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How to Protect Primary Teeth– and Why

2098713580_9acfb73132Your dentist in Coos Bay, Dr. Lori Lemire, is the top choice for parents seeking excellent pediatric dental care. Why? Our clinic places extra emphasis on ensuring that our young patients get the gentle start they need to a lifetime of oral health. Because we are parents ourselves, our team has the experience– and the perspective– that it takes to make your child’s visit a wonderful one.

Our clinic supports the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s stance that dental care should begin at 1 year of age or when a child cuts his or her first tooth. Early care like this is the most successful way of protecting primary teeth.

But many people wonder: if primary teeth are destined to fall out, why protect them in the first place? We’re here to answer that question!

Your child’s developing teeth

Teeth begin to develop before birth, and continue until around age 21 (third molars, or “wisdom teeth” are the last in the long line of development). The first teeth usually erupt at around 4 to 6 months of age, and generally are the lower incisors. As we are all well aware, children develop differently, but most parents can expect that their child should have all 20 of their primary, or “baby”, teeth by around the age of 3.

What was all that work  for, anyway?

As parents, we all know how painful it is to watch our babies teething. We squirm, thinking of their discomfort, and shake our proverbial fists at the tyranny of biology that willed this suffering upon our offspring. Well, three short years after all this hard work has finally concluded and the darn things start falling out! With the first wiggle-y exodus, we enter the age of the Tooth Fairy…

Take heart. It turns out that there’s a reason why primary teeth– despite their brief tenure– are important. They not only ensure that your child gets proper nutrition by providing the tools for mastication, but they support oral development by:

  • creating the space necessary for permanent teeth
  • helping to “guide” permanent teeth into the appropriate position
  • assisting with the development of jaw bones and muscles (after all, if you can’t chew– you won’t build muscle or bone!)

Protection via prevention

Your dentist in Coos Bay approaches pediatric dental care the same as adult care– through prevention, prevention, prevention! But with kids, a big part of prevention is education, and that’s why we like to start dental care early on– it gives kids the time to learn about oral health in an age-appropriate way.

When our patients first see us, the visit may be as simple as a get-to-know-you smile, conversation with parents, and a ride in our super-fun dental chair. Unless your child is eager, we usually wait a visit before doing an actual check-up to give him or her a better idea of what to expect.

By the age of 3, and with your child’s readiness, we provide regular preventive care, which usually looks like:

  • cleanings
  • fluoride treatments
  • a general oral health check up

X-ray imaging usually doesn’t start until the age of 5.

Preparing through prevention

With our clinic’s easy early schedule, your child will be familiar with dental visits, daily oral care, and his or her oral health by the time that permanent teeth– and the Tooth Fairy– arrive on the scene.

Do you have more questions about preventive care for primary teeth? We would love to answer them for you! Schedule your next appointment with Dr. Lori Lemire today!

Photo Credit: Claudio.Ar via Compfight cc


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