Children and Dentistry


     {Dr. Carver's children}

When should a child first see a dentist?

The ADA recommends that children see the dentist at one year of age or as soon as possible if blackened teeth or trauma has occurred. I recommend that children come at age 1 with a parent or guardian to become familiar with the dental setting and tools.  This is also a great opportunity to educate caregivers about the proper way to care for primary teeth.  A child’s full dentition consists of 20 teeth, 8 molars, 4 canines, and 8 anterior teeth.

When should a child’s first tooth erupt?

The first teeth that erupt are the lower front teeth around 6 months of age.  The lower front teeth are followed by the upper front teeth then molars, by age 2.  However, all children are different and it is not uncommon for a child to have a tooth as early as 2 months and as late at 1 year.

When can my child use regular toothpaste?

Children under the age of six should be closely monitored while brushing their teeth.  Too little fluoride can weaken teeth, but too much fluoride is more detrimental causing pitting, discoloration and increased risk of caries.  Discuss the use of fluoride drops with your dentist and pediatrician.  Infants mouths should be cleaned with wet gauze and no toothpaste. Toothpaste is not recommended for children under age 2 and then the toothpaste should not contain fluoride until the child is able to expectorate fully.  Only place a pea sized amount of toothpaste with children who will not swallow the paste.  Children must be monitored until they are at least 10 years of age. It is the parent's responsibility to ensure that children are brushing thoroughly which means for at least 2 minutes twice a day.

Should my child floss?

Once all the primary teeth have erupted and they are touching, the parent should begin flossing the child's teeth.  Don’t worry that your child can't floss porperly on their own. It is important that they are introduced to the idea so that is becomes an integral part of their oral hygiene at an early age.

My child fell and his tooth came out.  What do I do?

If a tooth gets knocked out or becomes loose due to trauma it is important to call the doctor right away.  A baby tooth can not be reimplanted so no treatment is required.  A permanent tooth should be immediately replaced into the socket if possible. See the section on common dental complaints for more detailed instructions. 

Does my child need braces? Early intervention

The bite of a child can determine whether or not the child will need braces.  It is normal and healthy for the child to have large spaces between the front teeth.  This ensures that there is plenty of room for the larger permanent teeth to grow in.  If the child has a crossbite or extreme crowding, they will be referred to an orthodontist for early intervention.  By catching these problems early, the later course of braces can be abbreviated.

Does my child need sealants?

It is my opinion that all first and second molars should be sealed once they are fully erupted.  We do not use sealants with BPA.  It is important to note that sealants only protect the biting surface of teeth not in between so flossing is still crucial to prevent cavities.