The Best for Your Child’s Oral Health at Every Age

At Spinnaker Pediatric Dentistry, we’re dedicated to providing the ultimate in pediatric dental care. This includes designing a facility and building a team that caters only to pint-sized patients!

If you’re new to our practice, you might wonder if we have an age limit for kids. Put simply, we are happy to care for your children from before their first birthday all the way through their teens.

However, we understand you may still have a few questions about the pediatric dentist age range. When should you bring your little one in? When should they transition to a family dentist?

Today, we’re here to address those concerns. We’ll also break down the treatments and services we provide at every stage of your child’s life so you can understand the full range of care we offer.

Dental Care for Babies

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends bringing your baby in for their first dental checkup as soon as their first tooth appears or by their first birthday. While this might seem a little early, there are many benefits to being proactive.

As soon as your baby has teeth, they can become susceptible to cavities. At that first checkup, your baby’s dentist can perform a full evaluation of their mouth and jaw. This helps them make sure everything is developing properly and helps them stay ahead of any potential issues.

But what should you do if your baby doesn’t have any teeth yet but is having a difficult time breastfeeding due to a tongue tie or lip tie? In that case, we’re happy to work with you a little earlier.

If your physician confirms that your child’s prolonged or uncomfortable nursing sessions are attributed to a tongue or lip tie, then we’re here to help. Our team can provide laser therapy services to perform a simple procedure called a frenectomy, which addresses the inflexible tissue causing the tie. We can also consult with your baby’s pediatrician or lactation consultant as required.

Even before they can walk, we’re ready to help your little one establish a strong dental care foundation! That first year is also a great time to develop healthy habits. We’ll show you how to wipe their gums down with a soft cloth after every feeding, and when it’s time to transition to a baby toothbrush, we’ll explain the tips and techniques to get their teeth as clean as possible.

Oral Care for Toddlers

As your baby grows, it won’t be long before they’re toddling all over the place! As this growth occurs, we encourage you to stick to a regular schedule of dental checkups and preventive cleanings.

Worried they’re a little too squirmy for our office? Don’t be! We’re especially skilled at putting our patients at ease and helping them look forward to visiting us. From fun toys and wall murals to a kid-friendly color scheme, our office is decked out just for them.

In addition to cleaning your toddler’s teeth, we’ll also keep an eye out for common dental problems that can start to develop over their first few years. These can include:

  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Tooth grinding
  • Thumb-sucking
  • Gum disease

If we notice any of these issues, we will clearly explain what’s going on and suggest a treatment plan to correct and mitigate it. We’ll offer our professional advice, discuss your options, and help you navigate those next steps with confidence.

In addition, we’re also on hand to assist with dental emergencies, such as knocked-out or broken teeth, oral swelling, and toothaches. If your child experiences any of these issues, we are a phone call away and are available for emergency care.

Dental Care for Children Ages 6 to 12

Once your child turns six years old, they’ve officially graduated from that toddler stage. This is a big milestone in the life of any parent, and we celebrate that growth with you!

Of course, one of the most exciting parts about entering elementary age is losing those first baby teeth! As their little smile starts to change, our team is here to help make sure those new teeth are developing as they should. We’ll also guide you on how to supervise them as they start to brush and floss on their own.

When your child’s permanent teeth first come into their mouth, they are the most vulnerable to tooth decay. This includes their first permanent molars, which usually appear around their sixth birthday. That’s why we recommend sealants around this time.

Sealants are painless polymer coatings that we can apply directly to your child’s molars to help “seal” them against decay. Another way we can protect their teeth is by fitting them with a custom mouth guard, which can help safeguard their smile against common sports injuries.

Dental Care for Adolescents

Before you blink, your baby will be heading to middle school and then on to high school. As this transition occurs, you might wonder what age they should stop seeing a pediatric dental team.

At Spinnaker Pediatric Dentistry, we love to see our patients all the way through those teenage years! After all, we are trained to treat teeth that are still growing and developing. The last of your child’s permanent teeth won’t appear until they’re around 17 to 21 years old.

These are known as their “third molars” or wisdom teeth. Due to their location in the back of the mouth, these teeth aren’t useful for chewing or speaking. Plus, they can be difficult to keep clean. For these reasons, your dentist may recommend their removal. We can help you understand those next steps and guide you on how to proceed. In addition, we can also identify and address any oral health issues that could be affecting your teen, such as:

  • Tooth decay
  • Cavities
  • Crowded or misaligned teeth

We can provide the specialized care your teenager needs to address and correct those problems. We can also recommend other treatments, such as orthodontics, that can help their teeth look and feel their best.

There’s no age limit for kids at Spinnaker Pediatric Dentistry.

As a parent, you have plenty on your plate. Our team at Spinnaker Pediatric Dentistry is here to help lighten the load. As the leading pediatric dentist in Salem, Oregon, we’re proud to be your local, trusted dental home.

We don’t have an age limit for kids we see at our practice. Whether your little one is crawling or driving, our doors are open for them. Contact us at any time to ask a question, schedule a tour, or book an appointment!