Dentistry for Children
We love working with all of our young patients and know that they have different needs when going to the dentist. We never try to push kids so they end up nervous about the dentist’s office. We would like their appointment to be as enjoyable and comfortable as it can be, and for them to develop life-long relationships with our dental office.
We encourage parents of small children to bring the child to the parents’ scheduled dental appointment. By doing so, the little on can see how things go during the appointment and become familiar with our staff and office. They can even take a fun ride in the dental chair
We also suggest that your child’s first visit be no later than 24 months of age. At this age, we will start to observe the growth and progression of their teeth.
When New Teeth Arrive
Your child’s first tooth erupts between the ages of 6-12 months and the remainder of their 20 primary, or “baby” teeth, typically erupt by age three. During this time gums may feel tender and sore, causing your child to feel irritable. To help alleviate this discomfort, we recommend that you soothe the gums by rubbing a clean finger or a cool, wet cloth across them. You may also choose to make use of a teething ring.
Your child’s primary teeth are shed at various times throughout childhood, and their permanent teeth begin erupting at age six and continue until age 21. Adults have 28 permanent teeth, or 32 including wisdom teeth.
“Happy Smiles” Pre-School Visit
Prevent any fears of the dentist by bringing your child in for their own special appointment where your child will get acquainted with Dr. Wolf and the team. We love introducing your child to the basic sights and sounds of a checkup appointment. Our children’s hygienist connects with kids easily, and through her charisma and humor, she will show them that going to the dentist can be fun!
BRACES? In Pre-School?
Most parents of young children didn’t have braces when they were teenagers. In fact, if they saw an orthodontist it was because their teeth were really crowded and crooked. Braces were too expensive for some families. However, it was usually because their parents didn’t think that their teeth were misaligned enough for orthodontic treatment, and their dentist didn’t raise the issue unless the parents asked about braces.
When today’s parents were young, if you had crowded teeth dentists simply pulled a few permanent teeth. Of course, looking back, we figured out that doing so was a disaster in the making.
Only in the last decade or so did we learn about the chronic oral health consequences of malocclusion (a mismatched bite). Orthodontic dentistry isn’t just for making a teenager’s teeth look straight and pretty anymore. There is much more than that to worry about. Misalignment and malocclusion can bring on chronic headaches and full-blown migraines. A misaligned bite can cause ringing in the ears and vertigo (dizziness). Completely healthy teeth can start to chip and wear away, producing a ragged-edged smile.
Worst of all, malocclusion usually isn’t something a parent can necessarily see. It lurks in the background, continuously exerting strain and pressure on the jaw joint, the teeth, and the chewing muscles.
There are some real benefits in starting orthodontic treatment when children are much younger. The children usually don’t have to wear braces for a long period of time during those awkward teenage years. It is also much easier to expand the palate and allow room for all of the adult teeth to have the proper growing space. In most of those cases, young children will not get braces, however they will have their palates expanded by an appliance. This will make their arches wider. It allows space in the mouth for all of the child’s adult teeth to properly grow.
Our office in Alpena has developed relationships with some excellent orthodontists in the area and we can refer you and your child to an orthodontist if an exam reveals crowded or crooked teeth, or issues with the palate. We can help you choose the best orthodontist that meets the needs and temperament of your child.
Didn’t Fluoride Eradicate Cavities in the 60’s?
Scientists in the 1960’s found that fluoride helped build a stronger defense against the teeth’s enemies like bacteria, acids, and sweets. And, yes, when fluoride was added to a city’s drinking water, the incidence of cavities dropped sharply. It was even predicted that there would come a time when we wouldn’t need dentists anymore.
However, the scientists of the 60’s didn’t include the devastating effects of sugary drinks and candy in their calculations. There is no way they could have foreseen that the average teenager would now eat their own weight in refined sugar every year. And, finally, even those scientists with a dark pessimistic vision of the 21st century couldn’t imagine the power that high-fructose corn syrup would wield against fluoride, regular toothpaste, and even daily flossing.
Tips For Your Family’s Oral Health
- Limit frequency of meals and snacks
- Encourage brushing, flossing, and rinsing
- Monitor what your child drinks
- Avoid giving your child sticky foods
- Make treats part of meals
- Choose nutritious snacks
Ideal dental hygiene in your home is really important and needs to start at a rather young age. We take the time to instruct parents and kids on good brushing and flossing techniques to enable them to enjoy great dental health for life.