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Common Questions About Pediatric Dentistry

When do baby teeth come in or start to fall out?

Your baby’s first teeth most likely to erupt will be his or her lower front teeth. These central incisors come in around the age of 6-10 months. However, it is also considered normal for infants to begin teething as early as 3-4 months or as late as one year. The dentists and hygienists at Grand Dental have provided this chart to show the typical eruption and exfoliation (shedding) dates of baby teeth.

Although this is the classic flow for eruption and exfoliation, it is not uncommon that children’s teeth may not follow this chart exactly. Variances are acceptable and not usually cause for alarm. If teeth are delayed by several months, parents should seek the advice of a general or pediatric dentist. More than likely, the delay is normal, but in some cases, the dentist will recommend that the child consult with an orthodontist. If adult teeth begin to erupt behind or in front of baby teeth that are still in the mouth, parents should also have their dentist examine their child.

When should my child start seeing a dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that parents take their child to the dentist upon the eruption of their first tooth or by age 1, whichever comes first. Your dentist will use this appointment to review your child’s dental hygiene, discuss dietary concerns, review bottle and sippy cup use, and plan for a future of proactive dental care. These early appointments are meant establish healthy habits and eliminate the fear and anxiety that the dental office can spark. Many times, children are not actually seen for treatment, such as a cleaning and x-rays, until they are 2-5 years old. Children who wait too long to see a dentist often already have large cavities and evidence of infection in their mouths. To avoid unexpected dental problems in your child, Grand Dental recommends that you see a dentist no later than 2-3 years of age.

Should my child see a pediatric dentist?

Pediatric dentistry involves dentists who have additional education and training specifically in the needs of babies, toddlers, children, and teens. General dentists may also see children, but will refer to a pedodontist when a child would be best suited in a specialist’s care. At Grand Dental, we have general dentists and pediatric specialists to care for the entire family. Families can elect to see a pedodontist until adulthood, or transfer to a general dentist at any time during childhood, if the dentist and family are both comfortable with the transition.

When should my child see an orthodontist?

Today, the American Academy of Orthodontists and Aim Orthodontics recommend that children have their first consultation between the ages of 7-9. As new techniques in orthodontic therapy have evolved, children are starting care at a younger age. Orthodontists are using children’s growth spurts to encourage teeth to move and shift earlier, in an effort to avoid surgeries or more extensive treatment. Orthodontic treatment is often separated into two phases now, with the first phase often starting during elementary school and the latter treatment completing during middle school or junior high. Children with a family history of braces, who thumb suck, or who show signs of crowded teeth, gaps, overbites or underbites, would benefit from treatment. When in doubt, ask your child’s dentist if and when an orthodontic consultation is indicated.

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