Your Child’s First Dental Visit
Your child should have a first “routine” dental appointment after his or her third birthday. This initial visit will be brief given that it usually entails very little treatment. We may ask that you sit with your child in the dental chair during this initial examination. We may even ask you to spend time in the waiting area during a portion of the visit. These efforts help children feel comfortable in the treatment environment and they allow dental professionals to build relationships with their new patients.
Your child’s teeth and gums will be examined during this visit. X-rays will be taken so that we can look for signs of decay and monitor the development of your child’s adult teeth under the gums. We’ll also clean your child’s teeth and can apply a topical, fluoride solution that protects the natural tooth structures against decay. We’ll make sure that your little one is getting sufficient fluoride at home. More importantly, we will go over your child’s current hygiene plan and talk to you about how to properly care for and clean your child’s teeth.
What Should I Tell My Child About a Dental Appointment?
This is a question that we’re often asked. We recommend using many of the same strategies that are used when taking a child to the shoe store or barbershop for the first time. You may be surprised by your child’s reaction to the dentist during a first visit.
The following are a few tips for the all-important “First Visit”:
- Bring your child in to “preview” the treatment environment and meet the staff before his or her actual appointment.
- Read books to your child about taking a trip to the dentist.
- Talk about the different things that the dentist will do during an initial visit.
- Speak positively about the dental experiences you’ve had.
What to Expect at Your Child’s First Dental Visit
At your child’s first dental visit, we will:
- Examine the mouth, gums and teeth.
- Talk about bad habits like thumb sucking or excess sugar consumption.
- Determine whether fluoride is needed.
- Offer tips on cleaning the teeth and gums.
- Establish a schedule for routine dental visits.
- Talk about preventative care.
Tooth decay is currently a very preventable issue. Preventative care and all that it entails is our foremost concern in children’s dentistry. We can protect your child’s teeth with either dental bonding or sealants. Dental sealants are high-quality, space-age plastics that bond directly to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth which are most prone to decay. This is but one of the many ways in which we’ll establish a strong foundation for long-lasting oral health.
Insufficient or substandard brushing and flossing techniques, and diets that are high in sugar are among the most common causes of tooth cavities or caries. Regular brushing and flossing and the maintenance of a healthy and balanced diet will obviously help. The longer it takes a child to chew his or food and the longer that food residues are allowed to remain on the teeth; the more likely it is that cavities will develop.
Each time a person eats food, bacteria break down and digest the available sugars, thereby creating an acid reaction in the mouth. The duration of this reaction is about 20 minutes. Throughout this time, the acidic environment can break down the surface of the teeth which could in turn lead to the formation of cavities.
The consistency of saliva has an impact on this reaction and its effects. Saliva that is thin can break up food and quickly wash it away. If the diet is high in sugar and carbohydrates, however, the saliva will be thick. This will allow acid-producing bacteria to proliferate and will increase the likelihood of cavities.
How To Keep Your Child Cavity-Free
Help your child have healthy teeth and gums by doing the following:
- Encourage your child to brush, floss and rinse.
- Limit the frequency of food consumption.
- Don’t give your child foods that are sticky and that will adhere to the teeth.
- Incorporate treats into meals.
- Choose beverages wisely.
- Serve healthy, nutrient-dense snacks.
The two, bottom front teeth are the very first teeth that will appear. These usually arrive when a child is six to eight months of age. The upper four front teeth will follow soon after, with new teeth appearing periodically after these. The teeth usually erupt along the sides of a child’s jaw in pairs until he or she is approximately 2 1/2 years of age.
All 20 teeth will be present when your child is about 2 1/2 years old. The first permanent teeth will erupt when your little one is five to six years old. Some permanent teeth will replace your child’s baby teeth while others will not. Every child is different and so, you shouldn’t worry if some teeth come earlier or later than generally expected.
In addition to preserving space for the permanent teeth, baby teeth are essential for biting, chewing, speech, and aesthetics. This is why it is vital to maintain a balanced diet and proper dental hygiene during the most formative stages of tooth development.