Pediatric Dentistry and Children’s Dentistry
Dr. Nugent sees children in his office and loves working with children. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry your child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears or no later than his/her first birthday. Having the child in the room watching Mom, Dad, or an older sibling helps ease the apprehension of the child.
Dr. Nugent understands that your children are the most precious things to you. He feels the same way about his daughters. Dr. Nugent works on his daughters and will ONLY work and recommend treatment on your children if he would do the same thing on his kids. This is a video of Dr. Nugent taking his daughter Katherine’s baby tooth as the adult tooth was coming in behind the baby tooth and the baby tooth was not loose.
Why are Baby teeth so Important?
Baby teeth (primary teeth) are very important in the health of your child. Parents need to play an active role and care of their child’s teeth. (See article on children’s toothpaste) It is imperative to maintain the health of the primary teeth.
Functions of Baby Teeth:
- Baby teeth are essential for proper chewing, eating and nutrition.
- Baby teeth hold the space for the adult teeth and help guide the adult teeth into position.
- Baby teeth allow for normal development of muscles and the jaw bone.
- Baby teeth are necessary for proper speech development.
Untreated cavities on baby teeth can cause pain and affect developing adult teeth. The front four teeth will last until six or seven years of age and the back teeth are not replaced by adult teeth till ages ten through thirteen years of age.
Dental Care for Your Baby
Baby teeth are just as important as adult teeth. Maintaining a good daily dental hygiene routine will help ensure a lifetime of healthy teeth. The care your child’s baby teeth will impact the state of their permanent “adult” teeth.
Avoid putting baby to bed with a bottle, sippy cup or while breastfeeding. These habits can cause cavities when your baby has teeth especially if milk, formula, juice, or other sweetened liquid is used. While your baby is breastfeeding, wipe the teeth with a damp washcloth as soon as your baby falls asleep and stops sucking.
Baby’s First Teeth
Baby teeth normally come in around 6 months starting with the front four teeth. Don’t be alarmed if they haven’t erupted yet as every child is different. Dr. Nugent’s second daughter did not get her first teeth until she was almost one years old. Most often, all of the primary baby teeth are normally in by age three.
As the child grows so does their jawbone, making more room for the permanent adult teeth. Adult teeth first begin to appear around age 6 with their back molars erupt. Most children have the majority of their adult teeth (except wisdom teeth) in by age 14.
Cleaning Your Child’s Teeth
When baby teeth begin to emerge, regular cleaning is vitally important. After feedings, wipe your baby’s gums with a clean wet washcloth to help remove plaque. Establish a routine of cleaning the mouth of your baby. Next, start a habit of brushing twice a day when the first molar tooth comes in. Brushing three times would be awesome. Use only a soft-bristled toothbrushes designed for babies with water or a very small amount of non-fluoridated toothpaste. Toothpaste containing fluoride should ONLY be used when your child can spit.
It is normal for a baby to fuss while brushing their teeth. Be calm and methodical while continuing to give proper care to your child’s teeth. If you child refuses to let you brush their teeth then you MUST give them the loving headlock. Dr. Nugent’s kids fused when they were toddlers about not wanting to brush. Dr. Nugent simply told his girls ” easy way or hard way”. Dr. Nugent used his left hand to initiate the headlock and used his right hand to brush. If your child is screaming so what. It is 1) you duty as a parent to prevent your child from having disease and health problems 2) if they are screaming it is easier to brush their teeth. It is WAY better to make sure your child has clean teeth then for your child to have to experience the pain of a cavity.
Begin flossing when the teeth begin to touch one another to help prevent cavities between the teeth. Dr. Nugent recommends the little plastic pre-threaded floss holders for little kids. Dr. Nugent will floss his daughters teeth then gives the floss to his daughters so they can practice. Flossing is a difficult skill. Therefore, parents need to help floss their child.
Your Child’s First Dentist Visit