Although your child will lose his or her first set of teeth, those small pearly whites still require conscientious care. That is why it is important from an early age to begin making children’s professional hygiene appointments for your kids with your local trusted Tuscaloosa family dentist, Dr. Grant Skalnik.

Baby teeth (or primary teeth) may not last forever, but they serve some extremely important functions. And taking care of your child’s oral and dental health now will ensure a future of happy and healthy smiles.

Dental Care South

Important Functions of Baby Teeth

Baby teeth act as guides for the eruption of permanent (adult) teeth, holding the space for them. When permanent teeth are ready to come out, the crowns (tops) of the teeth push against the roots of the baby teeth, causing them to resorb, or melt away so the adult teeth can take their proper place.

Additionally, primary teeth are solely responsible for a child’s ability to chew, bite, and speak for about the first six years of his or her life. And as adult teeth grow in, the remaining primary teeth will continue to aid your child with these important functions. As such, you’ll want to make sure those baby teeth stay healthy and are lost naturally—when it’s time.

Your Child’s First Teeth

Your child will develop 20 baby teeth. These teeth usually start to appear when your child is between 6 – 12 months of age. The two lower front teeth tend to erupt first, followed by the two upper ones. The first molars come in next, followed by the canines (eyeteeth). Sometimes your baby can experience teething discomfort during this time. If your baby experiences discomfort, please let your children’s dentist know and we will advise you as to the best course of action.

Your infant’s gums and newly erupted teeth should be gently wiped after each feeding with a water-soaked gauze pad or a damp washcloth. Starting at age two (when there are significantly more teeth in the mouth) it is important for you to establish a daily brushing routine with your child. Utilize a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and no more than a thin smear of fluoridated toothpaste for brushing. Your child may need your help with this important task until he or she is about six years old.


Teething refers to the process of a baby’s primary teeth emerging through the gums and becoming visible in the mouth. This can be uncomfortable for your baby. The best way to relieve the discomfort is by applying cold and/or pressure to the affected area. You can do this by utilizing:

  • Chilled teething rings
  • Cold, wet washcloths
  • Chilled pacifiers
  • Massaging your baby’s gums with your finger
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Common Children’s Dental Treatments

There are a variety of dental treatments we provide at our Tuscaloosa family dentistry to prevent tooth decay in children and save or repair teeth when necessary. Aside from providing thorough cleanings, we also offer:

Fluoride Treatments

Fluoride incorporates into the enamel of teeth, making the enamel harder and more resistant to decay. Although there is a small amount of fluoride in toothpastes and in some drinking water supplies, our dentist can apply a higher concentration to your child’s teeth for maximum protection.

Dental Sealants

Our dentist can apply a plastic coating that prevents cavities by sealing the little grooves on the chewing surfaces of back teeth known as “pits and fissures.” These crevices are the perfect environments for decay-causing bacteria to hide. Immature tooth enamel is more permeable and therefore less resistant to tooth decay. Dental sealants are an easy-to-apply form of protection that can safeguard your child’s teeth for years.

Dental Fillings

At Dental Care South, we utilize dental fillings as a means to restore a damaged tooth post the development of a cavity or decay. This process involves removing the decay and sealing off the area so that no bacteria can continue to harm it.

Space Maintainers

Should your child lose a baby teeth prematurely, space maintainers can be fixed to the inside of his or her mouth to retain your child’s bite and healthy tooth alignment until the missing permanent tooth grows in.

Beginning the Journey

In addition to making sure your child maintains a healthy diet and keeps up with a proper oral hygiene routine, bringing your child in for a children’s dentistry appointment with one of our trusted Tuscaloosa family dentist is the best thing you can do to make sure he or she is on a path to a lifetime of healthy, beautiful smiles. Contact Dental Care South today to schedule your child’s first visit and check out below for some reviews from parents of our younger patients!

Children’s Dentistry – Reviews

Janice B.

I have been a patient of Dr. Skalnik for several years! I have not had many teeth issues but my 14 year old son has had many problems over the years that Dr. Skalnik has addressed and fixed! I was very disappointed in pediatric dentists so I decided to try Dr. Skalnik. My son was made comfortable and completely trusts the dental hygienist and Dr. Skalnik. They talk sports while working on his teeth. I see the same hygienist every 6 months (Peggy) and come away loving the way my teeth feel!

Damien & Heather B.

What an amazing place!!! From the time we walked in the door it was so inviting! We heard the Christian music playing and the smiling faces of the beautiful ladies at the front desk we knew we had found the perfect place! Everyone was so precious and so friendly to my son and I. My son is 4 and they were very patient with him. This was his first dental visit and it was great!!! Thank you all so so much from the bottom of a nervous Mommy’s heart!!! It truly meant more than you will ever know!!! You all ever blessings to us!!

Amanda M.

We just switched to Dental Care South and LOVE it! Love the people and the atmosphere. They take time and giving you a thorough cleaning and explain everything they are doing. My kids ages 10 and 5 love going to the dentist!

Jonathan O.

Very Great people!!!! My daughter had a baby tooth that just wouldn’t come out that was really bothering her. Tried almost every dentist office in town thinking these dentist offices would understand a kids tooth hurts let’s squeeze her in and get it taken care of no one in Tuscaloosa would see her the same day. Then I ran into Dental south on Google these guys was awesome said to bring her in and we will squeeze her in. Such great people from the time we arrived making sure my daughter was comfortable with everything going on. I will be back and will highly recommend to anybody. They even called the next day to check on her.
No dentist office has ever done that before I loved it!!!! Shows that care about there Patients.
Thank you Dental South!!!!

Chais & Amanda B.

We love Dr. Skalnik and his entire staff! They are wonderful! Our children love seeing him and our 6 year old son loves Miss. Lauren. He thinks she is so beautiful and she is so sweet to him. My daughter is extremely comfortable with them and insists on going back alone because she trusts them and I do too! They are the most patient group of people I know. My children were terrified of the dentist before we transferred to Dr. Skalnik, but now they love going because they have the best of the best! They always treat us with kindness and are so much fun!

Kaylon W.

I would give 10 stars if I could. The entire staff is amazing. They are great with me and my 3 year old daughter. Highly recommend!