Early Dental Care

If you are a parent, you want the best for your children, particularly when it comes to their health.

Since oral health can impact overall well-being, it’s important to instill good habits in our children when it comes to dental care. Many parents, although well-meaning, may not know the essentials for starting their kids on the path to oral health from an early age.


That’s where Dr. John S. Kittrell come into the picture.

Dr. Kittrell, welcome children into their practice from a very early age. They have the experience and knowledge to ensure that parents provide their children with the right dental care at the right time.

Bring your children in to see Dr. Kittrell around age two, or sooner if you have questions about your child's teeth. Your child will gain valuable experience sitting in the dental chair, and you will learn how to care for your child’s teeth from a very early age.

Dental Care for Your Teething Infant

Most children will get their first tooth between the ages of 6 and 12 months. When your baby is teething, his or her gums will be tender and your baby will probably be fussy. The teething process can sometimes go on until your child is about three years old.

For relief from the pain of teething, you can try rubbing sore gums with your clean finger. You can also try a cold wet cloth or a frozen teething ring. Teething biscuits are not recommended since they contain sugar—which is not good for teeth at any age.

During this time, it is important that sleeping babies are not allowed to breast or bottle feed as this can contribute to later tooth decay. Infants who need the comfort of a bottle to fall asleep should be given a bottle full of water. Juice or other liquids should never be given to babies to help them sleep because there are sugars in these liquids. The sugar mixes with bacteria in the infant’s mouth, creating acids that will ultimately destroy tooth enamel. A pacifier is another option that will not promote decay.

Teething babies need to be monitored for signs of what is referred to as baby bottle decay. If you notice dull spots on the tongue that are whiter than the surface of a tooth, you should call our office immediately.

Dental Care for New Baby Teeth

Although children will ultimately lose their primary (baby) teeth, they need them for chewing food properly until their permanent teeth come in around the age of six. Baby teeth also impact a child’s ability to speak properly, and they act as a guide for the placement of permanent teeth.

When children lose baby teeth too early, they might need a special dental device that will keep the natural space open to prevent the remaining teeth from leaning or shifting. This will help prevent permanent teeth from growing in crooked.

Rather than adopt the attitude that children will “lose their baby teeth anyway,” it’s important to remember that care for these primary teeth can have a big impact both on how the permanent teeth grow in and how they are cared for once they do. Children are just as susceptible to plaque, gum problems, and cavities as adults, so it is important your kids see the dentist twice each year for regular checkups.

Bringing Your Child to the Dentist for the First Time

We like to see children for the first time by their second birthday. The primary reason for this initial appointment is to get to know your child and give them a ride in the dental chair so they can become comfortable with the doctor, hygienist, and team. Building trust with the dentist from an early age will help alleviate any anxiety your child might have; it will also encourage a healthy, trusting relationship with the dentist.

Give us a call to schedule your child's first dental appointment!