Your Windham Area Pediatric Dentists
At Standish Family Dental Health, we believe that dental health is an important priority for the whole family. Our doctors and highly trained team of dental specialists work hard to provide the highest quality dental care possible in a fun, friendly environment, and we strive to develop an individual relationship with each one of our patients. Pediatric dental care is vital to the proper growth and development of the teeth and smile, and at Standish Family Dental Health, we'll be there for your child at every step of the way.
Teeth actually start forming before birth, but usually, the first tooth will erupt between 6 and 12 months of age. Teething can be a difficult time for children - your child may experience sore, tender, and irritable gums from the eruption of the first tooth until around age three. To relieve discomfort, try gently rubbing sore gums with a clean finger, the back of a cold spoon, or a cold washcloth. Teething rings can also be helpful, but be sure to avoid teething biscuits, and they have sugars that can damage baby teeth.
During the teething period, it's vital to watch for signs of baby bottle decay. Examine teeth every two weeks for dull spots or lines, which will appear as whiter than the surrounding tooth surface, and pay special attention to the inside of the teeth. Never leave a bottle containing anything other than water in an infant's mouth while sleeping, as this can exacerbate decay. Whenever a child drinks a liquid containing sugar, naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth break down the sugar to form acids that attack tooth enamel. While awake, saliva carries the acids away, but during sleep, salivary production decreases and the acids can collect on the teeth for longer periods, sometimes causing serious damage.
Although they do eventually fall out, the primary (or "baby") teeth are vital to your child's dental development. They allow a child to chew food properly, help a child learn to speak, and are critical to the proper development of the jaws and for guiding permanent (secondary) teeth into the correct place. Furthermore, primary teeth allow children to form strong oral hygiene habits early one, something critical for a healthy, beautiful, long-lasting smile. Treat your child's primary teeth just like you would their permanent teeth - teach them to properly brush, floss, and care for their teeth from a young age.
If your child prematurely loses a tooth or has missing primary teeth, they may need a space maintainer to hold the space in open and ensure proper dental development. Without a maintainer, teeth can tilt into the empty space, causing crowding once the permanent teeth erupt around age 6. If your child is missing a tooth, be sure to mention it to us, and be sure to bring your child in to see us for dental appointments and check-ups on a regular basis.
The First Visit
One of the most common questions we hear from parents is when their child should come for their first visit. We love this question, as it shows parents are thinking ahead about their child's dental health - something very important for healthy teeth! We ask that your child's first appointment be around their first birthday. While we may not need to treat anything at this point, this visit will allow us to get to know your child and build a relationship to ensure that subsequent visits are fun and easy instead of stressful. Dental appointments can be a source of anxiety for children, so we encourage you to talk about how they’re feeling about the appointment and accompany them in the exam room. We want to make your child feel as safe and comfortable as possible!
You Are What You Eat
We're sure you know how important a healthy diet is to general health, but did you know that your teeth rely on a healthy diet as well? Teeth are highly susceptible to damage from sugary, acidic, or carbohydrate-heavy foods, so avoid things like soda, candy, and chips. A balanced diet with a variety of healthy foods helps to avoid dental decay and gum disease, so we encourage you to feed your child a healthy diet and teach them about the importance of good nutrition.
Contact Your Windham, ME Family Dentists
Have any more questions about your or your child's dental health? We're here to answer them. Feel free to reach out to us at our contact page or use our easy online form to schedule an appointment at our Standish, ME practice. We can't wait to hear from you, and we hope you found this page helpful in caring for your child's healthy, beautiful smile!