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Early Infant Oral Care

Massanutten Dental: Infant Oral Care in Harrisonburg, VA

Massanutten Dental is a family-friendly dental practice in Harrisonburg, VA. We see patients of all ages and welcome the entire family to join our team. We even see the great-grandchildren of some of our patients!

We understand that early infant oral care is a crucial step to take for your child’s long-term oral health. At Massanutten Dental, we offer pediatric dentistry services and early infant oral care. We will work with you and your pediatrician, so your child has a healthy mouth from when their first tooth erupts.

How do I know if my child is ready for their first visit to the pediatric dentist?

It is recommended that you schedule your child’s first dental visit within five months of their first tooth appearing or by their first birthday. Early visits allow dentists to ensure that their oral development is on track.

How often should my child see a pediatric dentist?

Every six months, your child should visit the dentist to keep their teeth healthy and ensure they are properly developing. Regular visits can also help your child acclimate to the dental office environment.

How can I prepare my child for their first pediatric dentistry visit?

Visiting a pediatric dentist for the first time can be nerve-wracking. The Massanutten Dental team prioritizes new patients’ comfort and helps to ease their anxiety by offering a wide variety of support systems.

Our team provides a game and tv waiting room, complimentary comfort items, including a blanket and a stuffed animal, and emotional support dogs. By associating dental checkups with positive experiences, young children can develop healthy oral hygiene habits.

Why is early age dental care necessary for children?

Your child’s teeth will begin to erupt through the gum line around six months of age, and they gradually emerge until around three years old. However, serious oral health problems can arise if your child’s teeth aren’t correctly cared for. Start cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as their teeth begin to break through the gums with a soft-bristle toothbrush. This helps remove plaque and bacteria that can cause early childhood cavities.

Helping your child’s pearly whites grow healthy will help them develop good oral hygiene habits for a lifetime. For extra protection, ask your pediatric dentist about fluoride varnish. This treatment is pain-free; a dentist will paint small amounts of fluoride on the top and sides of each tooth with a brush. Then it quickly hardens once it comes in contact with saliva and is brushed off after 4 to 12 hours.

What are some common problems and procedures that pediatric dentists treat?

Several common dental concerns include cavities, extractions, dental infections, delayed or incomplete tooth development, mouth breathing, and obstructive sleep apnea. Treatment options can also include crowns, tooth-colored fillings, dental cleanings, and fluoride sealants.

Dos and Don’ts of Early Infant Oral Care

Children’s teeth require the same amount of attention as their adult counterparts. Although these are temporary, they are essential in providing good future oral health by saving permanent teeth, speech development, and facial structures.

DO help provide comfort for your child’s emerging teeth.

Growing teeth is sometimes painful for your little one; provide some relief by massaging your baby’s gums with your fingers. Dentists recommend using cold objects on the gums before your children’s teeth emerge. Avoid frozen objects that could bruise the lips and gums. Give your baby a refrigerated teething ring instead.

DO establish a dental care routine with your children.

Dental care starts well before your child’s pearly whites pop up. Starting a dental routine early in life will help your child form healthy habits that will continue to get permanent teeth.  

Parents should clean their children’s mouths twice a day, after breakfast and before bed. For small children who can’t brush independently, lay your child down on your lap so their head is close to your chest and you can see clearly into their mouth. Then rub a damp washcloth along the child’s upper and lower gum line. 

Once you notice your child’s teeth appearing, start brushing their teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and water. Pediatric dentists don’t recommend children to use toothpaste until two years old.

DO supervise your children while they brush and floss.

It is essential to guide a child when introducing oral care. For example, you should ensure that your child knows how to hold a toothbrush, how long they should brush for, and how to floss correctly.  

DON’T underestimate the importance of baby teeth.

During the early years of development, baby teeth act as placeholders and help your child’s mouth flourish. For this reason, losing baby teeth at an early age can be a problem. In addition, the premature loss of baby teeth can result in crooked teeth, overbites, crowding, and other oral health problems.

DON’T let your child have too much many sugary foods or drinks.

The milk and juices your child drinks, as well as sugars found in solid foods, affect oral health. Sugars left in the mouth can cause decay and affect development. Sweet drinks should never be put in a baby bottle; this could result in “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay.”

Contact Massanutten Dental in Harrisonburg, VA for Your Child’s Pediatric Dentistry Needs

If you have any questions about your child’s oral health or would like to schedule an appointment with a pediatric dentist, contact Massanutten Dental today. Our dental team is here to help your children have a healthy smile for life!