YOUR CHILD’S FIRST VISIT
Good oral care is a critical part of our overall health and it should be encouraged from a young age. In fact, it is essential that children learn the importance of this as soon as possible as this will set the tone for their own oral habits as they get older.
This is why we suggest that your child’s first dental visit happens just after their third birthday.
What you can expect
- 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
What your child can expect
- Examine your child’s mouth, teeth and gums
- Evaluate adverse habits like thumb sucking
- Check to see if your child needs fluoride
- Teach your child about properly cleaning their teeth and gums
- Suggest a schedule for regular dental visits
- 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
What should I tell my child about their first dental visit?
We are asked this question so many times by parents. They need to be prepared for these visits as they will become a part of your child’s routine as they get older. Your child’s reaction to their first visit to the dentist may even surprise you!
We have, however, come up with helpful tips for their first visit with us:
- Take your child for a “preview” of the office
- Read books with them about going to the dentist
- Review with them what the dentist will be doing at the time of the first visit
- Speak positively about your own dental experiences
You may have heard that prevention is better than cure and this is especially true when it comes to oral health. However, no matter how much care we take, treatment may still be required but regular dental check-ups may allow us to diagnose these issues early and treat them quickly.
At our office, we place a strong emphasis on all aspects of preventive care. In fact, we believe that the terms tooth decay and children no longer have to go hand in hand.
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.
In most cases, cavities are caused by a diet high in sugary foods coupled with a lack of brushing. Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly will help to combat this.
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. It is also important to note that 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. When a person eats a diet high in carbohydrates and sugars they tend to have thicker saliva, which, in turn, creates more of the acid-producing bacteria that can cause cavities.
Have a look at some of these 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
Your Child’s Teeth
In most cases, the first baby teeth come in when your child is between six and eight months old. These will usually be the two bottom front teeth. The four upper front teeth should be next and 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 two-and-a-half years old.
At this time, your child should have all 20 teeth. Between the ages of five and six, the first permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Just remember that some of the permanent teeth replace the baby teeth and some don’t. Don’t worry if some teeth are a few months early or late as all children are different.
It is important to note that baby teeth do not only hold space for permanent teeth but they are also essential for chewing, biting, speech and appearance. For this reason, it is critical to maintain a healthy diet and good daily oral hygiene practices.