Children's Dentist in Jacksonville
At North Jacksonville Complete Dentistry, we welcome the entire family. In fact, we understand that pediatric dentistry is the most predictable form of preventative oral healthcare. We have found that dentistry for children is often significantly misunderstood. As a result, we have created a pediatric dentistry educational page below. As always, if you have questions or would like to request an appointment for anyone in the family, you can contact us.
Why is Pediatric Dentistry Important?
Traditionally, children didn't visit the dentist unless they had a problem. A tooth begins to hurt and they visit the dentist to have it removed. Today we understand that this thought process is full of problems for the long-term. Dentistry for children is extremely important for a few reasons. First, the dentist is a specialist in oral health. This doesn't just mean the teeth. When a pediatric patient visits our office, Dr. Johnson or Dr. Baxter evaluate the entire chewing system, the head and neck, and monitor development.
Simple exams allow us to ensure that there are no abnormalities or pathology with our pediatric patients. Second, we can evaluate the eruption patterns and growth of each child to ensure that all is developing like it should. Often problems that are caught early can save significant amounts of time, effort, and money.
When Should My Child First Visit the Dentist?
The American Dental Association suggests "first visit by first birthday". Some parents would ask why this would be recommended. After all, the mouth certainly is not full of teeth at this point. Early dental visits accomplish several things. First, it allows the child to begin a relationship with the dentist. Second, it allows our doctors to educate parents on oral health methods, growth, and development. Third, it allows us to ensure that there are no problems developing.
Are the Baby Teeth Important?
Traditionally, many parents would disregard the baby teeth. We have heard "they are only temporary" many times over the years. The fact is that the primary (baby) teeth should be properly treated for several reasons. First, establishing good oral hygiene care is incredibly important for the future. Good routines should be taught early so the child understands the importance of oral health. Second, the primary teeth hold space for the permanent teeth. If a primary tooth falls out too early, the permanent tooth could come in too early, too late, or in the wrong place. Often we see orthodontics necessary to correct problems that originated from improper care of the baby teeth.
When Should I Begin Brushing My Child's Teeth?
Brushing should actually begin before the teeth come in. The mouth is a complex environment. This environment is a home for a myriad of bacteria. This bacteria doesn't just attach to teeth. A child's gums should be cleaned with a soft cloth prior to tooth eruption. Once the teeth begin to erupt, that same soft cloth should clean the them twice daily. An ADA recommended pediatric soft toothbrush can also be used.
Toothpaste should be used on children's teeth; however, it is important to note that the amounts should be carefully regulated. Fluoride is a terrific protectant for the teeth but in excessive amounts can cause problems with bones and mineralized tooth structure. Therefore a small pea sized (or smaller) amount of toothpaste should be used. It is also important to keep fluoridated toothpaste out of the reach of children.
We welcome new patients and questions at any time. Feel free to call or email us!