Normally the first tooth erupts between ages 6 to 12 months. Gums are sore, tender and sometimes irritable until the age of 3. Rubbing sore gums gently with a clean finger, the back of a cold spoon or a cold, wet cloth helps soothe the gums. Teething rings work well, but avoid teething biscuits – they contain sugar that is not good for baby teeth.

While your baby is teething, it is important to monitor the teeth for signs of baby bottle decay. Examine the teeth, especially on the inside or the tongue side, every two weeks for dull spots (whiter than the tooth surface) or lines. A bottle containing anything other than water and left in an infant’s mouth while sleeping can cause decay. This happens because sugar in the liquid mixes with bacteria in dental plaque, forming acids that attack the tooth enamel. Each time a child drinks liquids containing sugar, acids attack the teeth for about 20 minutes. When awake, saliva carries away the liquid. During sleep, the saliva flow significantly decreases and liquids pool around the child’s teeth for long periods, covering the teeth in acids.

Infant’s New Teeth

The primary, or “baby,” teeth play a crucial role in dental development. Without them, a child cannot chew food properly and has difficulty speaking clearly. Primary teeth are vital to development of the jaws and for guiding the permanent (secondary) teeth into place when they replace the primary teeth around age 6.

Since primary teeth guide the permanent teeth into place, infants with missing primary teeth or infants who prematurely lose primary teeth may require a space maintainer, a device used to hold the natural space open. Without a maintainer, the teeth can tilt toward the empty space and cause permanent teeth to come in crooked. Missing teeth should always be mentioned to your family dentist. The way your child cares for his/her primary teeth plays a critical role in how he/she treats the permanent teeth. Children and adults are equally susceptible to plaque and gum problems – hence, the need for regular care and dental check-ups.

A Child’s First Dental Visit

A child’s first dental visit should be scheduled around his/her 1st birthday. The most important part of the visit is getting to know and becoming comfortable with Dr. Howie and his staff. A pleasant, comfortable first visit builds trust and helps put the child at ease during future dental visits. If possible, allow the child to sit in a parent’s lap in the exam room. Children should be encouraged to discuss any fears or anxiety they feel.

Why Primary Teeth Are Important

Primary teeth are important for several reasons. Foremost, good teeth allow a child to eat and maintain good nutrition. Healthy teeth allow for clear pronunciation and speech habits. The self-image that healthy teeth give a child is immeasurable. Primary teeth also guide eruption of the permanent teeth.

Good Diet and Healthy Teeth

The teeth, bones and soft tissue of the mouth require a healthy, well-balanced diet. A variety of foods from the five food groups helps minimize (and avoid) cavities and other dental problems. Most snacks that children eat cause cavities, so children should only receive healthy foods like vegetables, low-fat yogurt and cheeses, which promote
strong teeth.

Infant Tooth Eruption

A child’s teeth actually start forming before birth. As early as 4 months of age, the primary or “baby” teeth push through the gums – the lower central incisors are first, then the upper central incisors. The remainder of the 20 primary teeth typically erupt by age 3, but the place and order varies.

Permanent teeth begin eruption around age 6, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors. This process continues until around age 21. Adults have 28 secondary (permanent) teeth – 32 including the third molars (wisdom teeth).

Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

Tooth decay in infants can be minimized or totally prevented by not allowing sleeping infants to breast or bottle-feed. Infants that need a bottle to comfortably fall asleep should be given a water-filled bottle or a pacifier. Our office is dedicated to fighting baby bottle tooth decay. Let us know if you notice any signs of decay or anything unusual in your child’s mouth.

See what is being said about Doc. Howie

  • My son is a special needs child; he is the joy of my life but can be a handful when it comes to dental care. Dr. Howie and his staff are truly gifted in caring for special needs children. We have been to lots of dentists and I can honestly say that Dr. Howie gives the best care hands down!

  • My four children have been seeing Dr. Howie ever since they got their first teeth. I am pleased to say that they have always received good check-ups and each one is still cavity free! My youngest is getting ready to go to college. Thank you, Dr. Howie, for instilling excellent oral hygiene practices for each of my children. The good dental habits they learned as children are still being used today!

  • I brought my daughter in to see Dr. Howie for her first dental visit. She is 3 years old and was visibly nervous. Dr. Howie and his charismatic personality really set my daughter at ease. She now looks forward to coming back to see him! Thank you Dr. Howie for making our first dental visit for my daughter fun and easy!

  • I have been coming to Dr. Howie for years with my two children. Dr. Howie and his staff is always super nice and efficient. I recommend Dr. Howie to all my friends!

  • Truly the best dentist! My kids never want to leave his office!

  • DR. Howie has been treating both my children for over 10 years. He is by far the greatest Pediatric Dentist around. My oldest had 4 teeth pulled in one sitting. Without Dr Howie's gentle touch it never would have happened. Keep up the great work. In addition his staff is tremendous. My kids actually look forward to going to the dentist. I couldn't ask for more.

  • Dr. Howie is better than the yankees...Named best dentist in NJ...not one, not two, not three, not four, yes five times running!!! Congrats 2013

  • Dr Howie is the best. My daughters love him. He makes our visit so much fun. A plus!


 Awards and Recognitions

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We try our best to accommodate our patients as much as possible when scheduling appointments. We have found that children under the age of 10 are better to be seen early in the morning when they are fresher and can have a more positive experience. Some appointments may require the child to miss some school; however, these are considered excused absences.

We request 24-hours notice if you need to cancel your appointment. We are aware that unforeseen events sometimes require missing an appointment, but we ask for your help as a courtesy to all of our patients. Continued broken confirmed appointments may result in an additional charge.