Dr. Tatel's Corner page artwork for Pediatric dentist Dr. Fredric Tatel in Tinley Park, IL

Dr. Tatel's Corner

Discussion of current media topics and parent questions. Is there a dental topic that you would like to know more about? Please submit your questions on our Facebook page.

When to expect eruption of your child’s teeth.
Children’s teeth begin forming before birth. As early as 4 months, the first primary (or baby) teeth to erupt through the gums are the lower central incisors, followed closely by the upper central incisors. Although all 20 primary teeth usually appear by age 3, the pace and order of their eruption varies.Permanent teeth begin appearing around age 6, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors. This process continues until approximately age 21. Adults have 28 permanent teeth, or up to 32 including the third molars (or wisdom teeth).

Please click here for a tooth eruption guide.

Parents have asked if they should wait for all of their children’s teeth to erupt before they begin brushing their child’s teeth.
A child’s first tooth will erupt in infant’s mouth around the age of six months old. The last baby tooth erupts when the child is a toddler. Therefore parents should not wait and should begin to brush their baby’s teeth as soon as they erupt. Use a soft toothbrush with a small head and a very small amount of toothpaste without fluoride. Brush in any direction on the outsides, insides, and tops of the teeth to get them clean. In the office we will show you an easier way to control the child’s head and to see better while brushing their teeth. Brush right before bed and then the child should have nothing but water afterward. The teeth will then be clean all night. It is also a good idea to brush after breakfast.

Recently in the media, there has been a concern about the safety of orajel.
Products such as Orajel, Anbesol, Orabase, etc. contain the anesthetic benzocaine. When applied to the tissues in the oral cavity benzocaine will provide a numbing effect. This anesthetic is not to be used for children under two years of age, and then used with care for older children. In some instances, benzocaine can cause the oxygen levels in the blood to become dangerously low. If this occurs, one should call 911 immediately as this is a life threatening emergency.

There are products on the pharmacy shelves that are safe for infants and contain natural ingredients. An example of one of these products is Baby Orajel. This gel relieves gum pain with eugenol, a naturally occurring product of the clove plant, which serves to soothe the tissue. As always, read the product labels carefully to see exactly what is in the medication you intend to use and the proper dosage for your child.