Frequently Asked Questions

When should I bring my child for a first check-up? The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children visit a pediatric dentist when their first tooth comes in or no later than their first year. If your child hasn’t yet had a dental visit, scheduling an appointment now can help establish a lifetime of healthy habits and also help establish a dental home in case there is an emergency.

How is a pediatric dentist different from other dentists?

All dental specialists (pediatric dentists, orthodontist, oral surgeons, and others) continue their education with additional specialized training after completing dental school.

This additional education and experience give pediatric dentists the foundation they need to not only treat dental decay and other common dental problems, but also to understand growth and development of infants, children and teens. This knowledge and understanding allows a pediatric dentist to provide individualized, comprehensive solutions to address each child’s dental needs as they grow.

Also, because our office is tailored for kids, our staff, office design, and approach is all centered on providing a friendly and comfortable environment for children.

How often should I bring my child for check-ups?

Dental checkups twice a year (every six months) help avoid future problems and maintain optimal dental health. Depending on your child’s health, we may recommend more frequent visits.

Do you see children with special needs?

Yes! Part of Dr. Walker’s training was to work with and treat children with special needs.

When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?

When you notice signs of the first tooth, you can start cleaning your baby’s gums. Even though the first set of teeth is temporary, proper dental care can help avoid cavities and ensure healthy gums. Baby teeth are important because they help children learn to chew and speak.

If baby teeth aren’t permanent, why do they need dental care?

Your child’s first teeth are essential for their development. They help a child speak, smile and chew. They also hold space in the jaw for permanent teeth. In addition, dental infections in children can happen quickly and can lead to other significant health problems.

Does my child need sealants?

Sealants cover pits and fissures that are difficult to brush. Sealants can help minimize areas of the teeth susceptible to decay. We always recommend sealants as a safe way to avoid cavities, especially in hard to reach molars.

How can I protect my child’s teeth when they are involved with sports?

Sports stores sell mouth guards to help protect teeth, but custom mouth guards can be significantly more effective at protecting teeth and even minimizing other injuries such as concussions. Please contact our office about custom mouth guards for children, especially if they play baseball, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, or football. A custom mouth guard is a crucial investment in protecting teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums.

What should I do if my child sucks their thumb?

Many children suck their thumb. Many outgrow this habit by four without causing significant permanent damage to their teeth. If your have any questions about your child’s thumb sucking, especially if your child continues sucking their thumb after permanent teeth erupt or sucks aggressively, please discuss this concern at your next dental appointment.

When will my child’s teeth come in?

Your child’s teeth began forming even before they were born. Their primary teeth should start appearing around 6 months of age and by age 3, they should have all of their primary teeth.

Though each child’s development is different, below is a general guideline of when you can expect their teeth to appear.

Early tooth growth

When will teeth come in?

Your child’s teeth began forming even before your child was born. The primary or “baby” teeth should start appearing around 6 months of age.   By age 3, most children will have all of their primary teeth. Though each child’s development is different, below is a general guideline of when you can expect their teeth to appear.

Primary (baby) teeth:

  • 4-10 months: lower central incisors (the 2 bottom middle teeth)
  • 8-12 months: upper central incisors (the 2 top middle teeth)
  • 9-16 months: upper & lower lateral incisors (the teeth on either side of the 2 middle teeth)
  • 13-23 months: upper & lower first molars and canines
  • 23-33 months: upper & lower second molars

Your child will likely start losing their primary teeth around age 6. Their permanent teeth will grow in their place soon after. Additional molars will also come in as your child enters adolescence.

Secondary (permanent) teeth:

  • 6-7 years: lower central incisors and upper & lower first molars
  • 7-8 years: upper central incisors and lower lateral incisors
  • 8-9 years: upper lateral incisors
  • 9-10 years: lower canines
  • 10-12 years: upper & lower first and second premolars and upper canines
  • 12-13 years: upper & lower second molars
  • 17-21 years: upper & lower third molars