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Healthy Smile, Healthy Life

Local Orthodontist Offers Tips For A Lifetime Of Dental Health

Nothing makes a better first impression than a bright, healthy smile. It is a sign of self-confidence that invites others to make an immediate connection.

However, attaining and keeping a great smile requires a commitment to maintaining good oral hygiene. Proper dental care should begin at an early age in order to build a foundation for oral health that will last a lifetime.

To learn more about how to develop good dental hygiene, we visited with local orthodontist Dr. Clay Fulks, owner of Smile Construction Orthodontics. Dr. Fulks is one of the area’s leading dental practitioners who has decades of experience providing outstanding orthodontic care to patients of all ages.

When should parents begin taking their children for dental care?

“Children should go to the dentist by the time they reach their first birthday. It is important to begin checking their teeth for early cavities and malformations. Subsequent visits should occur at six-month intervals in order to monitor for proper growth and development. Children should begin seeing an orthodontist when their permanent teeth begin to erupt, which is typically around seven years of age. In some cases, they may require time-sensitive orthodontic care in order to prevent and/or correct unhealthy conditions. If no early treatment is needed, they should be scheduled for follow-up visits every six months.”

What recommendations do you have for parents to get their children over a fear of going to the dentist?

“Parents can best help their children be ready for their appointment by explaining that it is important to be followed by a dentist and orthodontist to make sure they are growing correctly. They should have every checkup and procedure explained to them so that they can understand what is going on.”

At what age should children begin brushing and flossing?

“Oral care should begin soon as possible, because it is never too early to begin good habits.  Parents should encourage brushing every morning and night so that it becomes a routine. Children should also be taught to floss before brushing at night. Building an early dental care foundation can help create healthy habits that will last into adulthood.”

What are some warning signs that parents should be alert for with regard to their children’s dental health?

“As permanent teeth begin to erupt, anomalous conditions may arise, such as teeth crowding, bite and jaw misalignment, missing or extra permanent teeth and abnormal muscular attachment.  While parents may not notice these issues, they can be detected through orthodontic examinations.”

What should parents look for in a pediatric dentist/orthodontist?

“Parents should be looking for a provider who cares about their patients and recommends the same treatments that they would perform on their own family. It is important to schedule a complimentary consultation in order to get to know the doctor and his/her team in person.”

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