Watching your child successfully go through various growth and development milestones in their early years is one of the most satisfying aspects of being a parent. Your guidance and support are vital during this crucial and formative time in their life. Responsible parents recognize the importance of dental care as a key part of their overall development and prioritize it to help their child achieve optimal oral health.
You want to be able to navigate through important dental milestones in the best possible way without making any mistakes. Guaranteeing high-quality dental care at every important milestone from a trusted Plano family dentist can help ensure that your kid’s growing years are full of health and happiness.
What Are Dental Milestones?
Dental milestones refer to the stages and events concerning dental health experienced by a person during their lifetime; otherwise called their dental journey. Dental milestones in relation to children refer to various stages from the appearance of their first teeth, all the way to the acquisition of permanent teeth, and wisdom teeth.
As a parent, it is crucial to ensure that your child has proper oral care during the early stages of their life as this can solidify their future oral health. The first dental stage, in short, is the most important.
It’s necessary for parents to take good care of their child’s dental health. This starts by finding an experienced and capable family dental practice in your area. Children are prone to favoring foods that are not just unhealthy, but also plaque forming. You can teach them good dental hygiene practices and discipline at home. It is also recommended that you take them to the dentist for regular visits. Choose the best Plano family dental office for preventive dentistry for your kids with David Wilhite DDS.
Choosing your family dentist can quite possibly be the most important step you take as a parent for maintaining your child’s dental health and preventing oral issues at a later stage in their life. With consistent care, your children will be at a reduced risk of experiencing dental problems in the future. The dentist will provide routine exams and services during the preventive dental care appointment. Remember that dental emergencies occur when you least expect them and periodic visits to the dental office for your child can minimize the risks.
Important Dental Care Milestones in Children
In this guide, we will look at a few important milestones that children pass through in terms of their oral growth and development. You shouldn’t be too concerned if your kids don’t immediately show changes in their teeth. Every child has their own unique growth cycle and there is not much you can do to speed things up. You should not delay visiting a family dentist if you start to notice any dental difficulties.
Milestone 1 – Teething
Teething or the appearance of baby teeth takes place when the child grows in their first teeth (also called primary teeth or milk teeth). Typically, this occurs before the baby hits the 1-year mark. In certain cases, the first teeth may appear as early as 3 months. The bottom front teeth are usually the first to appear, followed by the top front teeth. Canines and molars are next, which may occur after a delay or simultaneously.
Teething is a painful time for babies and often involves a lot of crying, screaming, and crankiness. It’s common for kids to refuse beverages and food at this stage because of the pain. Children often try to relieve the pressure on their gums by chewing on something.
Thumb sucking is a coping mechanism that many children turn into a habit. It starts as a way of relieving pressure in the gums during teething and can become a comfort when they are feeling stressed. Beware, though, because the development of the jaw and palate may be affected in severe cases of thumb sucking due to the added pressure.
A certain degree of thumb-sucking is considered normal. However, you need to make sure that you check in with your family dentist during your routine visit to monitor the behavior and their dental development.
Milestone 2 – Oral Hygiene
You should start a disciplined brushing routine in your toddler once the first tooth shows up. This will help in developing better oral habits later.
Milestone 3 – Losing the First Tooth
Your child will lose their first tooth at the age of five or six, which is an exciting time. The first tooth loss paves the way for permanent adult teeth. You can always play the tooth fairy card in order to make the experience more fun for them. Baby teeth will continue falling out over the course of the next few years until they are about 10–12 years old.
Teeth can fall out naturally or because of an impact. You can prevent a baby tooth from coming out before its time by ensuring your child always wears a mouthguard when playing team sports. Most kids lose their baby teeth between 5–12 years of age. However, the exact timeline will vary for each child.
Refrain from pulling out a tooth that becomes loose. Instead, you should ask your child to use a tissue or clean finger to gently wiggle it. The tooth will come out whenever it’s ready. Yanking out teeth before they are ready can damage your child’s gums. It can also cause unnecessary bleeding and trauma. In severe cases, it may potentially harm the underlying permanent tooth.
Milestone 4 – Eruption of All Adult Teeth
Permanent adult teeth will start replacing baby teeth as they fall out. This is not as painful as a baby’s teething stage. Baby teeth essentially act as placeholders for underlying adult teeth. Your child should ideally have a set of 28 permanent teeth by the age of 13. There will be no wisdom teeth at this stage.
You may want to consider braces during this time. Speak with your family dentist once your child has a full set of adult teeth. Misaligned teeth are far too common because of genetic reasons. Misaligned jaw and overcrowding are just a few issues that can create gaps between teeth and make them crooked. Some children may experience pain in their jaw because of a crossbite or overbite.
Once the adult teeth are all in, it’s a perfect opportunity for investing in braces. Your child’s teeth will look great for years to come if you invest in braces and follow the orthodontist’s advice. This is the time when most of your child’s peers will have braces, which makes it less socially awkward for them. This is also a good time as younger children are more likely to form healthy oral habits, such as wearing a retainer and flossing as compared to older kids.
You should consider speaking with an experienced family dentist like David Wilhite DDS about getting braces for your child if their teeth are misaligned or crooked. It’s best to choose a dentist who is equipped to offer the best in dental technology from dental fillings to dental sealants to orthodontic solutions, and more.
Milestone 5 – Wisdom Teeth
The arrival of wisdom teeth is usually the last dental milestone for a child. These are back molars that typically pop in between the ages of 16 and 24. These extra teeth were useful to early humans to replace any teeth they may have lost over the years. With that said, they are largely unnecessary in modern times.
Wisdom teeth often cause overcrowding and pain in the mouth. They may result in dental emergencies as well if not timely removed. Your child may have anywhere from 0 to 4 of these late-bloomers. Dentists largely recommend removing them, but it depends on the angle and position of each tooth.
You may place your child at an increased risk of overcrowding and other dental problems if you don’t have their wisdom teeth removed. Licensed dentists don’t usually have a problem getting rid of these molars. You should refer to your family dentist for preventive care and advice if your child begins experiencing dental pain because of these late-blooming molars.
Importance of Early Dental Care through Each Milestone
Early comprehensive dental care is vital for forming and maintaining oral health in children. Parents and caregivers should establish diligent dental care habits during infancy and continue them into adolescence and adulthood.
The American Dental Association recommends that quality dental care and regular checkups begin when the teeth are grown.
The health of milk teeth plays a major role in how permanent teeth emerge as your child grows older. These are a few key benefits of early dental care:
Helps Develop Good Oral Habits at an Early Stage
You can help your child preserve their permanent teeth by establishing basic oral hygiene through flossing, mouthwash gargling, and teeth brushing. In a sense, milk teeth are practice teeth. The habits your child develops while young could mean the success of their oral health when they are older. Children’s dental care should begin at an early age so that they can learn how to take care of their temporary teeth and then permanent ones.
Ensures a Healthy and Bright Smile
Your child should keep their primary teeth healthy and prevent decay by brushing and flossing every day. Routine visits for children’s dental care will also help in ensuring that primary teeth are kept as healthy as possible. Your child will get a boost of confidence from knowing they have good oral health and a nice smile.
Prevents the Occurrence of Gum Disease
Gum disease or gingivitis can develop at any age. You don’t want the gum line of your kids to get infected before permanent teeth start to appear. Gingivitis and periodontitis can occur at an early age if food particles remain stuck around chewing surfaces in absence of proper oral hygiene. This will cause bacterial pockets to form and may result in loose teeth.
Children’s dental health is not the same as adult dental health. Continuing regular visits to your family dentist are essential. You should be comfortable taking your child to the dental office for all their dental needs. This can be for routine checkups or even emergency appointments.
Prevention and education depend on early visits. During a routine appointment, a comprehensive oral examination and thorough cleaning will be performed by the dentist and dental hygienist. Topical fluoride treatment and prophylaxis will be provided if necessary. The dental provider will also perform an assessment for evaluating the risk of decay and will provide treatment and preventive strategies if tooth decay is found.
Visiting a Dentist for the First Time
One of the greatest joys of parenting is watching your children go through a lifetime of firsts. Taking your kids for their first dental treatment or visit can be one such joy. Scheduling regular checkups in young children is a great way of preventing cavities and decay at a young age.
Tooth decay is a common chronic disease affecting children in the US. More than half of American kids require some form of dental work treatment plan before age 8, as per the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Child oral health is a pressing nationwide issue. You need to make your child feels comfortable visiting the dentist. This is best done when you introduce them to a true professional that understands the dental needs of the entire family.
You can also use the opportunity to discuss dental milestones with the dentist. You can ask about potential future concerns, such as dental treatments for a misaligned jaw, a bad bite, or a fractured tooth.
Importance of Your Child’s Visits to a Family Dentist
You can take your kid to any general dentist practicing family dentistry. You should visit David Wilhite DDS, a Plano dentist you can trust and where you and your child will be comfortable with the dentist and office staff.
The growing teeth play a vital role in the formation of permanent teeth. It will have an impact on your child’s smile, speech, and oral development and a dentist can check that the teeth is growing healthily.
Your child will have their baby teeth until around their sixth birthday. This is when permanent teeth will begin coming in and baby teeth start falling out. Unfortunately, most kids have accumulated a build-up of juices, soda, sugary foods, and milk that settles on the gums by this age.
Cavity and tooth decay in baby teeth can harm the foundation of healthy teeth. You should try and ensure that your kids have a healthy diet and regular teeth cleanings through brushing and flossing. Proper dental hygiene makes sure that underlying teeth are free of decay and can prevent the need for emergency dentistry.
Preparing the Child for the First Visit
You should prepare your child for their first visit to the dentist in Plano, TX to make it a more positive experience. Here are some tips:
- Remain positive: Your kids will pick up on your anxiety and reservations. You should remain upbeat and relaxed during the appointment. Let the kids know that the dentist is their friend and someone they can trust.
- Brush before the visit: Another way to prepare is to have your kids brush their teeth and gums. This will ready them to see the dentist while reinforcing the value of optimal oral health. It will also make it easier for the hygienist to examine them.
- Reduce nervousness: Let your children know what they can anticipate to help in reducing their nervousness. Toddlers are curious by nature and will want to see the dentist for the first time if they know a bit about what will happen.
You may want to bring along a few toys if your child finds new experiences frightening. You can bring their favorite books to read during the wait time. Staff at the front desk should be adept at making younger patients feel less apprehensive.
Maintaining Good Dental Hygiene Starts Early
Babies can get cavities, meaning you need to start good dental hygiene habits right away if you want their teeth to stay healthy. Generally, teething begins at the 3–6 month mark. This is when the child will also have inflamed or red gums. You can rub the gums gently with a cold damp cloth, or give them a chilled teething ring or cold compress to soothe the gums.
Cleaning the gums after every feeding can be an early way of starting your baby on good dental hygiene. Baby teeth are critical even though they will eventually fall out. You should take care of them like permanent teeth. You can continue massaging the gums after the first tooth emerges and should regularly check for cavities by looking for spots on the teeth.
Do Baby Teeth Really Matter?
Primary, baby, or milk teeth fulfill the following vital roles:
- Help the baby smile, speak, and chew.
- Hold space in the jaw to let permanent teeth grow beneath the gums.
- Facilitates healthy chewing, which strengthens jaw muscles and prevents bone loss.
Primary teeth play an essential and unique role as the child grows. The baby tooth acts as a placeholder for permanent teeth. Baby teeth are not enough to accommodate the size and extent of an adult jaw. If the primary tooth gets knocked out accidentally or removed because of a cavity, it will cease to act as a placeholder. Permanent teeth may not grow in the proper manner if any babyteeth are removed.
It may also cause overcrowding concerns in the child’s mouth and the shifting of teeth. Early detection by a dentist may prevent any areas of concern from developing. Clearly, you need to make sure that you take care of their primary teeth in the same way as you would their adult teeth.
Proper dental visits to a great family dental practice for baby teeth care is necessary to prevent cavities and other issues from developing.
Schedule Your Child’s Dental Appointment in the North Dallas Area Today
The experienced and compassionate team at the office of Dr. David Wilhite DDS will make it their goal to help your child feel safe and welcome. We have the necessary experience required to detect any early problems and provide preventive dental treatments for your child.
From giving a friendly tour of the facility to completing a thorough oral health exam and professional teeth cleaning, we will do everything your child requires for a healthy and happy visit to our Plano family dental practice. Call us at 972-964-3774 or fill out our online form to schedule an appointment and take the first vital step towards ensuring your child’s excellent dental health.