Pediatric Dentistry in Lafayette, IN
Pediatric dentistry is dentistry focused on the care of children and adolescents. We understand the special needs of children and create a comfortable environment for them. We have televisions in our treatment rooms so that they can watch cartoons and a treasure chest filled with prizes. Bringing young children to the dentist helps them become more comfortable and have less fear as an adult Most of our pediatric patients are excited to come to the dentist!
We enjoy showing kids how to take care of their teeth and review brushing and flossing techniques with them and their parents regularly. It is recommended that parents help their children with brushing and flossing until they are about eight years old.
We begin cleaning and placing fluoride on children's teeth around the age of three. Annual radiographic exams with bitewing xrays to check for decay generally are initiated around four to five years of age. This often depends on the behavior of the child and their comfort level at the dentist. Young infants can also be scheduled for a consultation and exam with the dentist, prior to reaching three years of age and having their teeth cleaned. The optimal time for this visit is around six months of age when the child first baby teeth are appearing. At this visit the dentist explains to the parents how to properly care for the baby's teeth and reviews important information such as: fluoride exposure, the normal sequence of tooth eruption, diet considerations, and the transmission of oral bacteria from parents to children. For your convenience, the information that is generally reviewed with parents at this visit is described below.
Caring for your Baby’s Teeth
- A child’s primary teeth (also called “baby teeth”) are very important. They help children chew their food, aid in speech development, and hold the space for the permanent teeth that are developing below the gums.
- The first primary teeth generally appear between six and twelve months of age. Most children have a full set of primary teeth by three years of age. Children will begin to lose their primary teeth around age six and most children will lose all of their primary teeth by age twelve.
- When the teeth first come in the baby’s gums may be sore. Gently rubbing the gums with a clean finger, wet gauze, or giving them a clean teething ring to chew on may be soothing.
- Brushing should begin when the baby’s first teeth begin to appear. Decay can begin as soon as the teeth erupt into the mouth. For children under three years of age brushing should be done with a child size toothbrush and a very small smear of fluoride toothpaste (no more than the size of a BB). A larger amount of fluoride toothpaste can be used once the child is able to spit out the toothpaste following brushing. It is very important to make sure that young children are not swallowing more than a small smear of fluoridated toothpaste, as damage to their developing teeth can result.
- Fluoride exposure through drinking water is important during tooth development. Most city water is optimized to have the correct level of fluoride to develop strong, healthy teeth. If your child mostly consumes well water you can have the fluoride content tested to determine if fluoride supplementation is necessary. Purified water with fluoride added at the optimum level (usually called nursery water) can be purchased as most grocery stores. It is recommended that you use purified nursery water with optimal fluoride levels when mixing your child's formula. Once your child reaches the age at which they are no longer consuming formula, they should regularly drink either city water or purified nursery water to ensure they are getting the fluoride they need for the development of strong healthy permanent teeth.
- The bacteria that cause dental decay are transmitted from the primary caregivers (usually the mother and father) at the time of the eruption of the first teeth. Generally transmission occurs through sharing eating utensils. This is a natural process. In order to promote the transmission of healthy bacteria to your child, the primary caregivers should pay close attention to maintaining optimum oral health.
General Diet Guidelines for Infants and Young Children
- Infants should finish their nighttime and naptime bottle before going to bed.
- Pacifiers should never be dipped in sugar or honey.
- Children should not be given lemon slices to chew on.
- Children should drink water and milk.
- Limit juice drinks to no more than a few per week.
- Avoid giving your children soft drinks.
- Limit candy and non-nutritious sugars such as fruit snacks.