Learn more about your teeth with the help of our special guest, Henrietta the Molar!
My name is Henrietta and I’m a molar. More specifically, I’m what’s called a first molar.
If you take a look at your teeth in the mirror, I’m the first big tooth you see. Behind me lives my brother Henry. We’re almost identical and we have really similar jobs–but he’s a bit of a late bloomer, not showing up for a year or two after I make my permanent appearance.
I want to help you get to know your own molars a bit better by teaching you about myself.
Molars are the big teeth in the back of your mouth.
The first thing you’ll notice about me is how big I am compared to the rest of your teeth. I’m shaped differently too.
Run your tongue along the edge of your teeth and you’ll be able to feel that the further back you go, the larger your teeth get. While my neighbors the incisors and bicuspids are thin and pointy, my surface is not as pointy. It’s a little wider, and a little bumpy, too!
Can you guess why I’m shaped in this unique way?
Here’s a hint: When you’re eating a snack, which teeth do most of the chewing? If you answered molars, you’re right!
I’m not only a big tooth, but I also have the big job of helping you chew your food.
To help explain this better, let’s imagine you’re about to bite into a juicy red apple.
The first teeth to make contact are your front teeth, the incisors. They allow you to bite a piece of the apple off. From there your side teeth, the bicuspids, will break down the piece of apple into multiple smaller pieces. And then it’s my turn! I crush up and grind the pieces of the apple until it’s safe for you to swallow.
All of your teeth have important jobs, and without me, you wouldn’t be able to safely eat or get all of the important vitamins and minerals from your food that help you grow big and strong!
But in order to do my job, I’ll need your and Dr. Jeff’s help!
You can help me stay strong by keeping me clean and taking me to visit one very important friend of ours—the dentist!
Dr. Jeff is a really good friend of mine, and I hope he’ll be one of yours too. Dr. Jeff is a special kind of dentist called a pediatric dentist. That means he only takes care of kids’ teeth. You’ll probably notice that his office is a lot more fun than your parents’ dentist too.
It’s a good idea to see Dr. Jeff on a regular basis. Your parents will probably schedule your appointments every six months, but sometimes you’ll see Dr. Jeff more often if your smile needs some extra help.
During your appointment, Dr. Jeff will take a very close look at me and your other teeth.
If it’s your first time visiting Dr. Jeff or it’s been a while since you’ve seen him, he’ll also take special pictures of me and your other teeth. These are called X-rays. They don’t hurt to take, but sometimes it can feel a little scary if you’ve never had pictures taken of your teeth before.
If you do ever feel scared during your appointment with Dr. Jeff, all you need to do is let him or your parents know. Remember, Dr. Jeff and his team are your friends. Just like you want your own friends to keep comfortable and safe with you, Dr. Jeff wants you to feel the same way with him.
Some of your appointments with Dr. Jeff will include a special deep cleaning session with a hygienist.
A hygienist is someone that’s really good at cleaning teeth.
They can get into all the nooks and crannies that can be hard to reach with your own toothbrush. Once your teeth are sparkling clean, the hygienist will also coat your teeth with a fluoride treatment to help stop sugar bugs from causing cavities.
Dr. Jeff or one of his helpers will also teach you how to properly clean your teeth at home.
You see, even though your teeth will be cleaned at Dr. Jeff’s office they also need to be cleaned twice a day at home. This is really important for helping me and your other teeth stay strong until your next appointment.
You’ll learn that you need to brush your teeth in the morning and before bed for two minutes each time. You’ll also learn how to floss between your teeth. This is really important for me and your other molars because we do so much chewing that food can easily get stuck between us.
Dr. Jeff will also tell your parents what kind of toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash you can use. You can even pick them out yourself the next time you go shopping.
If you want to learn more about me and your other teeth, Dr. Jeff can answer all of your questions at your next dental appointment.
Your parents can schedule a dental appointment with Dr. Jeff by calling his office or filling out this online form. Be sure to write down any questions you have about your molars or teeth so you won’t forget to ask Dr. Jeff!