Dentistry for children
Your child’s first visit
The first “regular” dental visit should be just after your child’s third birthday, unless you have noticed a possible problem or have a specific concern to be discussed. You are welcome to bring your child at any age for evaluation. The first dental visit is usually involves a visual exam and discussion with parent and child. If there is a possible problem we will take radiographs (x-rays) to hep us detect 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 and dental sealants to help protect the teeth against decay. Most important of all, we will review with you how to clean and care for your child’s teeth. This is a good time for both the parent and Doctor to discussed how best to care for the child.
What should I tell my child about the first dental visit?
We are asked this question many times. We suggest you prepare your child the same way you would before their first haircut or trip to the shoe store. We would like to make their visit as positive as possible, so starting with a good attitude is important.
Here are some “First Visit” tips:
- 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.
During your first visit the dentist will:
- Examine your mouth, teeth and gums.
- Evaluate adverse habits like thumb sucking.
- Check to see if you need fluoride.
- Teach you about cleaning your teeth and gums.
- Suggest a schedule for regular dental visits.
What about preventative care?
Our goal is to help you best understand how to care for your teeth and eat a healthy diet to provide the body with good nutrition. Both of these are important to good oral health. Tooth decay and children no longer have to go hand in hand.
Most of the time cavities are due to a diet high in sugary foods and a lack of brushing. Limiting sugar intake, brushing and flossing regularly are important, but so is eating healthy food that provide the nutrients for healing. These include healthy fats, dairy, vegetables, protein, and fruit. Avoiding processed and prepackaged food, as well as fast food is important. Soda is very harmful to teeth and should be completely avoided. Many juices are very high in sugar and also cause a problem, especially with small children. Organic milk and other dairy products are important sources of calcium, which help build healthy bones and teeth.
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.
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 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 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.