We spent months contemplating when to take Matthew to the dentist. My dentist had given me a brochure with information that a child should first be seen by a dentist as soon as the first tooth erupts. Matthew's first tooth sprouted when he was 7 months old. Other dentists suggest that kids should be seen when they are 2, 3 or 4 years old, sooner if needed.
I looked up pediatric dentists near our area and asked friends for recommendations. I also looked through a list of pediatric dentists recommended by other parents in our local Down Syndrome Association (DSA). The list, which is available at the DSA, is a wonderful resource based on recommendations from other parents who have kids with Down syndrome. It was put together to help other parents like me find doctors who have a keener understanding of Down syndrome in relation to their specialties because they have patients with Down syndrome.
Chronological Eruption of Teeth
Some studies cited in an article on the ds-health website report that individuals with Down syndrome tend to get teeth later than usual and in an unusual order. Apparently, the delay can be as long as two to three years.
Matthew is 2-1/2 years old. He had a full set of primary teeth by the time he was a little over 2. I chronologically charted the order in which his teeth erupted except for his second molars. He has them but I wasn't exactly sure when they appeared so I never noted the dates.
According to primary teeth eruption charts at MedicineNet and All Day All Night Dental, Matthew's teeth appeared in the usual pattern of primary tooth eruption within the usual timeframes, except for his upper lateral incisors. I read somewhere that it isn't uncommon for some kids to teethe out of the usual order, whether they have Down syndrome or not.
Central Incisor (8-12 months) - Matthew (11 months)
Lateral Incisor (9-13 months) - Matthew (15 & 17 months)
Cuspid (16-22 months) - Matthew (18 months)
First Molar (13-19 months) - Matthew (14 & 15 months)
Second Molar (25-33 months) - Matthew (approximately 27 months?)
Second Molar (23-31 months) - Matthew (approximately 27 months?)
First Molar (14-18 months) - Matthew (16 months)
Cuspid (17-23 months) - Matthew (17 months)
Lateral Incisor (10-16 months) - Matthew (14 months)
Central Incisor (6-10 months) - Matthew (7 months)
We decided it was time for him to see a dentist to check for cavities and plaque build-up. We knew he didn't have any missing primary teeth so that wasn't a concern for us. We scheduled an appointment with a lady pediatric dentist and Bill took him to his first dental appointment a couple of weeks ago.
The Dentist's Report
The dentist was able to get a fairly good look in Matthew's mouth when he was pinned down and screaming. The good news is Matthew doesn't have cavities. He has a little bit of build-up though. His tooth alignment is decent with some spacing between his teeth, which just means he has room in his mouth to accommodate the bigger permanent teeth later on. There was no mention of when he will need to be x-rayed. We're guessing it'll be done when he can cooperate willingly during the dental exam and doesn't need to be held down for it. He'll be seeing the dentist again in 6 months.
This is the Way We Brush Our Teeth