Baby Teeth: How to Take Care of Them Because They Matter a Lot!

At Great Expressions we take dental health very seriously.

A great smile can last a lifetime, and caring for your child’s teeth properly starts at birth, with a wellness visit to the dentist when the first baby tooth emerges, or by age one, whichever comes first.

Not long ago there was a mistaken belief that baby teeth didn’t matter because they eventually fall out. That belief was tragically wrong.

Fortunately, we now know better, and taking the right steps, well before your baby takes his or hers, can help put them on a path to a healthy mouth and smile for the rest of their life.

Based on 40 years of helping our patients achieve the dental health and smile they deserve, we’ve found there are proven steps to taking excellent care of your child’s mouth, and they start with an understanding of baby teeth.

What are baby teeth? baby teeth

Your baby has 20 teeth in their jaw when they’re born, referred to as primary teeth, and they first begin to emerge when your baby is between six months and one year old.
While each child is different, most will have all 20 erupted by the time they’re three years of age. The first to emerge are usually in front, in both the top and bottom jaws. This graphic shows the sequence and ages when each tooth usually erupts and is eventually lost:

The first primary teeth may begin to fall out around age six, but a final few may remain until age 12, and sometimes even beyond. In fact, some children will need to have remaining baby teeth removed in order to maintain good dental health, and prepare for orthodontic treatment.

Why baby teeth are so Important

Your child’s primary teeth are important for many reasons, including:

– Enabling adequate chewing, leading to better nutrition.

– Helping in proper speech development. Your child’s tongue, lips, and cheeks depend on their teeth to properly form sounds and speak.

– Holding space intact for adult teeth and guiding a pathway for them as they emerge. Premature loss of baby teeth can affect the alignment of adult teeth. In this way, primary teeth can act as nature’s braces.

– Helping with facial development by supporting facial shape and muscle development.

– Directly affecting the health permanent teeth. Permanent teeth develop close to the root of baby teeth, so caries from baby teeth can affect permanent teeth, causing life-long damage.

– Teaching kids to care properly for their teeth gets them started on the healthy habit of good dental hygiene that they can carry into adulthood.

When should you take your baby to the dentist for the first time?

Your pediatrician can help you decide the right timing but, under typical circumstances, the first visit to your dentist should take place either when the first tooth emerges, or by age one, whichever occurs first.

This visit is important because your dentist can evaluate the health of your child’s mouth, provide tips for home care, and discuss any detrimental behaviors like thumb-sucking or overextended pacifier use.

How to take proper care of baby teethbaby teeth

Taking good care of your baby’s dental health starts just after birth, when you may begin wiping their gums with a clean, moist washcloth or gauze pad.

Once your baby’s first tooth emerges, it’s time to start routine brushing. For kids under age three, use an age-appropriate soft toothbrush, with fluoride toothpaste in an amount the size of a grain of rice.

Most dentists recommend you brush in the morning and evening, but your dentist will provide tips on the right approach for your child.

Often by age three kids are ready to get involved in the brushing process, but it’s important that you feel they are ready to participate. It’s not uncommon for kids to require some level of assistance until around age seven.

There are many ways to make it fun, including giving them a toothbrush with their favorite characters, and using a toothpaste flavor they like. You can further motivate them by making brushing like a game, and there are many smartphone apps as well as offline and online books that can help.

Using fluoride toothpaste in the amount about the size of a pea, you should ensure they brush twice a day. Once they have teeth that are touching, it’s time to start cleaning between their teeth with dental floss.

The other factor in taking good care of your child’s teeth is a healthy diet. Foods that are sugary, starchy, or sticky stay in the mouth longer, and therefore are more likely to cause caries.

What are the risks that affect baby teeth?

The biggest risk is premature loss, which can be caused by:

– Caries, which could result in early extraction due to infection, pain, or the spread of cavities

– Accident or trauma that causes the tooth to be knocked out

– An abscess that affects the health of the pulp and the developing permanent tooth

– Medical disorders

The most common risk factor is decay, as studies have shown one in four children have cavities by age five.

The first sign of a potential cavity is often discoloration of the tooth and/or minor pitting. If you notice these signs, or see a cavity, you should immediately have your child evaluated by a dentist who will determine if further treatment is required.

Ideally, baby teeth should remain until the respective permanent tooth emerges. If space is left open too long, the remaining teeth can shift, affecting the amount of space the permanent tooth will have when it erupts. This can result in overcrowded or misaligned permanent teeth.

If a baby tooth falls out prematurely you’ll want to consult with your child’s dentist, who can determine if the use of a spacer could benefit your child’s future dental health and appearance.

Guarding against Baby Bottle Tooth Decay aka Early Childhood Caries

While other teeth may be affected, early childhood caries usually affects the upper front teeth.

As we already shared, decay can cause many problems that could immediately affect your child’s dental health, with the possibility of significant long-term consequences, so prevention is important.

Baby bottle tooth decay and early childhood caries can be caused by:

  • Exposure to cavity-causing bacteria from a caregiver when the baby’s pacifier or spoon is placed in the caregiver’s mouth
  • Frequent exposure to beverages that contain sugar
  • Putting your baby to sleep with a bottle
  • Using a bottle as a pacifier
  • Lack of adequate exposure to fluoride

Simply avoiding the above causes can help prevent baby bottle tooth decay. Good hygiene is also important, including cleaning your baby’s gums with a moistened wash cloth or gauze pad after feeding.

Additionally, you’ll want to avoid placing drinks that contain sugar, like juice or soft drinks, in your baby’s bottle, and keep bottles and pacifiers clean at all times.

Finally, getting your child to safely transition to drinking from a cup will help reduce the risks of bottle feeding.

Baby teeth matter a whole lot and we can help!

Taking care of your baby’s teeth is an essential part of maintaining their overall good health.

When your child is ready for their first visit, our doctors and practice teams are ready to help. Click here to find a convenient location to schedule your baby’s first appointment, and we look forward to helping make your child’s smile be all it can be for a lifetime!


Benefits of Ortho and Invisalign

Having straight teeth is something everyone longs for.  We all want to look great in our selfies, and have a beautiful smile to greet the world with. In addition to boosting self-esteem and aesthetics, having straight teeth also has health benefits. Today, we are going to look at the various benefits of braces.

While the most apparent advantage of braces is their ability to make your teeth look great. By placing teeth in the correct alignment, braces can help individuals feel better both physically and personally.

Braces can straighten teeth in several ways. They can help close gaps that have developed between teeth, giving them a more straightened look. Additionally, they can help better space teeth that have grown too close together, preventing a clustered look. Braces can also correct teeth that have been rotated or shifted in their position. All of these are ways that teeth can be straightened by braces, and each is both an aesthetic improvement as well as a healthy one.

Braces can also can reduce the tooth decay and gum disease. Misaligbraces, great expressions bracesned teeth that are crowded or crooked create tight spaces between your teeth that are sometimes referred to as “food traps.” This is due to the fact that food can collect in these spaces and it is less likely to be swished out or flossed out when you rinse your mouth or brush your teeth. Over time, debris can turn into plaque and increase your risk of cavities. Straightening your teeth with braces mitigates the risk of tooth decay for this reason Learn how to close those gaps in the teeth and help align teeth, all for only $99 down! Click here to learn more.

Another advantage of braces is that they can help individuals with an uneven bite. This is typically caused by misaligned teeth. An uneven bite can lead to dental issues down the line such as overly worn or chipping teeth. Braces help to prevent this in addition to the other benefits we already discussed.

Finally, braces can help to correct jaw pains and disorders which you may be experiencing. Your jaw joints may try to self-correct how your teeth fit together. Over time, this can lead to serious jaw disorders that cause symptoms that disrupt your life. For example, chronic headaches, jaw popping, and pain can all be signs that your joints are trying to auto-correct. If left untreated, this can lead to long-term problems. Speak to your orthodontist about any jaw pains which you may have.

In addition to traditional metal braces, Great Expressions offers a metal-free tooth alignment treatment called Invisalign. Invisalign braces are plastic aligner trays which are changed periodically to help straighten teeth. These trays can be removed for cleaning and for eating and drinking. They offer the same advantages and benefits of traditional braces, however, they are removable, and as the name implies, they are nearly invisible!  Currently, Great Expressions dental centers are offering a special on Invisalign. Call your GEDC orthodontist to schedule a FREE consultation today!

invisalign, orthodontics, braces, invisalign Great Expressions Dental Centers

On average, Invisalign clear braces straighten teeth faster than traditional braces. Invisalign braces typically can take from one two years, which traditional braces may take much longer. Learn more about the speed of invisalign here.

Invisalign braces offer easier cleaning compared to conventional braces. With conventional braces, food particles can become trapped in the brackets and wires. This can often lead to plaque buildup wand eventually tooth decay. Invisalign aligners are removable. They can be removed when eating and drinking, and can be cleaned prior to placing back in one’s mouth.

As you can see, there are many dental health benefits to braces and Invisalgin. Your local Great Expressions Orthodontist near you will be able to help you create a treatment plan and custom tailor an orthodontic solution specific to you. Great Expressions currently has a special on braces. To learn more, click here, or visit your local Great Expressions Orthodontist today.

Summertime Dental Tips

Summertime– relaxing near the beach, longer days, and summer vacation for the kids. With the extra sunshine, balmy weather, and family time, it’s also a perfect time to make sure that you and your kids go to the dentist!

summer vacation

Brushing and flossing is important at any time of the year- but in summertime, it’s paramount to remind kids. With the kids spending time at camp, near the pool, and on vacation, be sure to remind them to brush twice a day and floss daily.

Additionally, this is a great time to do two things; first, get new toothbrushes along with travel-sized toothpaste for summer trips. Second, it is  great time to get the kids in with your local dentists, without having to miss school! Your dentist will be able to check up on their oral health, and it will continue to instill the importance of oral hygiene.

Great Expressions Dental Centers Kids Dentist

Be sure to keep your kitchen healthy during the summer months. Try to stay away from excessively acidic foods. Keep the fruits and veggies clean and ready to go, as opposed to soda and candy. Instead of the cookies and sugary drinks- try keeping some blueberries and strawberries nearby. Also, instead of grabbing a case of soda at the grocery market, grab a case of bottled water instead.Summertime Brushing

During summer, we all love to spend time outdoors. Activities like swimming, biking, hiking, volleyball and other activates are a lot of fun. However, these activities can sometimes run the risk of a dental injury. Parents can be prepared by taking a few simple preventative steps.

  • Make sure your kids follow the “pool rules.” Running near pools is one of the leading causes of children injuring teeth during the summer months.
  • If in the event of a dental emergency, make sure that you use warm water and cold packs to clean the area and reduce swelling. Use gauze to stop any bleeding. Place any lost permanent tooth back in the mouth if possible. IF NOT POSSIBLE, use salt water or milk to keep it moist for the ride to the dentist.
  • Keep an emergency kit with gauze, a small container with a lid, ibuprofen and your dentist’s contact information.

Summer is a great time to take vacations, spend time outdoors, and enjoy time with your family. Help your kids enjoy the most of the summer by making sure that they keep up on their oral hygiene and getting them to their Great Expressions dentist near you!

Mouth guards: Protect your Child’s teeth!

Mouth guards – Protecting your child’s teeth!

Mouth guards are important in helping protect your child’s teeth! This summer, ensure your child’s teeth are properly protected with a quality mouth guard. Mouthguards help to protect teeth against injury, fracture, and breakage. Whether you need a basketball mouth guard, a mouth guard for soccer or a mouthguard for martial arts, there are a wide array of options for you and your child!

Mouthguards help prevent against a wide array of injuries to your child’s teeth. A child mouth guard can help prevent lacerations to the jaw, may also prevent against TMJ (Jaw Joint) Trauma. They reduce the potential for jaw joint fracture or displacement by cushioning against possible impact from athletic activity.

Types of Impact

mouthguards, kids mouthguard


A properly fitted mouth guard covers the sharp surfaces of the teeth, to help protect the tissues of the cheeks, lips, gums and tongue from lacerations that can occur from a blow.

Direct Impact to mouth

This is the most commonly imagined impact when one thinks of impacts to the mouth. This impact can come to your child’s teeth from the form of an elbow, a soccer ball, or from various other pieces of sporting equipment during athletic play. Mouth impacts can cause damage to the soft tissues of the lips, checks, tongue, and gums, as well as the teeth and upper jaw. Mouth guards help to protect your child’s teeth from direct impact to the mouth.

Direct Jaw Impact

Causes possible damage to the teeth, TMJ and jaws. This impact typically comes from the side, impacting the jaw directly. Impact directly to the jaw has the ability to cause damage to the jawbones, teeth and jaw joint (TMJ).

Under Chin impact

A blow under the chin can cause damage to the teeth and the gums. However, it can also cause damage to the jaws as well as inflame or cause TMJ issues.

Jaw Fracture

Properly fitted mouthguards reduce the force upon impact helping to protect the jaws from fracture.

Types of Mouth guards

There are also various mouth guard types to consider. Stock mouth guards are the least expensive. Stock type mouth guards cost about $5 and come in three sizes: small, medium and large. You get what you pay for in these in terms of fit. Some complain that they are too wide and uncomfortable.

Boil and bite

Boil and bite mouth guard such as the UnderArmor mouth guards offer a semi-custom fit can be made using a “boil and bite” model mouth guard. Hot water is used to soften the plastic and your child then bites into the guard, molding it to his or her teeth. This type of mouth guard sells for between $15 and $25 and offers very good protection. These are typically the best value, offering a competitive price point and very good protection.

Custom Mouth guards

Custom mouth guards can be fitted custom by a dentist or orthodontist. They offer the best fitting mouth guards, and as such they are also the most expensive with costs between $45 and $65 dollars. A dentist or orthodontist makes custom fitted mouthguards in a dental office. Not surprisingly, this kind of mouth guard is the most expensive of the three, costing between $35 and $65. Custom mouth guards are the best option if your child has braces and plays multiple sports.

Under Armor Mouth guards

Under Armor mouth guards offer a superior protection and fit for your child’s teeth. Under Armor is the #1 fastest growing brand in sports, for athletes of all ages and abilities. The Under Armor mouth guards can be easily molded with hot water to offer your child the most comfortable fit and unrivaled protection for their teeth. Under Armor also offer mouth guards for braces as well.
UnderArmor Mouth Guard, Kids Mouthguard

Under Armor mouth guards protect against all types of impact to the jaw, gums, and teeth- ensuring that your child can enjoy all of their athletic activities, all while protecting their teeth! To learn more about Under Armor mouth guards and to ensure that you child has the best in dental care, contact your nearest Great Expressions Dental Centers.

Great Expressions Dental Health and Wellness

Pediatric Dental Care

Wondering what is the right age to take your child to the dentist for the first time? According to The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, it is recommend that a child’s first visit to the dentist should be when the first tooth erupts in the mouth, and no later than age one to two. As decay in baby teeth increases the risk of decay in permanent teeth, so it is paramount to start your son or daughter off on the right path with respect to dental health and hygiene.

Prior to the first trip to the dentist, you should consult with your dentist about a kids’ friendly dentist; that is one that practices in pediatric dentistry. You may also find out if your current dentist’s practice is kid-friendly. After this, you should make an appointment to tour the office with your child and to familiarize them with the new surroundings. Be sure to keep an eye out for cleanliness, as all the tools should be sanitized and wrapped in plastic.

children's dentist

The first visit essentially familiarized your son or daughter with the dentist office environment. This fosters the building of trust, and eliminates any ill-feelings towards going to the dentist. Additionally, it allows the dentist to do a quick examination of your child’s teeth. They will check for any signs of tooth decay, check gums, jaw and bite.

During the first appointment, make sure that your child feels comfortable.  Assure your child that they are safe, and explain what each tools do. Per the dentists’ office policies, your child may be able to sit on your lap during their first visit to ensure that they feel comfortable. You dentist will most likely demonstrate with oversize toothbrushes the facts of keeping teeth clean.

Finally, your dentist will then check your child’s teeth and will also check for bottle caries, frenum issues, or other problems that may affect your child’s teeth or speech. During this visit, the dentist will also want to talk to you about the importance of good oral hygiene and allow you to ask any questions or concerns that you may have.

pediatric dentist

After the first appointment, your dentist office will advise you on the next appointment. From this point forward, children should come in every six months for dental checkups. By the time the child is three, he or she will have full dental appointments. And at roughly age five, x-rays will be taken.

Great Expressions Dental Centers have 270 dental offices nationwide with dental professionals that specialize in pediatric dentistry. Learn more here, and contact your local Great Expressions Dental Center to schedule an appointment for your son or daughter today.

Great Expressions Dental Health and Wellness.

According to The Knot, the cost of a wedding has increased by more than $5,500 in the past five years, with couples spending more than $32,000 on average in 2015. As brides and grooms seek opportunities to save money wherever possible, one area that receives substantial attention is pre-wedding beauty prep. Great Expressions Dental Centers (GEDC) wants all brides and grooms to know they understand how important a pearly white smile is on the big day – but getting there doesn’t have to break the bank.


“More than ever, we are seeing an increased pressure on brides and grooms to be the best version of themselves on their wedding day – sometimes spending a large portion of their budget on expensive beauty procedures,” said Dr. Robert Brody of Great Expressions Dental Centers. “The surest way to look great on the big day is with a beautiful smile. Additionally, unlike other beauty procedures, working on your smile is something that will last long after the ceremony is over.”

pexels-photo-265733Following are GEDC’s four cost-effective tips and tricks on how to achieve the smile you love for your wedding day and the rest of your life:

  • Avoid certain beverages and foods. In the days leading up to your wedding day, help ensure your pearly whites are as white as they can be on your wedding day by avoiding certain beverages and foods that can stain your teeth, such as red wine, coffee, dark berries and soy sauce.
  • Don’t wait to begin your beauty routine.  Many brides and grooms think they can dramatically whiten their teeth in just a matter of days – leading to extreme tooth sensitivity that can ruin the big day. Instead, begin a whitening regime two months prior to ensure you have the smile you want, without worrying about tooth sensitivity.
  • Carefully select your lipstick color. Pick a color that not only matches your skin tone, but also enhances your teeth and smile. Find a pink or coral color with a blue base to make your teeth look even whiter.
  •  Pack a “tooth kit” for the wedding. Between posing, sipping, eating and kissing, you are going to want to be sure your mouth is clean and fresh. Pack a small kit with mouth wash, toothpaste, floss and mints for quick pick-me-ups throughout the night and to ensure your smile is perfect in your photos.

To schedule a dental appointment for your whiter teeth on your wedding day, call 888-764-5380 or visit

Click Here