Make Sure Your Little One’s Smile Stays Healthy | Hoboken Dentist

New parents typically have no shortage of questions they must answer when dealing with their child’s “firsts”. Pediatric dentistry is no exception – there are a number of “firsts” for children as it relates to their teeth, and navigating them effectively is key to setting the foundation for good oral health for their children.

The first question for new parents is typically when they should expect the first teeth. The two lower front teeth should erupt around 6 months of age, followed by the two upper center teeth. The remaining will appear in no predictable order – but all 20 baby teeth should be present by 3 years of age.

The next natural question is typically when the parent should schedule their child’s first dentist appointment. You should make sure the first appointment is within 6 months of the first tooth appearing, but definitely before the child’s first birthday. The first visit is typically a checkup to look for signs of decay, check the bite, and look for problems in the gums, jaw, and tissues within the mouth. The dentist will take this opportunity to provide guidance on topics such as brushing, fluoride, teething, and problems like thumb sucking.

Just like adults need to brush twice a day, parents also need to brush the teeth of young children. Your child’s first toothbrush should be a soft-bristled brush with a small head (age appropriate size). As an infant, you should clean the gums with a soft brush and water. Once teeth appear, start brushing twice a day with non-fluoride toothpaste; once your child can spit, you can transition to fluoride toothpaste.

To learn more about pediatric dentistry, call Dr. Flynne Weingarten at Dental Associates of Hoboken at 201-795-2111. Also visit the website at http://www.hobokenpediatricdentistry.com.

X-rays: Aids to Your Child’s Dental Health | Hoboken Dentistry

X-rays are valuable diagnostic tools dentists may use to help evaluate your child’s teeth. There is no official standard time in which your child’s mouth should be x-rayed, as this varies with the child’s development and dental health. If your child has had many x-rays, your dentist may suggest getting one done every six months in order to track progress. There are five types of x-rays that your dentist may use for your child depending on the goal:

Bitewing x-rays (also called cavity-detecting x-rays). These x-rays are used to view the areas between teeth that cannot be seen directly to check for cavities, but needed only after the teeth in the back of the mouth are contacting each other.

Periapical x-rays. The x-rays also will show the supporting bone structure of the teeth. This type of X-ray lets the dentist see a child’s permanent teeth growing below the baby teeth, and to look for abscesses and gum disease.

Panoramic x-rays. These x-rays are used to view all of the teeth on one film, used if a child has hurt his or her face, has orthodontic problems, or is mentally or physically disabled. Also helpful for children who gag easily or who have small mouths.

Occlusal x-rays. These are used to view most of the upper or lower teeth on one film. This is useful when the dentist does not have a panoramic x-ray machine.

Orthodontic x-rays (also called cephalometric or lateral skull). This type of x-ray is used to evaluate growth of the jaws and the relationship of bones in the skull to make an accurate diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.