Dentistry for Children

Child Dentistry Need a dentist for your children? Need a dentist for your family? We make dentistry fun for children of all ages! Dr. Jeff Mader is a children & family dentist in South Bend. Since 1991, Dr. Mader has been practicing children dentistry and wants your child to look forward to their dental visits. The services and products that Dr. Mader offers can assist children of all ages. From when your toddler should begin seeing the dentist to young teenagers who need braces, Dr. Mader and his staff can be your child's dentist for life.

Beautiful smiles, exceptional dentistry is not just for adults. At Dr. Mader's office, we feel that children need to be off to a good start by providing overall dental wellness. We want them to have beautiful smiles for life. The information below talks about overall dental wellness and preventive care. Dr. Mader's focus ensures that all children are off to a good start and a lifetime of good oral hygiene.

When to Start

Dentistry for ChildrenWhen you start to see teeth, it's time to visit the dentist! Bring your baby in so we can discuss nursing bottle syndrome and make sure your baby is receiving the necessary amount of fluoride.

Cleaning and check-ups begin at age 2-3. Your child will receive a gentle cleaning by our caring hygienists, a check-up and fluoride treatment. We'll show them how to properly care for their teeth, and they'll receive a prize when they're done. That's how Dr. Mader's office makes children's dentistry fun!


Dentistry for Children If you have well water (most Michigan & Granger residents do), or if you use bottled water, your children need a fluoride supplement to prevent cavities.

Dr. Mader will prescribe the correct dosage and also discuss the regular use of fluoride rinses as part of a complete preventive program. The wonder drug of dentistry is Fluoride. The benefits of fluoride can help prevent cavities throughout your child's life.

All Dental Disease is Preventable

With today's modern techniques and dental wellness programs, your children have the ability to grow old with healthy, beautiful smiles.


A sealant is a plastic material that is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth -- premolars and molars. This plastic resin bonds into the depressions and grooves of the chewing surfaces of back teeth. The sealant acts as a barrier, protecting enamel from plaque and acids.

chewing surface before sealant

tooth protected by shaded sealant

Sealants are easy to apply, and it takes only a minute to seal each tooth. First the teeth are cleaned, the chewing surfaces are conditioned to help the sealant adhere to the tooth, then the sealant is painted on where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. The sealants hold up well under the force of normal chewing, and usually last several years before a reapplication is needed.

Eruption Chart

Baby Tooth Eruption Chart Teeth vary in size, shape and location in the jaws. At birth, usually 20 primary (baby) teeth have formed. They begin "erupting" at about six months. By age 21, all 32 permanent teeth usually have erupted. Here is a quick reference chart that identifies primary and permanent teeth.

Baby's First Teeth--Usually, the front four teeth begin to appear when the baby is between six months and one year. Some babies experience sore or tender gums while teething. Gently rubbing the child's gums with a clean finger, a small, cool spoon or a wet gauze pad can be soothing. A clean teething ring may also help. Contrary to common belief, fever is not normal while teething. If your infant has a fever while teething, call your physician.

Most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth by the time they are three. Primary teeth are as important as permanent teeth -- for chewing, speaking and appearance. They also help "hold" space in the jaws for the permanent teeth.

Sometimes a primary tooth is lost before the permanent tooth beneath it is ready to erupt. If primary teeth are lost too early, nearby teeth can tip or move into the vacant space. When the permanent teeth are ready to erupt, there may not by enough room for them. As a result, permanent teeth may grow into an improper position. To avoid this problem, we may recommend using a space maintainer to reserve space for the permanent tooth.

Nursing Bottle Tooth Decay

One serious form of decay among young children is nursing bottle tooth decay. This condition is caused by frequent and long exposure of an infant's teeth to liquids that contain sugar. Among these liquids are milk (including mother's milk), formula, fruit juice and other sweetened drinks.

Putting a baby to bed for a nap or at night with a bottle other than water can cause serious and rapid tooth decay. Sweet liquid pools around the child's teeth giving plaque bacteria an opportunity to produce acids that attack tooth enamel. If you must give the baby a bottle as a comforter at bedtime, it should contain only water. And never dip a pacifier into sugar or honey.

After each feeding wipe the baby's gums and teeth with a damp washcloth or gauze pad to remove plaque. The easiest way to do this is to sit down, place the child's head in your lap or lay the child on a dressing table or on the floor. Whatever position you use, be sure you can see into the child's mouth easily.


moderate decay

severe (rampant) decay

Periodontal Infections linked to Premature Births and Low Birth Weight

Recent studies have shown that untreated periodontal disease and infection pose a risk factor for pre-term and low birth weight babies. Untreated periodontal disease may account for a large share of premature births for which no other explanation can be found. Also, periodontal infections might be responsible for as many as 18% premature babies born weighing less than 5.5 pounds in the US each year. If such premature births could be prevented by proper dental care and treatment of the disease in women of child bearing age, premature births might be reduced by 45,500 each year. Of course, other health aspects such as smoking and nutrition can contribute to premature births.