When Should We See Your Child?

When you have a newborn, there’s so much going on that you worry about dotting all of the i’s and crossing all of the t’s. From vaccination timelines to development milestones, we can all wonder if we’re forgetting some things.

One of those is dental care for your newborn.

At Gentle Dental, we take care of the smiles of entire families from Edison, South Plainfield, Metuchen, and other nearby areas. When a newborn comes along there can be a question when he or she should join the parade for dental exams and cleanings.

It’s wise to be proactive because numerous studies have shown that early patterns of dental care in children are followed for life as the child ages, eventually sticking with them into adulthood. Good home hygiene and seeing our Gentle Dental dentists is a smart start on a lifetime of great dental health.

Here are some tips about your child’s teeth from Gentle Dental.

Kids and their teeth

Taking care of children’s teeth demands some additional skills beyond pure dentistry, but Drs. Strober, Messer, and Butkofski have made pediatric dental care one area of focus of our practice.

There’s an art to pediatric dentistry, acknowledging a child’s misgivings about going to the dentist, while at the same time performing the evaluations needed. We believe that a large part of our role is also educational, showing children the value of proper dental care along with the nuts and bolts of how to do it. Of course, if early intervention is needed to correct dental problems, we take care of that, too.

When should I schedule my child’s first visit?

Going to the dentist is the last thing some parents think of. First off, their child only has a tooth or two. Second, aren’t they baby teeth that fall out anyway? The American Dental Association recommends children see the dentist for the first time around the time their first tooth erupts. This is usually before their first birthday. As with adults, the ADA also recommends that children see their dentist every six months to achieve optimal dental health. This may seem like overkill, but it’s important at this time to develop the patterns of care. Plus, if there is a problem, we can see it early and decide on the proper course of care.

How should I be cleaning my child’s baby teeth?

Obviously, you’ll be brushing your child’s teeth and gums in the beginning. When you’re cleaning the teeth, you won’t use a regular toothbrush. You need a specifically designed soft-bristled infant toothbrush. With this soft toothbrush, you will brush the baby’s teeth and gums once a day. This will prevent the buildup of bacteria and plaque that can lead to cavities.

How much of a problem is thumb sucking?

Thumb sucking and pacifier sucking are normal self-comforting behaviors in very small children. But if allowed to continue for too long, they can lead to dental problems. Normally, children grow out of these habits on their own, but if the thumb sucking persists until your child is three years old, we may recommend the use of a mouth appliance to counter this problem. Continued thumb sucking will lead to orthodontic issues, so it’s better to stop the practice rather than allow it to continue.

Do you have a child at home approaching his or her first birthday? It’s probably about time for us to see him or her at Gentle Dental. Call us at (732) 549-5660 to make your appointment.

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