothers and fathers of small children bring them along to the parent’s scheduled dental appointment so the little ones can see what goes on during the visit, and become accustomed to our staff and office.
We also propose that the child’s very first visit be in between eighteen months and two years of age. At that age we can easily start to keep an eye on the growth and progression of their mouth and teeth.
When New Teeth Arrive:
Your child’s first tooth erupts between ages six-twelve months and the remainder of their twenty primary or “baby” teeth typically erupt by age three. During this time, gums may feel tender and sore, causing your child to feel irritable. To help alleviate this discomfort, we recommend that you soothe the gums by rubbing a clean finger or a cool, wet cloth across them. You may also choose to make use of a teething ring.
Your child’s primary teeth are shed at various times throughout childhood, and their permanent teeth begin erupting at age six and continue until age twenty-one. Adults have twenty-eight permanent teeth or thirty-two including wisdom teeth.
At our dental practice, we know that even toddlers need to see the dentist! Prevention and early intervention can help maintain healthy, happy smiles for a lifetime!
Bring Your Pre-Schooler In for a Visit About Braces
Many parents of young children didn’t have braces when they were teens. Actually, if they saw an orthodontist it was because their teeth were embarrassingly crooked and out of line. Some families didn’t have enough money for braces. In most cases it was because the child’s teeth looked pretty normal compared to other kids, and their dentist didn’t raise the issue unless the parents asked about braces.
When today’s parents were young, if there wasn’t enough space for all your teeth, the dentist made space by pulling permanent teeth. Of course, in hindsight, we now know that doing so was a disaster in the making.
Only in the last decade or so did we became aware of the debilitating long-term health effects of malocclusion (a mismatched bite). Orthodontic dentistry is no longer just for straightening crooked teeth. There is much more than that to worry about. Misalignment and malocclusion can bring on chronic headaches and full-blown migraines. A misaligned bite can cause ringing in the ears and vertigo (dizziness). Completely healthy teeth can start to chip and wear away, producing a ragged-edged smile.
Worst of all, malocclusion usually isn’t something a parent can just “see”. It lurks in the background continuously exerting strain and pressure on the jaw joint, the teeth and the chewing muscles. Then, one day, your ace student can’t take the English test because of a migraine. Or, he can’t hit jump shots anymore because he has developed vertigo.
There are some real benefits in starting orthodontic treatment when children are much younger. The children usually don’t have to wear braces for a long period of time during those awkward teenage years. It is also much easier to expand the palate and allow room for all of the adult teeth to have the proper space to come in. In most of those cases, young children will not get braces, however they will have their palates expanded by an appliance. This will make their arches wider. It allows space in the mouth for all of the child’s adult teeth to properly grow.
Our dental practice has developed relationships with some excellent orthodontists in the area and can refer you and your child to an orthodontist if an exam reveals crowded or crooked teeth, or issues with the palate. We can help you choose the best orthodontist that meets the needs and temperament of your child.
Didn’t Fluoride Eradicate Cavities in the 60’s?
Scientists in the 1960’s found that fluoride helped build a stronger defense against the teeth’s enemies like bacteria, acids and sweets. And yes, when fluoride was added to a city’s drinking water, the incidence of cavities dropped sharply. It was even predicted at one time that there would come a time when we wouldn’t need dentists anymore.
However, even the scientists of the 60’s couldn’t predict the development of Mountain Dew, Power Aid Energy Drinks and Gummy Worms. There is no way they could have foreseen that the average teenager would now eat their own weight in refined sugar every year. And, finally, even those scientists with a dark pessimistic vision of the 21st century, couldn’t imagine the power that high-fructose corn syrup would wield against fluoride, regular toothpaste and even daily flossing.
Tips For Your Family’s Oral Health:
• Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
• Encourage brushing, flossing and rinsing.
• Watch what your child drinks.
• Avoid giving your child sticky foods.
• Make treats part of meals.
• Choose nutritious snacks.
Correct oral hygiene at home is extremely important and really needs to start at a very young age. We take the time to instruct mothers, fathers and kids on good brushing and flossing techniques to enable them to enjoy good dental health for a lifetime.
1628 S. Mildred #206 • Tacoma, WA 98465 Phone: (253) 460-1800 • Fax: (253)460-0697
Monday...................................8:00 A.M. - 4:30 P.M.
Tuesday...................................8:00 A.M. - 4:30 P.M.
Wednesday.............................8:00 A.M. - 6:00 P.M.
Thursday.................................7:30 A.M. - 4:30 P.M.
Friday.......................................7:30 A.M. - 3:00 P.M.
Saturdays by Appointment only between
8:00 A.M. - 1:00 P.M.