Dental Health for Children

Q: When should my child have his or her first visit to Peterson Dental?

A: Make an appointment for a brief, introductory visit as soon as their first tooth comes in. This visit only takes about 10 minutes. Dr. Peterson will check your child’s baby teeth to make sure everything is progressing normally. As a parent, it’s important to know that your child’s teeth are progressing as they should be. Plus, this simple visit is easy for children.

We make every effort to ensure this first visit is fun and enjoyable, so that visiting the dentist is a pleasure and not a chore for you as your child grows up. At the end of this visit, Dr. Peterson will determine when we should schedule the first dental cleaning.

Q: Do I have to brush my child’s baby teeth? They’ll lose them soon anyway, so it doesn’t matter too much, right?

A: Oral care should start soon after your child is born because damage to baby teeth can also damage the adult tooth forming underneath it. Baby teeth also act like place holders, ensuring that adult teeth come in, in the right places.

After feeding, clean your child’s gums using gauze or a clean, damp cloth. As soon as your child’s teeth appear, often around four months after birth, they should be brushed every day. Use a soft, wet toothbrush and a peas-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. If you’re not sure what type of toothpaste to purchase, give us a call at (205) 699-1155 and we’ll help you pick the right one.

Q: Should my child get sealants?

A: Every child should have sealants placed on the occlusial (biting) side of their teeth. It is a plastic coating that is painted onto the grooved, hard to reach surfaces of the back teeth. Pits and fissures on these surfaces are particularly susceptible to tooth decay. Sealants hold up to the force of chewing and help protect teeth for about five years. During regular dental visits, your child’s sealants will be examined and reapplied if necessary. 

If you have insurance, sealants are usually covered for children up to a certain age. If you don’t have insurance, we encourage you to consider sealants as an investment. Sealants often prevent cavities on the biting surface of teeth, saving you money in the long run. We highly recommend sealants to all children at Peterson Dental to prevent cavities.

Q: My child is afraid of going to the dentist. What should I do?

A: Oftentimes our children are afraid of things that we as parents are afraid of. Consider scheduling a “getting to know you” visit where you and your child take a tour of the office, meet the dentist and learn about what will happen at your child’s first dental visit. There’s no reason to fear the unknown if you know exactly what to expect!

At Peterson Dental, our goal is to make you feel as comfortable and relaxed as possible. We make going to the dentist fun for kids by staying positive and sharing a few belly laughs. We’ll put the TV on their favorite show or play music. (We do this for adults, too!) Plus, children who are good during their dental visit often receive a surprise!

Q: What is nursing bottle mouth?

A: Nursing-bottle mouth, also known as baby bottle tooth decay or baby bottle syndrome, can cause a baby’s front teeth to rapidly decay, which can lead to a lifetime of dental difficulties. Preventing nursing bottle mouth is easy: If you give your baby a bottle at nap or bed time, simply fill it with plain water rather than formula, milk or juice. Never let your child fall asleep with a bottle filled with a liquid other than water.

Check your child's teeth for brown spots near the gums which are a warning sign for tooth decay. If you notice anything unusual, give us a call at (205) 699-1155.

More Reading: Preventing Cavities - At Home