Dentistry for Children

Gerkin Childrens Dentistry Patient Eileen

We love working with our young patients and know that they have different needs when visiting the dentist. We never try to push young children so that they wind up nervous about the dentist’s office. We want their visit to to be as enjoyable and comfortable as it can be, as well as for them to build life-long relationships with our dentist’s office.

The Doctors encourage moms and dads of young kids to take them along to the parent’s scheduled dental appointment so the little one can easily see how things go during the appointment, and become familiar with our staff and office.

We also advise that your little one’s initial visit be between 24 months and 36 months of age. At that age we can easily start to observe the growth and progression of their teeth.

When New Teeth Arrive:

Your child’s first tooth erupts between ages 6-12 months and the remainder of their 20 primary or “baby” teeth typically erupt by age 3. During this time, gums may feel tender and sore, causing your child to feel irritable. To help alleviate this discomfort, we recommend that you soothe the gums by rubbing a clean finger or a cool, wet cloth across them. You may also choose to make use of a teething ring.

Your child’s primary teeth are shed at various times throughout childhood, and their permanent teeth begin erupting at age 6 and continue until age 21. Adults have 28 permanent teeth, or 32 including wisdom teeth.

Pre-School Visit

At our office in Tulsa, we think that even toddlers need to see the dentist! Prevention and early intervention can help maintain healthy, happy smiles for a lifetime!

Gerkin Childrens Orthodontics Patient Jack

BRACES? In Pre-School?

Most parents of young children didn’t have braces when they were teens. Truth is, if they saw an orthodontist it was because their teeth were embarrassingly crooked and out of line. Sometimes this had to do with the cost of orthodontic treatment. However, it was usually because their parents didn’t think that their teeth were misaligned enough for orthodontic treatment, and their dentist didn’t bring it up unless the parents asked about braces.

In those days, if you had crowded teeth dentists simply pulled a few adult teeth. Of course, upon reflection, we now know that doing so was one of the worst things that could be done.

Just within the last ten to fifteen years did we find out about the vicious circle of pain caused by misaligned teeth. Orthodontic dentistry isn’t just for making a teenager’s teeth look straight and pretty anymore. Now, they concentrate on much more. Misalignment and malocclusion can bring on chronic headaches and full-blown migraines. A misaligned bite can cause ringing in the ears and vertigo (dizziness). Completely healthy teeth can start to chip and wear away, producing a ragged-edged smile.

Worst of all, malocclusion usually isn’t something a parent can just “see”. It lurks in the background continuously exerting strain and pressure on the jaw joint, the teeth and the chewing muscles.

Gerkin Childrens Dentistry Palate

There are some real benefits in starting orthodontic treatment when children are much younger. The children usually don’t have to wear braces for a long period of time during those awkward teenage years. It is also much easier to expand the palate and allow room for all of the adult teeth to have the proper growing space. In most of those cases, young children will not get braces, however they will have their palates expanded by an appliance. This will make their arches wider. It allows space in the mouth for all of the child’s adult teeth to properly grow.

Our office in Tulsa has developed relationships with some excellent orthodontists in the area and we can refer you and your child to an orthodontist if an exam reveals crowded or crooked teeth, or issues with the palate. We can help you choose the best orthodontist that meets the needs and temperament of your child.

Why Do Kids Still Get Cavities?

Scientists in the 1960’s found that fluoride helped build a stronger defense against the teeth’s enemies like bacteria and acids and sweets. And, yes, when fluoride was added to a city’s drinking water, the incidence of cavities dropped sharply. It was even predicted at one time that there would come a time when we wouldn’t need dentists anymore.

However, even the scientists of the 60’s couldn’t predict the development of Mountain Dew, Power Aid Energy Drinks and Gummy Worms. There is no way they could have foreseen that the average teenager would now eat their own weight in refined sugar every year. And, finally, even those scientists with a dark pessimistic vision of the 21st century, couldn’t imagine the power that high-fructose corn syrup would wield against fluoride, regular toothpaste and even daily flossing.

Tips For Your Family’s Oral Health:

• Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
• Encourage brushing, flossing and rinsing.
• Watch what your child drinks.
• Avoid giving your child sticky foods.
• Make treats part of meals.
• Choose nutritious snacks.

Ideal oral hygiene at your home is very important and needs to begin at a very young age. We take the time to advise moms and dads and children on good brushing and flossing methods for them to enjoy good dental health for a lifetime

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  • Ben Gerkin, DDS
  • 4604 S. Harvard Ave. • Ste A
  • Tulsa, OK 74135
  • (918) 749-2509