Pediatric Dentistry In San Francisco

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Pediatric dentistry is the fancy term we use to describe “taking care of children’s teeth”. So, what do you need to know about taking care of your child's teeth? Let's start at the beginning. Baby teeth begin erupting between 6-12-months, and continue until your child is 3-5-years old. Throughout this period, their gums may feel tender and sore as a result of the physical pressure that new teeth create while erupting. You can soothe their gums by rubbing them with a clean finger or with a cool or wet cloth. Teething rings may also help with gum soreness. As your child gets older, their baby teeth will begin falling out, typically starting by age 6.


Teething Child

All twenty primary (or baby) teeth should be in by the time your child is 2-3-years old. Having a teething child can be stressful, especially if your child is in pain from their teeth coming in. It does not have to be a painful experience though. According to the Dental Association, some methods to make the teething process easier, include rubbing your child’s gums with a clean finger, damp cloth, or with the back of a small, cool spoon. If these methods do not work, our dentist, or your child’s family doctor can recommend a mild over-the-counter medication to relieve the pain.

Small children and babies are likely to chew anything they can get their hands on; walls, seatbelts, table edges, etc. Try to ensure your child stays away from materials that are hard enough to break their teeth or make their gums bleed. It is also important to avoid certain methods while handling a teething child; do not use a liquid painkiller that can be rubbed on your toddler’s gums – your child could ingest some of it; avoid teething biscuits, since many teething biscuits have added sugar or contain hidden sugars; do not dismiss a fever! Fevers are not part of the teething process and if your child has a fever, it is likely not related to their new teeth – you should take your child to their doctor.

First Dental Visit

The common question all new parents have “At what age should my little one be seen by the dentist?”

It is recommended by the Dental Association to assess your child within 6-months of the eruption of their first tooth, or by age 1. However, at our office, we recommend parents bring their children in by 2-years of age for their first dental visit. Even if your child cannot sit still in the chair, we like to familiarize children early on with the office environment and get them as comfortable as possible. Children who see a dentist from an early age are less likely to fear the dentist later in life. Preventative screenings may be all that is required at such an early age; however, at this time, our team is able to help counsel parents on feeding methods and thumb and finger habits that will help build healthy hygiene habits. To get your child ready for their first visit, we suggest allowing your child to attend a hygiene visit with a parent or sibling to become familiar with the office and staff. It is also helpful to encourage regular tooth care at home.

Toothpaste and Toothbrush


For young toddlers, brushing with a toothbrush and water is usually sufficient. Non-fluoridated toothpaste can be used but you should always encourage your child to spit it out to help build proper oral habits. Start brushing with a rice grain-sized amount of toothpaste and be sure to watch for any discolouration of their teeth. Until your child can completely spit all the toothpaste, fluoridated toothpaste should not be used. An overconsumption of fluoride toothpaste may cause dental fluorosis of their adult teeth. Dental fluorosis is when the enamel does not properly form and appears with bright white and brown pitted stains. Dental enamel affected by dental fluorosis does not form as strong as it normally should and is therefore prone to cavities.

For infants, a damp or wet cloth is more than enough to clear their gums until their first tooth beings erupting. Once that happens, switch to a finger-brush. A finger-brush is a light fitted rubber holster for your finger which has a gentle scrub to keep your child’s teeth clean. Since an infants diet primarily consists of milk and mashed vegetables, aggressive brushing should be avoided. Once your child begins developing more teeth, switch to a handheld soft-bristle toothbrush. Have your child try brushing your teeth to practice how teeth should be cleaned and try to brush at the same time as your child as they pick up on what you are doing and mimic your movements. Some parents have had success with a counting game when brushing, while others sing songs or play music to encourage a good amount of time to brush.

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