Gentle dental care for kids near West Covina, CA creates healthy, beautiful smiles for life
Gentle Care Dentistry lives up to its name; Dr. Brianne Luu and her team provide comfortable care to even the youngest patients in a setting that feels like home. Kids Dental Care Near West Covina, CA at the Azusa office ideally starts early. Dr. Luu (or Dr. Brianne, as the kids call her) generally follows guidelines recommended by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry; parents and caregivers are encouraged to schedule baby’s first visit as soon as a tooth comes in (or before his or her first birthday).
Generally, the central incisors in the lower jaw are the first teeth to appear. These flat, thin front teeth usually erupt after around six months. The upper front teeth are the next to erupt, typically a few months later when a baby is between 8 and 12 months old. A general estimate is around four teeth break through the gums every six months. By your child’s second or third birthday, all of these primary teeth should be visible. In another 12 to 24 months, as your child’s jaw and facial bones develop, spaces form between the baby teeth.
While baby teeth may not be permanent, they are still important. In addition to reserving space for their larger, counterparts.
- Provide the structure that contributes to your child’s attractive appearance
- Guide permanent teeth into proper position, avoiding misalignment or bite-related problems that may require orthodontic care
- Aid in proper, clear pronunciation of words
- Allow appropriate development of jawbones and muscles
- Support the good nutrition that is critical to overall early childhood development
- Position permanent teeth for lasting health
Early childhood caries, decay, and tooth loss make it difficult to chew comfortably. Children may reject certain foods and their nutritional needs may be compromised. Decayed or infected baby teeth can cause discoloration on the permanent teeth developing beneath them. Permanent teeth generally begin to appear after about six years. You may notice first molars or incisors before any other permanent teeth. Until around 12 years of age, your child’s mouth will have a mix of baby and permanent teeth. By the time he or she is a teenager, most of your child’s 28 teeth will have appeared. Wisdom teeth typically erupt between ages 17 to 21, for a total of 32 teeth.
Gentle Care Dentistry keeps teeth healthy and beautiful with proactive, friendly visits that are teaching opportunities for both parent/caregiver and child. When children are very young, visits are focused on getting them comfortable with Dr. Brianne, her staff, the office atmosphere, and the idea of going to the dentist! A comfortable child becomes an adult who is confident about keeping the six-month check-ups and cleanings necessary for lifelong health. Research has shown that negative experiences at the dentist’s office in early childhood is a key predictor of dental anxiety, fear, and phobia among adult patients. Dr. Brianne and the team love to use positive reinforcement, and reward fun toys for a great visit – and as a way for your children to look forward to seeing their friends at the dentist’s office even more!
The dental team demonstrates ways for you to maintain your child’s health. Suggestions evolve as your child reaches new developmental milestones and as motor skills evolve. During those earliest appointments, Gentle Care Dentistry will share healthy habits and explain those to avoid and show caregivers proper techniques to clean young gums, such as:
- Gums should be cleaned with either a soft-bristled infant brush or with a moist cloth.
- A small smear of toothpaste should be applied to a soft, baby brush twice daily as soon as teeth appear; a pea-sized amount of paste is adequate for children aged three to six.
- Monitor your children’s brushing, and assist as needed. Make sure they’re brushing effectively and aren’t eating or swallowing toothpaste!
- Avoid baby bottle decay, which is another way of referring to early childhood caries caused by caregivers pacifying babies with bottles full of milk, sugary juices, or other drinks that contain sugars. These sugars combine with bacteria in your baby’s mouth to create acids that damage developing teeth and gums.
- Dr. Luu and her staff can provide recommendations if your child persistently and forcefully sucks pacifiers, thumbs, fingers, or other objects. Many children grow out of this habit by around two to four years of age; however, prolonged and intense sucking can have lasting developmental consequences for your child. Front teeth may tip outward or erupt at an angle.
- Dr. Luu is experienced with early intervention and appliances to prevent or reduce the need for orthodontic treatment such as braces later on.
- Other preventive treatments may include the application of dental sealants. These protective plastic coverings can be applied to molars as soon as they begin to erupt in your child’s mouth. Sealants prevent food from becoming trapped in pits and grooved surfaces. They’re easy-to-apply, affordable as a preventive service, and effective; the American Dental Association reports sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of tooth decay by almost 80%.
Health is very much a family affair. Gentle Care Dentistry encourages all caregivers to keep up with their routine exams and cleanings. Caregivers can pass harmful bacteria on to babies by sharing spoons or moistening pacifiers with saliva. Likewise, expectant mothers who have advanced gum disease are at increased risk of having premature or low birth-weight babies, and hormonal changes during pregnancy can make women more susceptible to gum inflammation and disease. Several studies have also connected poor diets/nutrition and poor oral hygiene in the first two years of life to tooth decay in later life. So, it’s important to establish the foundation for a healthy lifestyle and good home care early by being a good role model. Effective brushing, flossing, and stocking up on tooth-friendly foods and drinks; for instance, encourage your children to eat their fruit and not drink it. Lots of fruit juices are loaded with sugars – the enemy of a healthy smile.
Establishing a dental home away from home at Gentle Care Dentistry is a great start to lifelong oral and overall health. Call +1 626-466-9596 to schedule your child’s visit with Dr. Luu.