Early Dental Care in Fort Smith
A baby's first tooth typically erupts between 6 to 12 months of age. Gums are sore, tender and sometimes irritable until the age of 3. Rubbing sore gums gently with a clean finger, the back of a cold spoon or a cold, wet cloth helps soothe the gums. Teething rings work well, too. While your baby is teething, it is important to monitor the teeth for dull spots (whiter than the tooth surface) or lines caused by the baby’s bottle.
Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Tooth decay in infants can be minimized or totally prevented by not allowing sleeping infants to bottle-feed. Infants who need a bottle to comfortably fall asleep should be given a water-filled bottle or a pacifier.
Infant's New Teeth
Primary (baby) teeth play a crucial role in dental development. Without them, a child cannot chew food properly and has difficulty speaking clearly. Primary teeth are vital to development of the jaws and for guiding permanent teeth into place when they replace the baby teeth around age 6.
Since primary teeth guide the permanent teeth into place, infants with missing primary teeth or infants who prematurely lose primary teeth may require a space maintainer, a device used to hold the natural space open. Without a maintainer, the teeth can tilt toward the empty space and cause permanent teeth to come in crooked.
Infant Tooth Eruption
Some of a child's teeth actually start forming before birth, as early as 4 months of age. The remaining 20 primary teeth typically erupt by age 3. Permanent teeth begin eruption around age 6, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors. This process continues until around age 21. Adults have 28 permanent teeth – 32 including the third molars (wisdom teeth).
Your Child's First Dental Visit
Your child's first dental visit should be scheduled around his/her first birthday. A pleasant, comfortable first visit builds trust and helps put the child at ease during future dental visits.
Good Diet and Healthy Teeth
The teeth, bones and soft tissue of the mouth require a healthy, well-balanced diet. A variety of foods from the five food groups help minimize (and avoid) cavities and other dental problems. Children should receive healthy foods like vegetables, low-fat yogurt and cheeses, which promote strong teeth.
We care for young patients from Greenwood, Sallisaw, Van Buren, Alma and Fort Smith, Arkansas. Call us at (479) 785-1419 or use our convenient Request an Appointment form.