Pediatric dentistry is a specialty that focuses on the oral health and unique needs of young people. After completing a four-year dental school curriculum, two to three additional years of rigorous training is required to become a pediatric dentist. This specialized program of study and hands-on experience prepares pediatric dentists to meet the unique needs of your infants, children and adolescents, including persons with special health care needs.

Dental Care of Young Children: Summary of Best Practice Recommendations

When should parents begin to clean their baby’s teeth?

The sooner the better! The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry states that parents should begin dental cleaning at birth, by cleaning their child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush and water. Unless it is advised by your child’s pediatric dentist, fluoridated toothpaste is not recommended until 2-3 years of age.

When should children first visit a dentist?

“First visit by first birthday.” According to the AAPD, children should first visit the dentist when they receive their first tooth or by the child’s first birthday. Early dental care is important for dental prevention in the future. However, dental problems can begin early. A major dental concern for young children is Early Childhood Caries, also known as baby bottle tooth decay or nursing caries.

How can I prevent tooth decay from a bottle or nursing?

To prevent tooth decay in young children, the AAPD recommends children be encouraged to begin drinking from a cup as they approach their first birthday. At nap times or at night, children should not fall asleep with a bottle. It is recommended that nighttime breastfeeding be avoided after the first primary (baby) teeth begin to erupt. Drinking juice or other sugary drinks from a bottle should always be avoided. When such drinks are offered, they should be served in a cup.

A tremendous advantage for our patients is the ability of our pedodontists to immediately consult with other pertinent specialists with you present, rather than having to travel to another office at a later date.

Moe Momen, DDS

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