When should I start dental visit’s with my child?
The first dental visit should take place at age 1, or 6 months after they get their first tooth.
The first baby teeth that come into the mouth are the two bottom, front teeth. You will notice this when your baby is about 6-8 months old. Next to follow will be the 4 upper, front teeth; the remainder of your baby’s teeth will appear periodically. They will usually appear in pairs along the sides of the jaw until the child is about 2 1/2 years old.
At around 2 1/2 years old, your child should have all 20 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. Don’t worry if some teeth are a few months early or late as all children are different.
Baby teeth are important as they not only hold space for permanent teeth but they are important to chewing, biting, speech and appearance. For this reason, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene.
Your child’s first visit
The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. We may ask you to sit in the dental chair and hold your child during the examination. You 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), and we may clean your child’s teeth and apply topical fluoride (to help protect the teeth against decay). We will also 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 at home.
What should I tell my child about the first dental visit?
This is a common question parents often have before scheduling their child’s visit. We suggest you prepare your child the same way you would before their first haircut or visit to their medical doctor. Your child’s reaction to his first visit to the dentist may surprise you.
Here are some “First Visit” tips:
- Take your child for a “preview” of the office.
- Read books with them about going to the dentist.
- Watch cartoon episodes related to dental visits
- Review with them what the dentist will be doing at the time of the first visit.
- Speak positively about your own dental experiences.
During your first visit the dentist will:
- Examine your mouth, teeth and gums.
- Evaluate adverse habits, such as thumb sucking.
- Check to see if you need fluoride.
- Teach you and your child about cleaning their teeth and gums.
- Suggest a schedule for regular dental visits.
What about preventative 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 dental sealant technology to protect your child’s teeth. Dental 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.
Most of the time, cavities are due to a diet high in sugary foods and a lack of brushing. Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help. The longer it takes your child to chew their food and the longer the residue stays on their teeth, the greater the chances of getting cavities.
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.
The consistency of a person’s saliva also makes a difference; thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food more quickly. Thicker saliva allows more of the acid-producing bacteria that can cause cavities. Eating a diet high in carbohydrates and sugars tends to lead to a person having thicker saliva.
Tips for cavity prevention
- Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
- Encourage brushing, flossing and rinsing.
- Watch what your child drinks.
- Avoid giving your child sticky foods.
- Make treats part of meals.
- Choose nutritious snacks.