What to Expect at Different Ages

Q. Prenatal

prenatal, Expectant mothers, pregnant dentalExpectant mothers should visit their dentist for a check-up early in pregnancy.

Mothers with poor oral health may be at a greater risk of passing cavity-causing bacteria to their young children.
Because there is a greater risk of gum problems during pregnancy, mothers should brush regularly with anti-gingivitis toothpaste.  The progression of gum disease (gingivitis) to periodontal disease can increase the risk of pre-term birth and low birth weights infants.
A baby’s teeth start to form during the 7th week of pregnancy.  By birth, all 20 baby teeth and 4 of the permanent teeth have begun calcification in the baby’s jaws.
A nutritious diet and good oral hygiene will help to ensure that the mother’s and baby’s teeth will be healthy.

Q. Eruption of Your Child’s Teeth

A child’s first set of 20 teeth are called baby, primary, or deciduous teeth.  As these teeth fall out, they are replaced by 32 permanent, adult, or secondary teeth.  Both primary and permanent teeth usually erupt (break through the gums) in a specific order, but the timing of eruption can vary by one or more years.

Generally, from about 6 months on, children get four new teeth every 4 months.  Most children have all 20 baby teeth by age 2 ½ to 3 years.  The first permanent teeth, the 6-year molars erupt behind the second baby molars.  This usually happens around the same time the lower front baby incisors are beginning to loosen and fall out.  Most children have lost all baby teeth by the age of 13 years.

Q. Ages 0 to 2 years

babys first toothClean mouth, gums, and tongue with gauze or a washcloth before teeth begin to appear.

Pay special attention to lifting the upper lip when brushing the front teeth, and brush the gum line.
Begin visiting a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears and no later than 12 months.
Parents should brush child’s teeth at least twice a day, after breakfast and before bed.
Floss between all teeth that are touching at least once daily.
Use a child-sized toothbrush with a smear of fluoride toothpaste.
Signs of a healthy mouth include pink gums, white teeth, and no mouth sores.

Q. Ages 2 to 5 years

child_teeth1Begin teaching preschoolers to brush by gripping the brush for the child and guide it around the mouth.

Parents should brush child’s teeth/tongue at least twice a day, after breakfast and before bed.
Continue to help the child brush until he/she has the dexterity to tie his/her own shoe laces.
Use a child-sized brush that is easy to grip.
Increase toothpaste amount to pea-size as the child learns to spit after brushing.

Q. Ages 5 to 12 years

For New Patients Brush teeth at least twice a day; after breakfast and before bed.

Teach children to brush their tongue to remove bacteria from the mouth.
Coach brushing until age 11, when most kids can brush on their own.
An adult should floss for children under the age of 8.
Eruption of permanent teeth may require decision about sealant application.
Dentist may recommend a fluoride rinse if child can spit adequately.
Dentist may recommend first orthodontic check-up by age 7 or 8 (earlier or later depending on type of bite problem).
Leisure and school sport time increases and so does the risk of injury to the permanent incisors.  Talk to us about mouthguards.
Increased carbohydrate exposure and more challenges to control diet increase the risk for tooth decay.
All permanent teeth are generally erupted by age 12, except possibility of four second molars and wisdom teeth.  

Q. Ages 12 to 18 years

dentist for teensDental decay may be more of a problem during teen years than ever before.

Gum disease (gingivitis) is more prevalent due to changing hormones.
All permanent teeth are erupted, with the possible exception of the third molars (wisdom teeth).
Although some wisdom teeth come into the mouth normally, others need to be removed because of poor positioning and lack of space. The dentist will make sure that the proper treatment is prescribed at the right time.
One-third of high school students report using some type of tobacco. Tobacco is responsible for over 90% of oral cancers. The dentist can provide counseling for adolescent patients who use tobacco products.
Malocclusions should be addressed and treated for esthetic and functional considerations.
Tooth whitening and esthetic dentistry may be addressed.