When your child’s baby teeth start falling out, you might be tempted to start talking about the tooth fairy, but there’s someone more important to introduce them to— the dentist.
While strange instruments, loud sounds, white gloves, lab coats, and a new face poking their mouth can trouble a toddler, promoting excellent oral hygiene habits at a young age is crucial for keeping teeth healthy. Are you unsure about when your child is ready to take their first trip to the dentist? It might be earlier than you think.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends to prevent problems, a child should visit the dentist at the eruption of their first teeth, or no later than the first birthday,” Dr. Lindsey Wurtzel, of Wurtzel Family Dentistry, told us.
Wondering what else you don’t know? We took our questions to Dr. Lindsey for a crash course in pediatric dentistry 101.
Why are you passionate about dentistry? Building relationships, helping people, and changing people’s lives make dentistry truly a special profession. My love of dentistry started with my father’s passion for the profession, who has practiced dentistry for over 30 years in the Ann Arbor area. As the practice evolved and grew, so have the families we treat. We love the fact that we are a family practice and see three generations of many local families.
What are the biggest concerns I should have about my child’s dental health? Tooth decay and cavities, although preventable, are always a concern for all children. As a society, we have to continue to evaluate healthy diets and snacks, educate parents on proper oral hygiene and encourage regular dental visits. A checkup every six months is recommended in order to prevent cavities or other dental problems; however frequency is often determined by the condition of a child’s oral health.
How can I teach my child to practice proper oral hygiene? Making sure your child has a well-balanced diet, that includes all the food groups and a limited serving of sugars and starches, is very important. After the eruption of the first teeth, I encourage parents to use any soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head. While independent brushing and flossing is variable per child, having an oral care routine with an adult allows the child to participate in the process. When your child is old enough, try to make flossing fun by allowing children to participate.
Are thumbsucking and pacifier habits harmful for a child’s teeth? Thumb and pacifier-sucking habits only become a problem is the habit continues for too long of a period. Most children are able to stop the habit on their own, while some require additional intervention.
What should I do if my child has a toothache? It is important to contact your dentist or pediatric dentist if your child is complaining of any tooth pain. Infections in children can be a very serious problem and should be addressed as soon as possible.
What should I do if my child falls and knocks out a permanent
tooth? Depending on the sport, a sports guard or mouth guard is encouraged for safety of a child’s teeth and to help prevent concussions or head injuries. If they lose a permanent tooth, it is truly a dental emergency and a dentist should be contacted immediately. Locate the tooth and do not clean the surface. If you feel comfortable reinsert the tooth into the socket. If not, it’s important to place the teeth in a dental solution medium, or milk until the dentist is able to see the patient.
Dentist at Wurtzel Family Dentistry
4554 Washtenaw Ave. | 734-971-2675