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Pediatric Dentistry

Oral health is a journey that ideally starts at a very young age with your child’s first visit to Big Smile Dental. As your child gets older, new considerations arise, yet regular professional checkups and cleanings combined with effective at-home care should be constant.

Dental for baby

The American Dental Association recommends your child’s first dental visit within 6 months of the first tooth coming in or by the 1st birthday, whichever comes first. Dr. Siegel will discuss things such as:

  • How to clean baby teeth
  • Pacifier use and the consequences of other habits
  • How to identify tooth decay risk

Baby bottle decay is a significant threat to your infant’s teeth. Putting your child to bed with a bottle of sugary drinks, including fruit juices, promotes erosion of the tooth structure. Dipping pacifiers in sugar water or juice to appease baby also promotes decay, and prolonged or forceful pacifier use can be detrimental to oral health.

Anytime a child sucks repeatedly on an object, the upper teeth may tip out. Early loss of teeth can also affect the way permanent teeth develop. These conditions are highly preventable.

Young kid having a dental checkup

Dental for school-aged kids

Sealants may have been recommended for baby before pre-K, especially if baby’s teeth were deeply pitted and grooved. These thin coatings protect back teeth from the decay that can threaten the baby teeth and the development of permanent teeth.

Generally, it is recommended kids get sealants on their permanent molars as soon as those teeth erupt. Generally, the first or 6-year molars will be visible between ages 5 to 7. The second or 12-year molars typically come in no later than your child’s 14th birthday and no earlier than the 11th birthday.

If your child takes up sports, the Big Smile Dental staff can discuss the best ways to prevent injuries. For instance, mouth guards may be customized to prevent teeth from being knocked out and reduce the force of blows that can cause jaw fractures, concussions, and neck trauma.

Dental for teens

Kids are busier than ever in high school. They may be tempted to skimp on good oral care between homework, sports, and other activities. Children may be at greater risk of tooth decay in their teen years than any other time due to:

  • The sheer number of new permanent teeth, which are more susceptible to erosion as they’ve erupted through the gums
  • More permanent teeth also mean more surface areas susceptible to decay
  • It’s easier to avoid visiting the dentist because mom or dad isn’t driving a teen everywhere
  • Busy teens may reach for sugary and acidic foods and drinks, which make teeth vulnerable to damage

By this time, your child may have had braces or other orthodontic treatment. If not, Invisalign Teen can be an option that fits into older kid’s active lifestyles. The aligners responsible for straightening may be removed for cleaning and eating. Since the aligners are clear, kids don’t fear they’ll be teased for “wearing braces.”

Keep in mind you are your child’s best role model, so make good oral health a family affair. Your oral health also affects children’s oral health in some surprising ways. In 71 percent of cases in which baby has developed cavities, the mother has been the source. Mom can transfer the Streptococcus mutans bacteria to an infant even before teeth emerge.

For whole-family health, call 773-772-8400 to schedule an appointment with Big Smile Dental.

What Our Patients Say

5 star review by

Wonderful!! Always wonderful!! It's been 30 years now since we first came to Big Smile Dental. Every visit is always met with kind and courteous help at the front desk. I always feel very cared for and the care is gentle. I live 40 miles away from Logan Square now, but I still travel to see Dr. Siegel because I trust him as a person and as a professional. I trust my family to his care!
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