As a father of four, Dr. Jon Kirlough understands how important it is to ensure that your loved ones have all the support they need to thrive during these formative years – and that includes high-quality dental care. Our team at Kirlough Family Dentistry is gentle, patient, and truly dedicated to helping children have positive care experiences from beginning to end. Ideally, we want to build the stepping stones that lead to lifelong oral health and happiness! Contact us today in Middleburg Heights, OH to schedule a first visit, or if you have any questions.
Regular checkups and cleanings are an essential part of every child’s ongoing oral healthcare, and we’ll make sure to match our approach to your son or daughter’s current age and level of emotional maturity. For very young patients, a gentle examination of the teeth and gum tissue will help us pinpoint any early damage or decay that needs professional attention, as well as potential developmental concerns. As they grow, we will incorporate professional hygiene sessions so that “baby” and adult teeth alike can be free of cavity-causing plaque and tartar.
As children start to learn to brush and floss on their own, the back teeth (premolars and molars) become vulnerable to decay. Not only do these teeth have deep pits and grooves in their chewing surfaces that can easily trap food particles, but they’re also hard for little hands to properly reach. Dental sealants can provide a simple, but effective extra layer of safety! This tough, plastic-based substance is painted directly onto the teeth, forming a barrier that helps block out bacteria. The application process is fast, painless, and can last for several years at a time.
Fluoride is a mineral that’s found all around us – in the foods we eat, the toothpastes and mouthwashes we use at home, and even in most community water supplies. This is good news for you and your loved ones’ smiles! Countless studies have shown that children who grow up drinking fluoridated water are likely to have stronger tooth enamel and less risk of developing cavities than their not-so-lucky counterparts. During routine checkups, Dr. Kirlough may recommend professional fluoride applications as a fast and easy way to give growing teeth an extra boost of lifelong protection.
At Kirlough Family Dentistry, we want your child’s smile to grow up to be as healthy as can be, which involves working with us to establish an oral care regimen that your son or daughter is comfortable with. We know you might have a few questions regarding how exactly to take care of your child’s adorable grin, which is why we’ve answered some of the frequently asked questions we get about children’s dentistry.
We highly suggest scheduling your child’s first appointment with us as soon as you see their first tooth peek through their gums. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, you should take your little one to see their children’s dentist in Middleburg Heights either when their first tooth erupts or when they reach one year of age, whichever comes first.
Typically, the first visit is short and simple. Dr. Kirlough will spend some time getting to know your son or daughter and helping them get comfortable. He’ll perform a basic exam to make sure your child’s mouth looks like it should. He can also answer any of your questions and provide you with tips to how to care for your little one’s budding smile.
Before your baby’s first tooth even appears, we recommend cleaning their gums. At least once a day, wipe them with a damp, soft washcloth to remove leftover food particles and plaque that could cause infections. As soon as their first tooth appears, you can start brushing it with a toothbrush designed specifically for infants. Use a dab of toothpaste no larger than a grain of rice to avoid them accidentally swallowing too much. Start flossing as soon as they have two teeth that touch.
You may think that because baby teeth eventually fall out, you and your child don’t need to take good care of them, but primary teeth play an important role in development. They help your little one chew and speak properly. Additionally, they hold space in the jaw for their permanent teeth. If your child loses a baby tooth too early, whether due to decay or damage, the surrounding teeth may drift to fill in the gap. Permanent teeth may then have a difficult time growing in, erupting at awkward angles that can cause discomfort and necessitate future orthodontic treatment.
Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice. Sipping on a sugary drink all night greatly increases the chances of developing cavities, a condition known as baby bottle tooth decay. If you’re going to send your little one off to dreamland with a bottle, fill it with water instead.
When your child is old enough to brush their own teeth, make sure they do so with a fluoridated toothpaste every morning and every night. Flossing is also important in that it cleans out the spaces between the teeth that toothbrushes can’t reach. Maintain a healthy diet high in vegetables and low in processed sugars. Lastly, be sure to schedule a checkup and cleaning with our friendly team every six months!