When a baby tooth is lost too early, the permanent teeth can drift into the empty space and make it difficult for other adult teeth to find room when they come in. This can make teeth crooked or crowded. That’s why starting infants off with good oral care can help protect their teeth for decades to come. The ADA recommends that parents take children to a dentist no later than their first birthday and then at intervals recommended by their dentist.
Your child’s baby teeth are at risk for decay as soon as they first appear—which is typically around age 6 months. In some cases, infants and toddlers experience decay so severe that their teeth cannot be saved and need to be removed.
The good news is that tooth decay is preventable! Most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth by the time they are 3-years-old. As your child grows, their jaws also grow, making room for their permanent teeth.
Cleaning Your Child’s Teeth
- When your child’s teeth begin to come in, brush them gently with a child-size toothbrush and water. A baby’s front four teeth usually push through the gums at about 6 months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months.
- For children older than 2, brush their teeth with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Be sure they spit out the toothpaste.
- Until you’re comfortable that your child can brush on his or her own, continue to brush your child’s teeth twice a day with a child-size toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. When your child has two teeth that touch, you should begin flossing their teeth daily.
Teething is one of the first rituals of life. Although newborns usually have no visible teeth, most baby teeth begin to appear generally about six months after birth. During the first few years of your child’s life, all 20 baby teeth will push through the gums and most children will have their full set of these teeth in place by age 3.
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources, including oceans, rivers and lakes. Fluoride is also added to some community tap water, toothpastes and mouth rinses. Infants and toddlers who do not receive an adequate amount of fluoride may be at an increased risk for tooth decay since fluoride helps make tooth enamel more resistant to decay. It also helps repair weakened enamel.
First Dental Visit
As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, it’s time to schedule a dental visit. The ADA recommends that the first dental visit take place within six months after the first tooth appears, but no later than a child’s first birthday. Don’t wait for them to start school or until there’s an emergency. Get your child comfortable today with good mouth healthy habits.
Although the first visit is mainly for the dentist to examine your child’s mouth and to check growth and development, it’s also about your child being comfortable. To make the visit positive:
- Consider making a morning appointment when children tend to be rested and cooperative.
- Keep any anxiety or concerns you have to yourself. Children can pick up on your emotions, so emphasize the positive.
- Never use a dental visit as a punishment or threat.
- Never bribe your child.
- Talk with your child about visiting the dentist.
During this visit, you can expect the dentist to:
- Inspect for cavities, oral injuries or other problems.
- Let you know if your child is at risk of developing tooth decay.
- Clean your child’s teeth and provide tips for daily care.
- Discuss treatment, if needed, and schedule the next check-up.
Teeth vary in size, shape and their location in the jaw. These differences enable teeth to work together to help you chew, speak and smile. They also help give your face its shape and form. They are then shed at various times throughout childhood. By age 21, all 32 of the permanent teeth have usually erupted. Below are some charts to help you track the changes and progress in your child’s mouth.
Primary Teeth Eruption Chart
Permanent Teeth Eruption Chart
Teeth grinding can be caused not just by stress and anxiety but by sleep disorders, an abnormal bite or teeth that are missing or crooked. The symptoms of teeth grinding include:
- dull headaches
- jaw soreness
- teeth that are painful or loose
- fractured teeth
If stress is the cause you need to find a way to relax. Meditation, counseling and exercise can all help reduce stress and anxiety. Grinding or Clenching technical term is called bruxism, and often it happens as you sleep. Not to worry Bruxism is a common problem and can be treated.
We may have a solution.
One option is an Occlusal Splint
We can fit you with an occlusal splint to protect your teeth during sleep. The benefit is to reduce the tooth wear that may accompany grinding. Splints may also reduce muscle strain by allowing the upper and lower jaw to move easily with respect to each other. Treatment goals are to constrain the bruxing pattern to avoid damage to the TM Joint by aiming to stabilize the occlusion.
Another option is a partial splint.
The (NTI-TSS) dental guard. This splint sits onto the upper front teeth only. It is theorized to prevent tissue damages primarily by reducing the bite force from attempts to close the jaw normally into a forward twisting of the lower front teeth. The intent is for the brain to interpret the nerve sensations as undesirable, automatically and subconsciously reducing clenching force.
YOUR SMILE IS YOURS OR LIFE, BE PROUD OF IT!
Everybody loves a bright white smile, and there are a variety of products and procedures available to help you improve the look of yours. Many people are satisfied with the sparkle they get from daily oral hygiene and regular cleanings at your dentist’s office, but if you decide you would like to go beyond this to make your smile look brighter, you should investigate all of your whitening options.
Start by speaking with your dentist. He or she can tell you whether whitening procedures would be suitable for you. If you have had bonding or tooth-colored fillings placed in your front teeth the bleach will not affect the color of these materials, and they will stand out in your newly whitened smile. You may want to investigate other options, like porcelain veneers or dental bonding.
Here at Northern Beaches Dental we recommend the at-home bleaching technique.
Peroxide-containing whiteners actually bleach the tooth enamel. They typically come in a gel and are placed in a specially made lightweight bleaching tray. There are potential side effects, such as increased sensitivity or gum irritation. Once you have completed the days recommended by your Dentist, your smile will be much brighter. Then every few months you can top up the brightness of your smile at your own discretion.
Why visit the Dentist every six to twelve months?
Your smile is yours for life. Be proud of it.
At Northern beaches dental we are in the business of creating beautiful smiles that last a lifetime. This includes your oral hygiene.
Our resident Dental team advise all patients to visit the clinic every 6 to 12 months for a routine check-up and clean. This includes an extended exam of your mouth, clean, scale and polish of your teeth and gums.
Dental cleanings involve removing plaque (soft, sticky, bacteria infested film) and tartar (calculus) deposits that have built up on the teeth over time. Your teeth are continually bathed in saliva which contains calcium and other substances which help strengthen and protect the teeth. While this is a good thing, it also means that we tend to get a build-up of calcium deposits on the teeth. This chalky substance will eventually build up over time, like limescale in a pipe or kettle. Usually it is tooth coloured and can easily be mistaken as part of the teeth, but it also can vary from brown to black in colour.
If the calculus (tartar, as dentists like to call it) is allowed to accumulate on the teeth it will unfortunately provide the right conditions for bacteria to thrive next to the gums. The purpose of the cleaning and polishing is basically to leave the surfaces of the teeth clean and smooth so that bacteria are unable to stick to them and you have a better chance of keeping the teeth clean during your regular home care.
The professional cleaning of teeth is sometimes referred to as prophylaxis. It’s a Greek word which means “to prevent beforehand” – in this case, it helps prevent gum disease.
Is it going to be painful?
Most people find that cleanings are painless, and find the sensations described above – tickling vibrations, the cooling mist of water, and the feeling of pressure during “scraping” – do not cause discomfort. A lot of people even report that they enjoy cleanings and the lovely smooth feel of their teeth afterwards! There may be odd zingy sensations, but many people don’t mind as they only last a nanosecond.
Be sure to let your dentist/hygienist know if you find things are getting too uncomfortable for your liking. They can recommend various options to make the cleaning more enjoyable.
Painful cleaning experiences can be caused by a number of things: a rough dentist or hygienist, exposed dentine (not dangerous, but can make cleanings unpleasant), or sore gum tissues.
What will happen if I don’t visit often?
There are many issues that can arise with not having your routine check-ups that you may not be able to detect on your own. These can be:
Cavities (tooth decay)
A cavity is when holes form in parts of the enamel of a tooth. A main cause of cavities is due to a build-up of plaque. The bacteria in the plaque react with sugars and starches in food to form acids. The acids are kept next to the teeth by the sticky plaque and dissolve the tooth enamel. If you have tooth decay you may need fillings, crowns or inlays.
Gum disease (periodontal disease)
Gum disease means infection or inflammation of the tissues that surround the teeth. Most cases of gum disease are plaque-related. Plaque contains many different types of bacteria and a build-up of some types of bacteria is associated with developing gum disease.
Depending on the severity, gum disease is generally divided into two types – gingivitis and periodontitis:
- Gingivitis means inflammation of the gums. There are various types. However, most cases of gingivitis are caused by plaque.
- Periodontitis occurs if gingivitis becomes worse and progresses to involve the tissue that joins the teeth to the gums (the periodontal membrane).
Gum disease is the most common cause of loose teeth and tooth loss in adults. It is also a main cause of bad breath (halitosis). However, gum disease is often treatable.
Oral Cancer Screening
With ant form of cancer it is best to catch it early. At your Routine check-ups we check for early signs of Oral Cancer in the mouth.
These are a few reasons why it is important to visit your Dentist regularly. Now you know why we recommend coming back for your check-ups!
Dentures are a great modern dental device to replace missing teeth, but did you know that ancient “dentists” were using animal teeth to create decorative dentures more than four thousand years ago?
Skeletal remains were discovered in the volcanic highlands of West-Central Mexico (which is the oldest known burial site in Mesoamerica) and date between 2570 B.C. and 2322 B.C. These remains were remarkable as it appears that the man had undergone ancient dentistry to have an animal tooth denture attached!
Scientists discovered that the bottom row of teeth were worn down to normal levels, but the upper front teeth were intentionally filed down to make room for the denture, perhaps that of a jaguar or wolf. The individual was 28 – 32 years old when he died, and contrary to what the rugged environment he lived in would require, he lived a sedentary life – indicating that he was cared for as a ceremonial leader of some sort.
His teeth were filed down over a long period of time to accommodate a ceremonial denture that would have been inserted into the upper jaw. Spending many hours with the dentist – without the aid of anaesthetic, the patient would have experienced excruciating pain as his teeth were filed down to the nub – exposing the pulp cavities.
This drastic historic dental makeover may have generated an infection in the tooth pulp – leading to the patient’s death.
Fortunately at Northern Beaches Dental, we practice modern dentistry – and offer a range of anaesthetic options to make your dental visit as painless and comfortable as possible. We will never, ever, install a denture made from jaguar or wolf – we guarantee it!