The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends kids see the dentist about six months after they get their first tooth or by their first birthday. We know during the joys of teething, the dentist is probably the last thing on your mind but starting early can help to avoid potentially major problems, teach kids all about good oral hygiene and set the stage for a lifetime of excellent oral health.
You can start right away before your infant has teeth and wipe the gums with a warm washcloth after feedings. Once teeth erupt, you’ll want to use a soft toothbrush with a small head designed specifically for infants. Brush twice a day to prevent tooth decay.
Pediatric dentists are like the pediatricians of the tooth world. Dr. Paddy, Dr. Roger and Dr. Meredith completed two additional years of training to specialize in treating infants, children and teens, including those with special needs. A pediatric dentist knows all about the ins and outs of a child’s specific dental care needs and how to communicate with kids to make them feel comfortable.
Dr. Paddy is a Board Certified Pediatric Dentist. After getting his bachelor’s degree at Hobart College, he went to dental school at the University of Maryland College of Dental Surgery. He didn’t stop there though. He continued on for two more years of schooling in pediatric dentistry at New York University and was trained at Bellevue Hospital in growth and development, orthodontics, hospital dentistry, sedation and general anesthesia. He also trained at RFK Center for the treatment of children with developmental disabilities and the Hassenfeld Center of Hematology and Oncology.
Primary teeth, or “baby” teeth, will eventually fall out to make way for the big, bad permanent teeth. However, they’re important in their own right. They help kids speak clearly, chew properly and they save space for the permanent teeth to come in. Plus, having a healthy smile will helps with self-confidence and kids can feel secure in the way they look.
Sucking on the thumb or pacifier usually only causes problems when it continues for a long period of time. Most kids will stop on their own. If they don’t and they’re older than three-years-old, we’ll sometimes recommend ways to intervene. Prolonged, intense pacifier or thumb sucking can cause issues with the bite and jaw growth.
Baby bottle tooth decay is usually associated with prolonged nursing. Once a baby’s teeth erupt you should try not to nurse them to sleep or allow them to sleep with anything but water in their bottle. When they fall asleep, there isn’t as much spit flowing to clean the mouth. Schedule that initial visit with us by their first birthday and we’ll be sure to check for early childhood caries and other issues.
Once your child joins Team Awesome, don’t be surprised if they want to drop by Kids Mile High all of the time! However, they’ll only need to have a check-up every six months unless we have concerns that require more frequent visits.
As soon as their first tooth erupts you’ll want to use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush their baby teeth twice a day. When they’re three to six-years-old, increase it to a pea-sized amount. Even once your kiddo starts brushing on their own, you’ll want to supervise them to make sure they spit out the excess toothpaste when they’re done.
Broccoli only! Just kidding. A well-rounded diet, which includes fruits and vegetables, lean protein, complex carbohydrates and dairy, will do the trick. Limit fruit juices, soft drinks and sugary or starchy foods to help prevent tooth decay.
Sealants are like force fields. We fill in the crevices on the teeth with the clear sealants, particularly on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, to block out food particles and plaque, which lessens the risk of tooth decay. Sealants can last for years and applying them is simple and painless.
We’ll help you evaluate your child’s fluoride intake and find the perfect balance. Too much fluoride can cause fluorosis, which leads to white specks on the permanent teeth, and too little fluoride is a recipe for tooth decay. If your child isn’t getting enough from drinking water, we’ll guide you towards alternative sources.
Yup. In fact, dental x-rays are safer than untreated tooth decay. We only take x-rays when absolutely necessary, use all precautions and follow the recommendations set forth by the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. We use low-dose digital x-rays to provide the best possible imaging with the lowest amount of radiation.
Mouthguards are the way to go. Sadly, mouthguards aren’t required in a lot of sports even though there’s a high potential for injury (ahem, basketball). At Kids Mile High we’re an authorized provider of Under Armour Performance Mouthwear and we can create a custom mouthguard for your child to protect their teeth.