When should your child start seeing Dr. Jacobs? As soon as the first tooth appears. The American Dental Association recommends your child visit a dentist as an infant, within six months of the first tooth coming through the gum, and no later than his or her first birthday.
While it’s important that Dr. Jacobs examine your child’s teeth and mouth for normal growth and development, bringing your infant to see Dr. Jacobs at this stage is also about parent education, specifically the role of infant nutrition to your child’s future dental health. The food and drink that your child consumes now will affect the nutrition and health of their teeth as they grow.
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Proper dental care is critical in the Pre-K years. Unhealthy baby teeth can impact bone development as well as permanent tooth health.
At this stage, it’s time to start getting your child into the routine of brushing their teeth daily, especially at night before going to bed. It’s also time to get your family in the routine of seeing Dr. Jacobs for regular checkups and cleanings. Dr. Jacobs will introduce your toddler to the important things that go on during a dental visit in a way that will ease any anxieties you or your child may be feeling. Parents are always invited to stay with their child throughout the dental visit.
Dr. Jacobs and her staff follow the model of tell-show-do with all of their procedures to help children feel more comfortable. During these visits, Dr. Jacobs will also continue to educate parents on healthy nutrition that can lead to healthier teeth for your child.
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Children ages 6 to 12 are especially vulnerable to tooth decay. As kids transition completely from primary to permanent teeth, good oral hygiene is imperative. As your child starts to lose baby teeth and permanent, adult teeth begin to grow in, it’s important that he or she continues to maintain good dental health. Up to this point you may have been brushing your child’s teeth for them, but at this stage, if you haven’t already, you will turn over to your child the responsibility of daily brushing and flossing. However, parents of tweens still need to check in on how well — or poorly — their children are brushing. This is also a time when Dr. Jacobs will educate parents on how to handle trauma and sports-related injuries to the teeth and mouth, which can be common at this age as children become more active.
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As teens head into adulthood, it’s important to make sure healthy habits are instilled. Poor dental care at this age can lead to big problems later on. Your teenager now has their full set of permanent teeth, so this may be a time to have conversations with Dr. Jacobs about whether or not your child needs braces or other orthodontic work. Most wisdom teeth will start coming in during this time, too. This may cause your teen some discomfort and your son or daughter may need to have their wisdom teeth surgically removed. Dr. Jacobs can assess your teenager’s dental needs and also talk to your teen about special topics such as the effects of energy drinks and smoking on dental health.
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