Bellingham, WA Dentistry for Kids

pediatric dentistry

Pediatric Dental Care in Bellingham, WA

Your child's first visit to Barkley Boulevard Dental Care should be enjoyable. Children are not born with a natural fear of the dentist, but they can fear the unknown. Dr. Les Seelye and our Bellingham, WA dental team make a special effort to use pleasant, non-frightening, simple words to describe each treatment, and follow the “tell-show-do” model to make sure your child is at ease. The more you and your child know about the first visit, the better the both of you will feel.

When to Bring Your Child to the Dentist

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children be brought to the dentist by their first birthday. It is important that your child's newly-erupted teeth (erupting at six and 12 months of age) receive proper dental care and benefit from proper oral hygiene habits right from the beginning.

Dr. Seelye has completed extensive continuing education over the past 20 years, learning about the best ways to ensure the dental health of children throughout their lives.

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How to Care for Your Child’s First Teeth

Your child's first primary or baby teeth will begin to erupt between the ages of six and 12 months, and will continue to erupt until about age three. During this time, your child's gums may feel tender and sore. To help alleviate this discomfort, we recommend that you soothe the gums by rubbing a clean finger or a cool, wet cloth across them. You may also choose to make use of a teething ring. When your child has finished teething, you can expect a total of 20 primary teeth.

Your child's primary teeth are shed at various times throughout childhood. Permanent teeth begin erupting at age six, and continue until age 21. Adults have 28 permanent teeth (32, including wisdom teeth).

Adopting Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits at Home

As your child's teeth erupt, be sure to examine them every two weeks, looking for lines and discoloration that may be caused by decay. Remember that sugary foods and liquids can attack a new tooth, so take care that your child brushes after feeding or eating. We recommend brushing four times a day for optimal oral hygiene: after breakfast, after lunch, after dinner, and at bedtime.

When your baby's tooth erupts, you should brush the tooth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. For children younger than two, do not use fluoride toothpaste unless advised to do so by Dr. Seelye.

Your child should start brushing their own teeth (under your supervision) as soon as they are able to hold a toothbrush. Toothbrushes are made especially for toddlers, with fun colors and large handles for them to grip. Remember, brushing can be fun! We suggest reviewing proper tooth brushing procedures with your child.

Flossing is also a part of good oral hygiene habits, and Dr. Seelye will discuss with you the right time to start flossing. If you notice signs of decay, contact our office immediately.

Preventing Tooth Decay with Regular Checkups

Tooth decay is caused by sugars left in your mouth that turn into an acid, which can break down your teeth. Children are at high risk for tooth decay for a simple reason: many children and adolescents do not practice regular, good oral hygiene habits. Proper brushing and flossing routines combined with regular dental visits with Dr. Seelye and our hygiene team help keep tooth decay away. 

Your child should visit Barkley Boulevard Dental Care every six months for regular dental cleanings and checkups. We recommend fluoride treatments twice a year along with cleanings to keep teeth their strongest. Tooth sealants are also recommended because they “seal” the deep grooves in your child's teeth, preventing decay from forming in these hard-to-reach areas. Sealants last for several years, but will be monitored at your child's regular checkups at our Bellingham, WA office.