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Children’s Dental Care

Oral health care of children from infancy through the teenage years requires different approaches in dealing with their specific needs. Our goal is to assist each child in guiding their dental growth and development and helping them to avoid future dental problems.

As professionals, we recognize the importance of good oral health in the total health care of each child. Working closely with your child’s physician or pediatrician allows us to be in a better position to provide the necessary care required.

There are a few generalities that are common to all children with respect to oral health care:

Prevention of dental disease is the best treatment.

Preventative care begins after the child’s first feeding and continues throughout their life.

A child’s first dental visit should occur between six months of age and no later than one year of age.

No child is too young to have a dental examination and appropriate treatment.

Primary teeth (baby teeth) are important in establishing the correct relationship for the permanent teeth and need to be restored.

Primary teeth remain in your child’s mouth until they are 12 to 13 years old. They begin to fall out at approximately six years of age.

When a child has been diagnosed with a specific disorder or group of disorders, the same principles apply to their oral health care. What is important is to understand how their special-needs may be related to their medical diagnosis.

Children with specific medical disorders and/or diseases may require special modifications in their dental treatment. Such disorders may include childhood cancers, congenital heart disease, diabetes mellitus, bleeding disorders, autism, cerebral palsy, seizure disorders, developmental disabilities and organ transplant patients.

I am aware that when faced with a child who has any chronic, possibly degenerative medical condition, the care of the oral tissue (teeth and gums) is often forgotten. I can only reemphasize that for these children, prevention of oral disease (decay and gum infection) will prevent the need for extensive rehabilitative dental care at a later time. Early intervention is important.

With more than 40 years of experience as a pediatric dentist, Dr. Leonard Smith is Chairman and CEO of The Society for a Healthy Mouth, Healthy Child (Alberta) and The Foundation for a Healthy Mouth, Healthy Child (US). He is also a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatric  Dentistry, and Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine. For more information, contact Dr. Smith at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit

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