Your child won't keep his or her first teeth forever, but that doesn't mean those tiny pearly whites don't need conscientious care. Maintaining your child's dental health now will provide health benefits well into adulthood, as primary (baby) teeth serve some extremely important functions.

Kids developing jaws and teeth.

For one thing, primary teeth serve as guides for the eruption of permanent (adult) teeth, holding the space into which these new teeth will erupt. The crowns (tops) of the permanent teeth actually push against the roots of the baby teeth, causing them to resorb, or melt away. In this way, the adult teeth can take their proper place.

What's more, your child's primary teeth will be there for most of childhood, helping your child to bite, chew and speak. For the first six or so years, he or she will be relying on primary teeth exclusively to perform these important functions. Until around age 12, your child will have a mix of primary and permanent teeth. You will want to make sure those teeth stay healthy and are lost naturally — when it's time.

Your Child's First Teeth

Kids mouth anatomy.

Your child's 20 baby teeth will begin to appear usually between six and nine months, though in some cases it may start as early as three months or as late as twelve months. The two lower front teeth tend to erupt first, followed by the two upper ones. The first molars come in next, followed by the canines (eyeteeth). Sometimes your baby can experience teething discomfort during this process. If so, there are courses of action to help make your child more comfortable.

Your infant's gums and newly erupting teeth should be gently wiped after each feeding with a water-soaked gauze pad or damp washcloth. Starting at age 2, when there are more teeth in the mouth, establish a daily brushing routine with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and no more than a thin smear of fluoridated toothpaste. Your child may need your help with this important task until about the age of 6.

Your Child's First Dental Appointment

Age one dental visit

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child see a dentist by his/her first birthday. Though this may sound early, learning proper pediatric oral hygiene techniques, checking for cavities, and watching for developmental problems is extremely important.

There are a number of forms of tooth decay that can affect babies and small children. Early Childhood Caries (tooth decay) can develop rapidly, progressing from the hard, outer enamel layer of a tooth into the softer, inner dentin in six months or less.

Most of all, it's important for your child to have a positive experience at the dental office as he/she will be a regular visitor for years to come.

Pediatric Dental Treatments

There are a variety of dental treatments offered to prevent tooth decay in children, or to save or repair teeth when necessary. They include:

Topical Fluoride — Fluoride incorporates into the enamel of teeth, making it harder and more resistant to decay. Although there is a small amount of fluoride in toothpastes and in some drinking water supplies, a higher concentration can be applied professionally to your child's teeth for maximum protection.

Dental Sealants — A plastic coating can be applied at the dental office to prevent cavities by sealing the little grooves on the chewing surfaces of back teeth known as “pits and fissures.” These little crevices become the perfect environments for decay-causing bacteria. Immature tooth enamel is more permeable and therefore less resistant to tooth decay. Dental sealants are easy to apply and provide years of protection (Watch Dental Sealant Video).

Root Canal Treatment — Perhaps you have had a root canal treatment yourself, to save an injured or severely decayed tooth. Well, sometimes children need root canals, too. As mentioned above, baby teeth are important guides to the permanent teeth that are already forming beneath your child's gums. Therefore, saving them from premature loss can help prevent a malocclusion (“mal” – bad; “occlusion” – bite) that requires orthodontic treatment.

Bonding — Chips and minor fractures to front teeth — common childhood occurrences — can be repaired with tooth-colored bonding materials. These lifelike resins made of plastic and glass can be used on baby teeth as well as permanent teeth and last until the youngster has completed facial growth (Watch Bonding Video).

Orthodontic Concerns

Orthodontic Problems.

By around age 7, most malocclusions have become evident. Interceptive orthodontic treatment around this time can help direct proper tooth positioning and/or jaw growth, eliminating or simplifying the need for later treatment. There are many orthodontic problems that can be detected early and are examples of why a trained professional should evaluate your child during his/her growth and development.

Sports & Your Child's Teeth

If your child is active in sports, a custom-made mouthguard is a highly recommended safeguard. According to the American Dental Association, an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer dental harm when not wearing one of these protective devices. A custom mouthguard is made specifically for your child using a model of his or her teeth. This will offer greater protection than an off-the-shelf model. It's an investment that pays off highly in the form of reduced pain, suffering — and dental expenses down the road!

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Testimonials

What Our Clients Say About Us

  • "As weird as it sounds, I truly enjoy my time here and love that I always leave having learned something new! Dr. Moody and his wife, Jill, are some of the most genuine people I have ever met. They truly care about their patient’s well being. You can’t help but feel at home and most importantly, at ease when you’re in his chair. I am beyond thankful to have found Anchor Dental and look forward to the years ahead."
    Paige S.
  • "Love love love Anchor Dental!! Dr Moody and his team are the best I’m so happy to have found them!! They helped me out so much with my teeth and educated me on preventative techniques to help with my Recessive gum line and loss of bone. They are always super nice and treat you like family. It took me along time to find a good dentist that I can trust since moving to Anchorage and now that I found Anchor Dental I’m very happy.

    I’m appreciate all they do for me and I would HIGHLY recommend them to anyone looking for a dentist who will go above and beyond!!"
    Falon S.
  • "Dr. Moody and his team are the best that I ever been too. Today on February 17, 2021, my kiddos and I have an appointment ."
    Joyce K.
  • "I had a great experience!"
    Chad N.
  • "As always, my visit to Anchor Dental was great. I was there for a cleaning and I was very happy with my result."
    Irene W.
  • "Today was my first dental appointment since Covid and I was reassured and pleased with the mitigation measures taken by Anchor Dental. The teeth cleaning was as usual excellent. Everyone is friendly and professional. I actually look forward to going to the dentist's office!"
    Carol J.
  • "I love this place! They treat you like people. 😀"
    KetoG.
  • "Everyone is wonderful, never felt so comfortable at the dentist. Thank you!"
    C O
  • "Friendly and made to feel comfortable and welcome!"
    Aaron J.
  • "Dr. Moody and his staff are the best. The positive and comfortable environment is very welcoming and makes you feel like family. I wish there were 10 plus stars because they deserve it."
    Aileen T.
  • "Fantastic staff with the utmost care and consideration for their patients. Dr. Moody and his team make the whole experience painless with their skilled and compassionate care."
    Chelle W.
  • "Anchor Dental is fantastic. Atmosphere was awesome the husband & wife team was impressive. ,& their love, life story restored my faith in humanity."
    Tagaloa F.
  • "This dental office is fantastic! The hygenist was amazing and took her time cleaning my teeth really well. I have some sensitivity so they provided me with the comfort of some numbing gel. I was very comfortable and happy with my appointment. Dr. Moody is an excellent dentist. He bonded with my fiance while he was waiting for me and seems they had a good chat! All staff was amazing - Especially Miranda!"
    Holly M.
  • "Dr. Moody was awesome, and made sure that I wouldn't be in any pain. He and his assistant were singing along to the songs playing and were silly enough to take some of the anxiety of having some extractions done away. I'd certainly recommend him."
    Jonathan B.
  • "Great people! Professional and very caring!"
    Pattie M.
  • "The staff at Anchor Dental is amazing! They are so friendly and professional, even my children enjoy going to the dentist!!"
    Lynne F.
  • "As always I was very pleased with my visit to Anchor Dental. The staff is really nice, efficient and professional. They really know what they are doing. Everything is explained to you and Dr. Moody is great."
    Caren A.
  • "Dr. Moody has been my dentist for the past few years. He has helped me eat better through molding and ordering partials. Also, he has a caring staff that really listens to my concerns. I will always recommend friends, family and colleagues to him for the best dental care. Just got a temporary crown, and almost no pain!"
    David S.
  • "I am very pleased with my experience here because I did not see a dentist for years and they made it very pain free and comfortable. The personable and outgoing happy people made it even better."
    Nina J.
  • "5 stars all around. I am glad I found this place and will definitely be recommending this to friends and family."
    Tabitha P.
  • "I have found Anchor Dental to be a highly professional organization staffed with exceptionally qualified and skilled personnel. All of the staff from the front desk, technicians, and optometrists are personal, friendly, and efficient in meeting your needs. Ben Crawford is a go to optometrist."
    Scott S.
  • "I was pretty nervous about getting my wisdom teeth pulled but Dr. Moody made it a blast and fly by. They take my insurance too so I will be coming back for my regular teeth cleanings! :D"
    Joshua A.
  • "Friendly, professional staff that welcomes you from the moment you walk through the door. Everyone has a different outlook for their dental care, the folks at Alaska Dental Arts are incredibly accommodating."
    Bryan B.
  • "Walking in you are greeted with a smile. The office staff is more than helpful when needed. Dr Moody has eased my nerves and I now feel comfortable when I need work done. Everyone is very friendly."
    Stephanie N.
  • "I really enjoyed my dental experience here. The dentist and employees were fun, professional, and very caring. I will definitely refer friends and family."
    Kelly S.
  • "Dr. Moody is the best and most genuine dentist professional I have ever been too. I will say that even after I move out of state, I will fly back just for my dental care."
    Donald J.
  • "I wasn't able to get in for the cleaning I was scheduled for but was able to still have an exam & X-rays. Dr. Moody talked with me extensively about my teeth, dental health, & future care. He answered all the questions I had & I never felt rushed. I would highly recommend Dr. Moody & his staff at Alaska Dental Arts."
    Marion J.
  • "I walked into this dental office and immediately felt warm and cozy. They have an amazing and caring staff that will go out of their way to assist you any way that they can."
    Katylyn L.
  • "It was scary at first but it was awesome. Great service, funny and friendly people. They did it with tender, love and care and you’re all appreciated for an awesome job."
    Sia Faasavalu
  • "Excellent service and the people are very thorough with everything. I love working with people with integrity."
    - Gloria Prince