We are so lucky that there is a detailed manual on raising children that we are handed the moment they are born. Wait. There…isn’t one?
In that case, how about we provide you with a mini manual on a topic we are experts on: pediatric dental care. We can provide healthy tips on caring for tiny teeth at home so that they develop into bigger, healthy teeth, as well as when to seek professional dental services.
Teeth By The Ages
In the womb: Now is the time for mom to stock up on yummy veggies and fruits–the nutrients will help those developing teeth to grow strong!
4-6 months: This is generally the time when the first tooth erupts through the gums. Don’t be alarmed if it arrives earlier or later–babies are on their own timetables. To prevent buildup pof bacteria and developing good hygiene habits, you should gently wipe a soft damp gauze or cloth across your baby’s gums after each meal.
One year old: Time for your child’s first dental visit! Pediatricians and dentists both recommend that you bring your little one in by his or her first birthday. This helps to set up a lifetime of excellent oral health and positive dental experiences.
Seven years old: This is when adult teeth begin to grow in! At this age the ADA advises discussing orthodontics with your child’s dentist. You might think that this is far too young to even think about braces, but the purpose of this visit is to assess how the bones are developing and how the adult teeth are growing in. Early intervention is the key to success when it comes to oral health! (You will hear this several more times before this ‘manual’ ends!)
This doesn’t meant that braces will be the outcome during this visit. However, if any misalignment or overcrowding issues are spotted, your dentist will be able to recommend a date in the future to start thinking about orthodontic treatment, or an early intervention that might reduce the length of time braces are needed.
If Braces Are In Your Child’s Future…
It’s actually a good thing! We use braces to correct teeth that are crooked, overcrowded or misaligned, and can be a huge benefit to your child’s oral health. They encourage comfortable chewing and biting as well as natural speech. They prevent tooth loss, decay and gum disease.
Children’s bones are malleable and can be corrected at a much faster rate than adults or even teenagers. Getting braces at the age of ten could mean a shorter span of orthodontic treatment than if braces were placed on teeth at age fifteen. Good news indeed!
Metal, or traditional braces are much slimmer and more comfortable than the versions from years past. Treatment is typically one to three years, but each case is unique!
Invisalign is a series of comfortable, mostly invisible custom designed trays that are worn to guide teeth into their ideal position. For some cases they may even work faster than metal braces.
The Age of Wisdom
17-25 years old: The third and final set of molars tend to emerge during this time period that has been referred to as the “Age of Wisdom”–thus giving this particular set of teeth the nickname ‘wisdom teeth’.
Not everyone develops a full set, and not everyone experiences any problems with the way they grow in. Taking preventive measures with periodic dental X-rays to monitor changes below the gum line can help you prepare if your family dentist decides to remove your child’s wisdom teeth due to:
- Damage to neighboring teeth
- Infections, sinus issues, gum disease
Healthy Teeth Begin At Home
Your devotion to your child’s oral health, in combination with the professional services of your family dentist, will keep your child’s teeth and gums happy and healthy for years to come! Paying attention now will keep any bigger dental issues from realizing their full potential!
Ready to get started on a lifetime of happy, healthy teeth? Give Westlake Dental Associates a call today at 805-496-4247. You can also stop by our office to meet our team at 176 Auburn Ct Suite 5, Westlake Village, CA 91362.