Children’s Dental Care
This page is designed to provide you with the information you need to know in order to care for your child’s teeth both at home and in regards to any dental services they may need throughout their childhood. At Seaman Family Dentistry, in Lenexa, KS we enjoy providing dental care to the whole family, we encourage parents to bring their children to one of their preventive visits prior to the child’s first visit. By allowing your child to become familiar with the office, staff, and what happens during a visit, they are less concerned about their first visit. Dr. Robert Seaman, our assistants, and our hygienists are great with kids and will insure they understand everything that is going on.
We recommend that children should start receiving regular dental checkups, every 6 months, starting around the age of 3. However, if you have a younger child and you believe you see a dental problem or they act like a tooth is bothering them, you should bring them in to have that area checked as soon as it is noticed.
If you are looking for a particular area of children’s services, please scroll through the sections below to find what you are interested in.
Routine Check-Ups & Cleanings for Your Child
Just like adults, children need to be seen by the dentist regularly for complete examinations and needed x-rays. We will start cleaning a child’s teeth as soon as it is needed and they are ready for this service. Some children are ready for anything at age 3, whereas others may be 5 years old before they are ready for x-rays and/or cleanings – unless there is an extreme need, we typically wait until the child is happy to receive the service. We find this approach builds trust and makes the visit more comfortable and enjoyable for the child. Building this foundation makes children look forward to dental visits instead of dreading them and it makes any future treatment that may be needed easier on the child, parent, and staff. This same philosophy is applied when determining the right time to start fluoride treatments, plus, we need to insure that the child is old enough not to swallow any excess fluoride during the in-office fluoride treatments. We do recommend they receive these treatments once they are old enough, either once every 6 months or once a year to keep the enamel of their teeth strong and resistant to decay. So if your child is 3 years old or older, make sure they are receiving regular preventive care at the dentist.
Caring For Your Child’s Teeth At Home
Home care for children starts immediately after birth, cleaning their gums daily with a wet wash cloth. Also, not letting children sleep with bottles of formula, milk, or juice – if taking a bottle to bed is necessary for sleep, then it should be plain water. If babies or children take bottles or sippy cups to bed, then these fluids sit on their teeth all night long, in a warm moist environment, making it a perfect place for bacteria to grow and destroy their newly forming teeth.
Once your child’s teeth start coming in, you should clean their teeth with a soft bristled brush made for infants or toddlers. You should either only use water or reduced/no fluoride toothpaste until the child is old enough to know how to spit and not swallow it. Fluoride can cause stomach aches if too much of it swallowed and the most important thing about brushing is to remove the bacteria from their teeth – so water will work when they are young. The more frequently you brush their teeth, the more accustom to it they will become, making it easier on you and later it will be easier for them to keep the habit up. Minimally, you should brush their teeth three times a day, especially when they are drinking bottles all day long.
Flossing should be started when more of their teeth have come in and you can see that the brush is not getting in between their teeth. Then, you should begin flossing before bedtime to remove any bacteria (plaque) between their teeth.
As the child ages, you will start allowing them to use the toothbrush and floss themselves, but watch them and encourage them which teeth to work on, then you finish up by cleaning the areas they missed. You continue this until they are able to brush all the surfaces of their teeth, same with flossing. For video instruction on proper brushing and flossing, visit our Dental Home Care page.
Establishing these habits early will make them reliable, capable brushers and flossers when they are old enough to do this on their own.
Fluoride rinses should not be used until the child is old enough to fully understand how to swish and spit, without swallowing. Also, this is an optional home care aid, so if you are not sure whether you should have your child use a home fluoride rinse, talk to your dentist or hygienist at their next visit.
Other Preventive Services for Children
In addition to the previously mentioned preventive measures, we often recommend two other protective services for children’s teeth – sealants and sports mouth guards.
Visit our page on sealants to learn more about these coatings to fill in deep grooves in the teeth which are typically hard to keep clean.
If your child participates in sports, especially as children age and sports become more physical, we can make custom mouth guards (in a variety of cool color combinations) to protect your child’s teeth from injury.
Sealants & Mouth Guards
Early Orthodontic Services for Children
Many people assume that orthodontic treatment doesn’t begin until the teen years, but actually early treatment can actually make later services easier, shorter, and/or prevent the need for tooth extractions. Below are a couple of videos regarding conditions which can be treated earlier, for more detailed information about orthodontic services for children 6 – 12 years of age, visit our Children’s Orthodontics page.
At Seaman Family Dentistry we work to provide you and your family with as many services as possible in the same office so you do not have to travel all over to properly care for all your dental needs. If you are interested in any of our services for children or your family as a whole, please give us a call and let us find you a convenient appointment time.