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Why are baby teeth important?
Healthy primary teeth allow your child to chew food properly and learn to speak clearly. From a dental perspective, primary teeth act as placeholders in the jaw for the developing permanent teeth. Should a primary tooth come out prematurely, neighboring teeth may move into the empty space. Then when permanent teeth start to grow, there may not be enough space in the mouth. If this is the case, the teeth may become crooked or crowded. Our dentists will watch your child's dental progress and recommend any necessary preventive treatments.

When should I take my child to see the dentist?
We recommended bringing your child to see a dentist by their first birthday. Being seen at an early age allows our dentists to help prevent any problems. Our dentists will check for decay and other issues, teach your child how to properly clean their teeth, identify fluoride needs, and provide nutritional guidance during the cavity prone years of development.

When will my baby start getting teeth?
Generally the two lower front teeth (central incisors) erupt around six months of age, followed shortly by the two upper central incisors. During the next 18 to 24 months, the rest of the baby teeth appear, although not in orderly sequence from front to back. Your child's 20 primary teeth should be present at two to three years of age. However, every child is different and these are averages. Some children get their teeth earlier and some later.

Do I need to clean my baby's mouth if there are no teeth yet?
Yes! You should start cleaning your baby's mouth during the first few days after birth. After every feeding, wipe the baby's gums with a damp washcloth or gauze pad to remove plaque. This establishes at an early age the importance of oral hygiene and the feel of having clean teeth and gums.

Can babies get cavities?
Yes. Once teeth appear in the mouth, decay can occur. Babies are at risk to a form of decay known as bottle rot, which is also known as early childhood decay. Childhood decay can occur when an infant is allowed to nurse continuously or given a bottle of milk, formula, sugar liquids, such as fruit juices during naps or at night. These liquids will "pool" around the child's teeth during sleep, allowing the teeth to be attacked by acids for long periods of time, resulting in significant tooth decay. If you decide to give your baby a bottle for comfort at bedtime, make sure it contains only water.

When should my children be able to brush their own teeth effectively?
Depending on the child, parents should expect to help their child brush their teeth until age 6 to 9 years of age. Studies have found that children do not have the dexterity skills required or ability to brush their own teeth to prevent tooth decay until that age.

Are sealants really necessary?
Yes. Teeth in the back of the mouth (molars and bicuspids) usually develop deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces. These deep pits are harder to clean even with diligent brushing, because a single toothbrush bristle is too large to get into these grooves. Plaque then has time to grow out of reach of daily cleaning. By using sealants, these grooves are filled with an acrylic-like material which hardens and prevents food and plaque from embedding in these pits, which in turn decreases the risk of decay.

What should I do if my child's permanent tooth is knocked out?
Find the tooth and rinse it gently in cool water. Please, do NOT scrub it or clean it with soap or other abrasive materials. If you are able to, replace the tooth in the socket and hold it there with a clean gauze or wash cloth. If you can't put the tooth back in the socket, place it in a clean container with milk, saliva, or water. Then get to one of our locations as soon as possible. The faster you act the better your chances are of saving the tooth.