Important Dentistry Milestones in Your Child’s Life
By : Dr. Samson Lee, D.D.S.
Every parent wants to keep their children’s oral health in peak condition, and that means getting quality dental care from the outset. Just like other types of healthcare, there are some important dentistry dates you should observe to achieve this, starting with your little one’s very first appointment with our family dentist in Scarborough.
First Dental Visit
Your child’s first to the dentist is a momentous occasion. It’s essential to find an office that offers pediatric dentistry as a service option, because there are a number of issues affecting kids’ dental care that don’t apply to adults. One of these is the arrival of primary or “baby” teeth, which usually begins between 4 and 6 months of age. This is the best time to bring your baby in for an examination, discuss your family history with the dentist, and to ensure the child has a strong foundation for a healthy mouth later in life.
As the little one’s baby teeth develop, make sure you have the benefits of regular dental check-ups by scheduling a visit every 6 months. Many people don’t realize the importance of keeping the primary teeth in their correct position until they fall out naturally. This is vital for the sound development of permanent teeth, however, because the primaries support the structure of a child’s mouth and help with speech development.
Getting Baby Teeth
Between the ages of 6 and 12 months, most children first get their upper and lower front teeth or central incisors. These are followed by lateral incisors between 10 and 16 months, and the first molars between 13 and 19 months. By 2 years old they should have enough primary teeth for them to be touching each other, and all 20 expected baby teeth should arrive by age 3. Remember, though, that all children are different, and that this can cause these timelines to vary. In addition, girls often develop faster than boys do, and they might both get and lose their baby teeth earlier as a result.
Learning Oral Hygiene
Proper tooth brushing and flossing are critical for lifelong good oral health, and the earlier your child begins learning to do this regularly the better. By the age of 1 year, most children should have undergone at least one visit to our family dentist in Scarborough. You can begin teaching a child at this age to accept a soft bristle toothbrush and to spit out the toothpaste after cleaning. If it’s too soon for toothpaste, brushing even with a little water is a good way to start building sound oral care habits.
Once all the baby teeth have erupted, learning to floss is a useful addition to the daily brushing routine. Encourage your little ones to floss after each meal, even if it isn’t being done as effectively (or regularly) as you’d like. By establishing robust dental hygiene routines early, you can help to prevent dental problems from arising in the future.
Receiving Permanent Teeth
On average, children start losing their baby teeth between 6 and 7 years old, followed by the eruption of the first permanent molars. These are new teeth in that they don’t replace any baby teeth, and that means they are occasionally mistaken for primary teeth. Once these start to erupt, it’s imperative that your child has learned to exercise good dental hygiene, because the molars play an important role in determining the shape of the face and the position—and health—of the other permanent teeth. By age 13, most children have 28 permanent teeth and are only lacking their third molars or wisdom teeth.
At our family dentist in Scarborough, we recommend every child gets an orthodontic check by the age of 7 years. The reason for this is to see whether the child has any potential problems that could cause permanent teeth to erupt in unsuitable positions. At this stage in the natural growth processes. it’s possible to correct issues such as a crossbite or to use an appliance to expand the palate if the child is at risk of tooth overcrowding. If serious conditions like these are left untreated, the child might need oral surgery later to correct them.
The third molars or wisdom teeth usually come in between 17 and 25 years, and often erupt without any problems. We often discover, however, that a patient’s mouth is too crowded for the third molars to develop in the correct position behind the second molars. When this happens, the molars become impacted inside the gum tissue, where they are difficult to reach and clean. This makes them vulnerable to tooth decay and can cause gum disease, bad breath, pain, and swelling. Frequently, wisdom teeth are removed surgically even if they don’t present problems, to avoid issues later in life.
To schedule appointments for every stage of your child’s dental development with an experienced, compassionate family dentist in Scarborough, please call 416-291-3117 or click here to contact us today.