Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist
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 take your child on a tour of the office, give them prizes, and allow them to pick out their own tooth brush. We introduce them to all of procedures, such as going for a ride in our chair, meeting “Mr. Thirsty”, and having their teeth tickled and cleaned. Our goal is to create a positive and welcoming experience and environment for your child.
We will gently examine your child’s teeth and gums. X-rays may be taken to reveal if decay is present and to check on the progress of your child’s developing permanent teeth. We may clean your child’s teeth and apply topical fluoride, with your permission, 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, discuss diet and nutrition and what to expect in their growth and development of their permanent teeth.
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. 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.
- 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?
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, drinks and a lack of brushing and flossing. Limiting sugar intake and brushing and flossing regularly, of course, can help. We recommend limited consumption of sodas, sports drink, and other sweetened beverages. If you have a sweet treat, drink water afterwards to reduce the harm caused by sugar!
Every time someone eats, an acid reaction occurs inside their mouth as the bacteria digests the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 30 minutes. During this time the acid environment can weaken 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
- 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.