Growth and Development
As your child grows and develops physically, so does their mouth. Teeth come in, are lost, and come in again. At the same time, your child’s ability to care for their own teeth is developing.
Not every child develops the same, but there are certain milestones that we can watch for. One of the biggest benefits of seeing a pediatric dentist is that we have received special training in children’s dental development and we have a good knowledge of what’s “normal” and what bears closer observation.
If Dr. Bret notices something concerning, he will bring it to your attention, let you know his concerns, and guide you through any treatment options, if needed. In some cases, no treatment is needed immediately, but we will want to monitor the situation in case treatment is needed in the future.
Birth to One Year – Let’s Get Started!
Dr. Bret agrees with the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry that says a child’s initial visit to a dentist should happen when their first tooth erupts or when they celebrate their first birthday.
This early visit is more of a “meet and greet” session and is a good opportunity to establish care, meet Dr. Bret, ask any questions or address any concerns you might have, and learn techniques for taking care of your child’s teeth as they come in.
One to Three Years – New Teeth, New Smile
By the time your child reaches the age of three, all of their primary teeth are probably erupted. Your child will also have become curious and interested in the office and what happens. We’ll take advantage of this curiosity and introduce your child to different instruments in a “show and tell” format that takes away the mystery and fear of the unknown.
We’ll also start involving your child in their care and show you how you can help your child develop good home care habits. These years are so important for developing habits that will stick with your child for a lifetime and showing kids that the dental office is an interesting and safe place to be.
Ages Six to Twelve – Time for the Tooth Fairy!
By now, your child has started losing primary teeth and growing in permanent teeth. During this stage, we’ll be watching carefully for a few things, especially to make sure that your child’s new permanent teeth are healthy and that there is enough room for the permanent teeth to come in correctly and with good alignment. If needed, this may be the stage when we begin discussing orthodontic care.
Ages Thirteen and Up – Building Independence
Your child is a teenager! This is always an exciting time of life. Your child is learning to be independent and developing the skills that will guide them through adulthood. Braces might be in store for your child if there are alignment or occlusal (bite) issues that need to be addressed, and we’ll be keeping an eye out to make sure that good self-care is happening.
In the later teenage years, we’ll also be watching for the third molars (or wisdom teeth) to come in. While many people develop third molars without a problem, these teeth frequently become impacted, which can lead to problems with decay or infection.
Call to Schedule Your Child’s Appointment
No matter what stage of development your child is currently in, it’s never too late to establish great dental care! Call today to schedule an appointment at our Decatur pediatric dental office. We’re looking forward to meeting you!