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Pediatric Dental FAQs

Dr. Cortes loves working with children, part of which includes putting you, the parent, at ease. The following questions are among the most frequently asked by parents, and Dr. Cortes has just the answers you need.

When Will My Child Get Her or His First Baby Tooth?
Your baby is born with all 20 teeth below their gumline. The first teeth to make an appearance are usually the front lower incisors at around five to eight months old. Your baby will continue to cut teeth until the second molars come in some time between 20 and 30 months.

The FDA recommends against using numbing gels or homeopathic teething tablets, so to make teething more comfortable for your baby, be sure to keep clean teething rings on hand.

When Will She or He Get Permanent Teeth?
You can start taking those pictures of your adorable toothless child at around six or seven years old when their primary lower incisors fall out to make room for their first two adult teeth. Generally, the permanent teeth will erupt in the same order that your child’s baby teeth made an appearance. No need to worry about pain management, though; kids are far too excited about the Tooth Fairy to be concerned with mild discomfort. Hopefully, you can stop setting aside a lost-teeth fund long before the third molars (Wisdom Teeth) show up between 17 and 21 years of age.

How Should I Brush My Child’s Teeth?
Help your child develop healthy dental habits from the beginning by brushing their teeth as soon as they come in. The ideal tool for young children is a small, soft, round head on a battery operated or electric toothbrush. Make brushing fun for your little one by involving them in choosing a fun brush that they look forward to using. If you brush with your child’s head in your lap, you’ll have easier access to to those hard-to-reach back teeth. Let your child help you select a toothpaste made for kids in a flavor that they’ll enjoy, then use a pea-sized amount of paste when it’s time to brush. The ideal toothpaste is an ADA approved toothpaste with fluoride, but if you’re concerned about fluoride ingestion, then use a fluoride-free toothpaste until your child has learned to spit out the toothpaste when he or she is finished brushing.

Your child will need to start flossing as soon as he or she has two or more teeth that touch. Flossing before brushing helps to loosen up the plaque and food between teeth, making it easier for a toothbrush to remove later. If flossing back teeth is difficult, try using a dental flosser with a long handle.

How Often Should I Bring My Child For a Professional Dental Cleaning?
The ADA recommends that you bring your baby in for her or his first visit within six months of the appearance of their first baby tooth. Initial visits serve two purposes: to allow your dentist to examine the growth and development of your child’s mouth and to help your child become comfortable with going to the dentist and establishing healthy dental habits.

To make sure dental appointments are a positive experience, try scheduling appointments when your child is well-rested. You can also avoid undue anxiety by making sure that you are calm, as kids tend to pick up on the emotions of their parents and other trusted adults. Finally, consider helping your child see that going to the dentist is no big deal by allowing them to watch you have your teeth counted by their dentist or maybe even taking them with you to your own dental appointments.

What Are Dental Sealants? Are They Toxic? Why Are They Important?
Dental sealants are thin, plastic barriers that protect the chewing surfaces of your children’s teeth from cavities by sealing out plaque and food. They are easy and painless to apply and, despite being made from plastic, are completely safe. In fact, there is more BPA in the air we breathe than in the material used to make sealants. In addition to proper dental care at home and regular trips to the dentist, sealants are yet another way to help your children stay away from the dental drill.

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