Imperial Dental Associates, PC | Dental Care for Baby in Westport

   Marilyn Geni DMD | Pamela Karkut DMD

 15 Imperial Ave | Westport, CT 06880 | 203.227.2520

Dental Care for Baby
 

Dental Care for Baby
 

Q. When should my child first see a dentist?
A: “First visit by first birthday” sums it up. Your child should visit a pediatric dentist when the first tooth comes in, usually between 6 and 12 months of age. This visit will establish a dental home for your child. Early examination and preventive care will protect your child’s smile now and in the future.

Q. Why so early? What dental problems could a baby have?
A: The most important reason is to begin a thorough prevention program. Dental problems can begin early. A big concern is Early Childhood Caries (formerly known as baby bottle tooth decay or nursing caries). Once a child’s diet includes anything besides breast-milk, erupted teeth are at risk for decay. The earlier the dental visit, the better the chance of preventing dental problems. Children with healthy teeth chew food easily and smile with confidence. Start your child now on a lifetime of good dental habits.

Q. How can I prevent tooth decay from nursing or using a bottle?
A: At-will breast-feeding should be avoided after the first primary (baby) teeth begin to erupt and other sources of nutrition have been introduced. Children should not fall asleep with a bottle containing anything other than water. Drinking juice from a bottle should be avoided. Fruit juice should only be offered in a cup with meals or at snack time.

Q. When should bottle-feeding be stopped?

A: Children should be weaned from the bottle at 12-14 months of age.

Q. Should I worry about thumb and finger sucking?
A: Thumb sucking is perfectly normal for infants; many stop by age 2. Prolonged thumb sucking can create crooked teeth or bite problems. If the habit continues beyond age 3, a professional evaluation is recommended. Your pediatric dentist will be glad to suggest ways to address a prolonged thumb sucking habit.

Q. When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?
A: The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Use a “smear” of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child less than 2 years of age. For the 2-5 year old, dispense a “pea-size” amount of toothpaste and perform or assist your child’s tooth brushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively.

Q. Any advice on teething?

A: From six months to age 3, your child may have tender gums when teeth erupt. Many children like a clean teething ring, cool spoon or cold wet washcloth. Some parents swear by a chilled ring; others simply rub the baby’s gums with a clean finger.

“American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry – AAPD Publications.” American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry -. Web. 26 May 2010. http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/babycare.asp.

When your child needs urgent dental treatment, your pediatric dentist stands ready to help. Please keep the emergency number available and convenient.


Q: What should I do if my child’s baby tooth is knocked out?

A: Contact your pediatric dentist as soon as possible. The baby tooth should not be replanted because of the potential for subsequent damage to the developing permanent tooth.

Q: What should I do if my child’s permanent tooth is knocked out?

A: Find the tooth and rinse it gently in cool water. (Do not scrub or clean it with soap — use only water!) If possible, replace the tooth in the socket immediately and hold it there with clean gauze or a wash cloth. If you can’t put the tooth back in the socket, place the tooth in a clean container with cold milk, saliva or water. Get to the pediatric dental office immediately. (Call the emergency number if it’s after hours.) The faster you act, the better your chances of saving the tooth.

Q: What if a tooth is chipped or fractured?

A: Contact your pediatric dentist immediately. Quick action can save the tooth, prevent infection and reduce the need for extensive dental treatment. Rinse the mouth with water and apply cold compresses to reduce swelling if the lip also was injured. If you can find the broken tooth fragment, place it in cold milk or water and bring it with you to the dental office.

Q: What about a severe blow to the head or jaw fracture?

A: You need immediate medical attention. A severe head injury can be life-threatening. Keep in mind that an emergency medical team might be able to reach you faster than you can get to the hospital.

Q: What if my child has a toothache?

A: Call your pediatric dentist and visit the office promptly. To comfort your child, rinse the mouth with water. Over-the-counter children’s pain medication, dosed according to your child’s weight and age, might ease the symptoms. You may apply a cold compress or ice wrapped in a cloth to the face in the area of the pain, but do not put heat or aspirin on the sore area.

Q: Can dental injuries be prevented?

A: Your child’s risk for dental injuries can be reduced greatly by following a few simple suggestions. First, reduce risk for severe oral injury in sports by wearing protective gear, including a mouthguard. Second, always use a car seat for young children and require seat belts for everyone else in the car. Third, child-proof your home to prevent falls and electrical injuries. Regular dental check-ups provide your dentist an opportunity to discuss additional age-appropriate preventive strategies with your child.

“American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry – AAPD Publications.” American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry -. Web. <http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/ecare.asp>.
 
 
 
Westport Dentist | Dental Care for Baby. Marilyn Geni is a Westport Dentist.

Imperial Dental Associates PC | 15 Imperial Ave | Westport, CT 06880 | 203-227-2520