Healthy smiles start at birth. At Aesthetic Dentistry, our dentists, Dr. Gene Grace or Dr. Katherine Grace Hefner, offer pediatric dentistry in Beaufort, South Carolina. In addition to seeing your child for appointments, our team can help you address any problems with your child’s smile and provide tips on how to maintain their oral health. Call 843-524-6410 today to schedule your child’s appointment.

We Don’t Just Look at Teeth

If your child is a “mouth breather,” it will affect his or her teeth, dental arches and lower face. Most of the time, people keep their tongue in the roof of the mouth. Children who can only breath through their mouth (due to adenoids, nasal obstructions or tonsils) do not. The muscles in the cheeks collapse the upper arch, causing malocclusions and a “long face.” It can also affect sleep. We refer cases like this to the ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor!

Vann and Ford

Pediatric Dentistry FAQ

How old should my child be for their first dental exam?
We like the parent to bring their child when he or she is 4 years old. Usually, this first appointment involves meeting the dentist and hygienist and getting comfortable with the office. We like to do a basic cleaning and fluoride treatment that day and teach the child and parent what they should be doing at home for proper dental care.

How often should they come in?
Every six months, with bitewings (radiographs) taken once a year, unless they have a high decay (cavity) rate.

How old should my child be before they should see the orthodontist?
Usually between 8 and 10 years old for the initial consult.

Is it really necessary to “fill” baby teeth?
Unless the baby tooth is extremely close to being lost, filling primary (baby) teeth is necessary to maintain the proper space in the arch. Permanent teeth will drift forward into open space as they erupt; the eating away of the primary tooth by decay will allow that adult tooth to move forward and lose space needed for the rest of the adult teeth.

What are sealants and why are they recommended?
A sealant is a protective coating that is placed in the deep grooves of permanent molars as they erupt in order to prevent decay from starting. The process is reversible, comfortable and done in a short time. This procedure is especially recommended for children with decay in their primary teeth, i.e., prone to a high rate of decay.

What does fluoride do?
Fluoride replaces a mineral that is inherent in the tooth structure and therefore makes the tooth more resistant to decay. Fluoride is in most city water supplies, toothpastes and some foods. We give our patients an extra dose after their cleanings to help their teeth fight decay.

Is fluoride in well water?
Fluoride is not in well water, only city water. If your family drinks from well water, fluoride supplements should be considered for your child. If you are pregnant, you should discuss with your physician about the need for taking supplements, since your child’s teeth begin developing before he or she is born.