Children’s Dental Care
Your Child’s First Visit
The first “regular” dental visit should be just after your child’s third birthday. The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. We may ask the parent to sit in the dental chair and hold their child during the examination. The parent may also be asked to wait in the reception area during part of the visit so that a relationship can be built between your child and your dentist.
We will gently examine your child’s teeth and gums. X-rays may be taken (to reveal decay and check on the progress of your child’s permanent teeth under the gums). We may clean your child’s teeth and apply topical fluoride to help protect the teeth against decay. We will make sure your child is receiving adequate fluoride at home. Most important of all, we will review with you how to clean and care for your child’s teeth.
What Should I Tell My Child About Their First Dental Visit?
We are asked this question many times. We suggest you prepare your child the same way that you would before their first haircut or trip to the shoe store. Your child’s reaction to his first visit to the dentist may surprise you.
Some First Visit Tips
- Take your child for a “preview” or online tour of the office.; Seeing the office with an older sibling or cousin; or even a quick look at the location of the office is an ideal way to “introduce” your child to our office.
- Read books with them about going to the dentist.; “Arthur” and “Barney” series are particularly good.
- Review with them that the dentist or hygienist is a “helper” for the health of their teeth and how exciting it will be to meet this new “helper”.
- Speak positively about your own dental experiences.; Avoid discussions about procedures, techniques, dental fillings, or unnecessary hype to coax the child
During your child’s first visit the dentist and hygienist will:
- Examine the mouth, teeth and gums
- Evaluate adverse habits like thumb sucking
- Check to see if there is proper fluoride in your child’s daily diet
- Teach your child about cleaning teeth and gums
- Suggest a schedule for regular dental visits.
What About Preventive Care?
Tooth decay and children no longer have to go hand-in-hand. At our office, we are most concerned with all aspects of preventive care. We use the latest in sealant technology to protect your child’s teeth. Sealants are space-age plastics that are bonded to the chewing surfaces of decay prone back teeth. This is just one of the ways we will set the foundation for your child’s lifetime of good oral health.
Pediatric tooth decay and cavities are largely a result of a diet high in sugary foods and a lack of brushing. Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help.; Often, the use of “juice boxes” and carbonated sodas as well as sugared chewing gum are overlooked factors in tooth decay.
Every time someone eats, an acid reaction occurs inside their mouth as the bacteria digests the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time the acid environment can destroy the tooth structure, eventually leading to cavities.
Consistency of a person’s saliva also makes a difference; thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food more quickly. When a person eats diets high in carbohydrates and sugars they tend to have thicker saliva, which in turn allows more of the acid-producing bacteria that can cause cavities.
Tips For Cavity Prevention
- Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
- Encourage brushing, flossing, and rinsing.
- Watch what you drink.
- Avoid sticky foods.
- Make treats part of meals.
- Choose nutritious snacks.
The first primary (baby) teeth that come into the mouth are the two bottom front teeth. Their “eruption” usually occurs between 6-8 months of age but can occur earlier or later.;; The remainder of your baby’s teeth will appear periodically. They will usually appear in pairs until the child is about 2 1/2 years old. Primary teeth are as important as permanent teeth to function as “space maintainers”.; In addition to their use in chewing and speech development, their premature loss can cause significant spacing problems for the permanent teeth almost insuring subsequent orthodontic consequences.; For this reason it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene and routine care of the primary teeth.
At 2 1/2 years old your child should have all 20 primary (baby) teeth. Between the ages of 5 and 6 the first permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Some of the permanent teeth replace baby teeth and some don’t.;; The sequence of eruption of permanent teeth is often at irregular intervals.; If you have concerns about the position or sequence of the appearance of these permanent teeth, our team can easily assess your child’s unique situation.