Drs. Golovan & Golovan
Norman Golovan D.D.S. 
Bruce Golovan D.M.D.
Family & Cosmetic Dentistry

28790 Chagrin Blvd. #300
Woodmere Village, OH 44122
(216) 591-0022
Designing Healthy and Beautiful Smiles!

Call for an appointment today!
(216) 591-0022
Baby's First Teeth
Your child's baby teeth help your child chew and speak normally.  They will also hold space in the jaws for the adult teeth that come in later on.  Starting infants with good oral care can help protect their teeth for decades to come.  A baby's teeth will start to come in (erupt) when the baby is usually about six months old.  By age three, most children will have a full set of 20 primary teeth.  Baby teeth will later be lost as your child develops and grows.  This will then make space for the adult, or permanent teeth.  These teeth usually start to come in around age 6.  By age 21, a person usually has all of their adult teeth.  
The chart above shows when each tooth is usually erupted and when it is also lost (shed).  Remember, everybody is different and grows at a different pace.  
Teething Tips
As teeth begin to erupt, some babies may have sore or tender gums.  Sometimes rubbing your child's gums with a clean wet gauze or finger may help.  A clean, chilled teething ring, that is not dipped into sugar or other foods' may also ease gums.  Gels or creams with benzocaine should not be used to soothe sore gums in babies younger than two.  Benzocaine is a local anesthetic that has caused serious reactions in a small number of children.  Benzocaine can be found in some over-the-counter products such as Anbesol, Hurricaine, Orajel, Baby Orajel and Orabase.  More details are available on The Food and Drug Administration website.
Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Tooth decay can begin as soon as a baby's teeth come in.  Decay in baby teeth can not only cause pain but lead to cavities as well.  If left untreated, it can destroy the teeth of an infant or young child.  Babies have a higher risk for decay if their teeth are in contact with sugary liquids often or a long period of time.  Some of these liquids would include fruit juice and soda.  The bacteria in our mouths feed on the sugar found in these liquids.  The bacteria releases acids that can attack teeth and cause cavities.  Never put your baby to bed with a bottle or use a bottle as a pacifier.  If your child does use a pacifier, do not dip it in sugar or any other sugary substance.  Sippy cups or "no-spill" cups should only be used until around a child's first birthday.  After that, try to get your child to drink from a small open cup.   
Cleaning Your Baby's Teeth
After each feeding, be sure to wipe the baby's gums with a clean, damp guaze pad or washcloth.  This will remove plaque and bits of food that can harm erupting teeth.  When your child's teeth begin to erupt, brush them gently with a child-sized toothbrush and water.  Position your child so you can see into the mouth easily.  You might want to sit, resting his head in your own lap.  
If your child is not yet two years old, talk to your dentist or pediatrician before using any toothpaste.  The ADA recommends that you use a pea sized amount of toothpaste with fluoride for children ages two to six.  Be sure you child spits out the toothpaste and does not swallow it.  Brush or assist your child in brushing their teeth until they are at least six years old.  Begin using floss with your child when they have teeth that can touch.
First Dental Visit
As soon as your child's first tooth appears, schedule their first dental visit.  Children should visit the dentist before their first birthday.  Treat the first visit as you would a baby checkup in the pediatrician's office.  It's best to meet the dentist when your child is not having any dental problems, otherwise they may associate the dentist only with pain.  Having a checkup at this age connects your child to a dental home.  This is a "home base" for dental care, a place where you can take your child from year to year.  this helps the dentist get to know your child's and your family's specific needs so they can provide the best dental care possible.

During the first visit, your child's dentist can do several things, such as:
- Learn your child's health history.
- Give a complete oral exam to check growth and development, oral hygiene, injuries, cavities or other problems.
- Tell you if your child is at risk of developing tooth decay.
- Clean the teeth and provide tips for daily care.
- Find out whether your child is getting enough fluoride to prevent cavities.
- Review feeding practices that may lead to tooth decay.
- Discuss teething, pacifier use, or finger/thumb sucking habits.
- Talk with you about common dental injuries and what to do if one happens.
- Discuss treatment if needed and schedule the next appointment.
Sucking Habits
Many infants and young children like to suck on thumbs, fingers and pacifiers.  Sucking is a natural reflex that may make them feel safe, happy and relaxed.  However, in some cases a child's habits can cause problems with tooth alignments and the proper growth of the mouth.  Sucking habits usually stop between the ages of two and four.  If your child uses a pacifier or sucks their fingers' talk to your dentist on how to ween them from this habit.  Pacifiers should not be used after age two and finger or thumb sucking should end by age four.

Helping a child get through thumb sucking:
- Instead of scolding your child for sucking, praise them for not sucking.  
- Remember that children suck their thumbs when feeling insecure or seeking comfort.  Focus on correcting the cause of the anxiety and comfort your child.
- Your child's dentist can encourage your child to stop sucking and explain what could happen to their teeth if they do not stop.
- If these methods do not work, remind your child of the habit by bandaging the thumb or putting a sock over their hand at night.
- If the sucking continues, talk to your dentist or pediatrician.  They may recommend the use of a mouth appliance or bitter-tasting liquid to coat the thumb or thumbnail to discourage sucking.