Children meet many milestones as they grow from infancy through childhood. First words, first time sitting up, and first steps are just a few examples. These events become the building blocks that together assemble the experiences of life. Like a mosaic, your child’s unique personality emerges while they tick off each development phase.
The appearance of their first tooth is among these essential milestones. At Garland Grove Dentistry, our mission is to treat every one of your family’s teeth as precious, setting the stage for a lifetime of healthy smiles. But while your dentist makes a vital contribution, parents lead the way. So here are some major milestones and the best way for caregivers to approach each of them.
Before Your Child’s Teeth Have Appeared
Before your child has teeth, they still have gums which we encourage you to treat as their smile’s foundation. We recommend that you gently clean their gums using a soft infant’s washcloth and warm water, especially after breastfeeding. You may also use a soft toothbrush designed for babies. Still, you should avoid fluoridated toothpaste until your child is at least two-years-old to prevent fluorosis, which is enamel damage when fluoride is introduced too early.
In addition to removing plaque-causing bacteria, this gum-cleaning routine acclimates your child to a daily oral health routine and normalizes a person looking into their mouths. This helps build trust, making your child’s first dental visit more comfortable and calm.
You can also take a few other steps to make dental care a part of their everyday life, such as:
- Reading children’s books with positive messages about dentistry
- Showing your child your teeth and how your dentist cares for them
- Introducing them to the dental office environment with a "fun visit"
From Their First Tooth to a Mouthful of Baby Teeth
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that your child has their first official dental visit when their first tooth takes the stage. In most cases, this happens around six to nine months old. We recommend that they visit our dental office for an initial exam and consultation by their first birthday.
Even in these very early stages, our dental expertise allows us to identify any problems that might progress as they grow. We also can make home-care recommendations and offer suggestions that make brushing and flossing fun.
First Permanent Molar and a Growing Mouth
All of your child’s baby teeth should have come in between the ages of eight months and three years. Then by the time they’re seven years old, their first permanent molar appears. This is an important milestone because those initial molars provide a roadmap for the shape of your child’s mouth, allowing us to know if their arches will provide enough space for each permanent tooth to erupt properly.
If we determine that your child’s teeth may suffer problems like crowding or overlapping in the future, then we may suggest their first orthodontist visit. Many dental professionals may recommend braces as early as nine years old because their mouths are more malleable at those ages, allowing for adjustments in their harder bone tissues with less effort.
Children’s Dentistry Services We Provide
The most important thing the Garland Grove Dental team appreciates is your child’s individuality. We tailor their visits to our dentist's office to fit their smile’s specific needs. Because many of their oral health challenges may result from genetics or other factors outside our control, we offer both routine and preventative services for children, including:
- Cleanings, exams, and x-rays – Our dentists do everything they can to make routine visits fun and safe. Our x-rays are kid-friendly and minimize their exposure. In addition, our teeth cleaning procedures rid their mouths of any plaque that may hide in hard-to-reach areas. These routine cleanings, exams, and x-rays help us identify any issues while they’re minor so that we can provide your child with the best treatment available.
- Preventative dental care – For children whose teeth may be more susceptible to decay and damage for various factors, we provide treatments that offer extra protection. For example, we may use fluoride varnish to help strengthen their tooth enamel through remineralization or a dental sealant that leaves a safe layer of polymer that repels plaque, especially in the deep grooves of their molars.
- Patient and parent education – Dr. Jung always shares his expert tips on how to make your child’s smile remain clean and strong as they grow. In addition, we will ensure that you can help them brush and floss effectively and that you understand how diet impacts teeth.
Children’s Dental Visits in Garland, TX
Is your child ready for their first dental visit, or does your teen need a routine check-up? Look no further than Garland Grove Dentistry to cater to your child's dentistry needs. We love helping kids reach their full smile potential and building long-lasting relationships with families in our community.