Got Teeth? It’s time for your first dental visit!
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) is the recognized authority on children’s oral health and recommends that, “In order to prevent dental problems, a child should see a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday.” Think about this visit as the dental equivalent of your child’s well-baby check up with your pediatrician.
This is a great opportunity for your pediatric dentist to get to know your child and your family’s dental needs, to provide you with tips for dental care, review feeding practices, assess if your child is getting enough – or too much – fluoride, discuss teething, discuss pacifier or finger sucking habits, and determine your child’s risk of developing tooth decay. By starting a dental care routine early in life, as your child gets older, dental visits will become a normal and pleasant experience.
Remember it is best if you child visits the dentist when she/he has no dental problems!
Want to know more about infant and children’s dental health? Check these recommended parenting sites
Yes, we want to meet you and provide you with important information about your child’s oral health. The first time your child comes for an appointment, we encourage parents to come to our back office to meet the doctor and view the treatment area. For follow-up treatments and exams we prefer parents to stay in the waiting room while treatment is provided. There are several practical and treatment-related bases for this policy. As an initial matter, space is limited in the treatment area, and fewer individuals in the treatment area allows us to focus all our attention on your child. More importantly, however, is the fact that most children do better with treatment if their parent is not present. If you believe that your child will feel more comfortable with you in the room, then your presence is welcomed. However, while we understand the desire to assist with treatment, please be an observer and let the doctor and her staff manage the situation. Only one parent is allowed in the treatment area. Additional family members, i.e., brothers or sisters of the patient, are not allowed in the treatment area unless they are infants.
If your child’s treatment plan requires placement under sedation or general anesthesia you will be required to remain in the waiting room during treatment. During these procedures, extra staff will be present assisting with the care of your child. These individuals will be focusing their attention upon your child’s care and they need to be able to perform their functions without distraction!
Your child’s first visit to the dentist should be when the first tooth comes into the mouth and no later than 1 year of age. This visit establishes a dental home for your child. This may sound early, but we want to focus on prevention! During that first appointment we will provide you with valuable information about your child’s oral health and dental development, will discuss diet and oral habits, and share tips on how to prevent oral disease. Also, as children begin to walk and explore the world, it is not uncommon for them to experience dental trauma. If your child has such an accident, by already having a dental home, you will already know who to call and will not be scrambling to find a dentist during this stressful time. Ultimately, if your child begins coming to the dentist at an early age, positive oral habits can develop and routine dental exams will become just a regular part of your child’s life – making visits to the dentist easier and even fun for them!
If your baby has only 2-4 teeth you can use a washcloth or a finger brush with water. When the back teeth (molars) come in, you will need a toothbrush to clean the grooves that those teeth naturally have. Also, as soon as your child can hold a toothbrush on his/her own – even before they can brush – it is important that you give your child a toothbrush in the morning and at night. This will help them establish the healthy habit of brushing two times per day. The earlier this routine is established, the more lasting and permanent the habit of brushing twice daily will become.
It all depends on the age of your child and the caries risk. For example, if your child is a 2 year old and his/her caries risk is low, then no toothpaste is necessary until after she/he can spit; usually at about 2 and half years of age. However, if your child is a high risk for caries, then we will instruct you on how much toothpaste you should use. Come for a fist visit and we will educate you about your child’s caries risk!
Young children do not develop the skills to brush properly until they can tie their shoes alone. Even then, children may not be able to effectively brush their teeth by themselves until about 9 years of age. Before that age you should brush your child’s teeth after they do it, to make sure your child has cleaned all of their teeth and cleaned them properly. As your child gets older, they will need daily reminders and the occasional at home check-up by the parent to make sure they are cleaning them all and taking the right amount of time to do so. Remember, children should begin brushing as soon as they can hold a toothbrush, using only water at the beginning just to create the routine of brushing every morning and night.
Absolutely! They are the smile of your child, they allow your child to eat, to speak correctly, and they hold the space for the permanent teeth to come in the correct position. Some baby teeth stay in your child’s mouth until about 11 years of age when the permanent ones are ready to grow-in. If your child has dental caries, he or she may lose the necessary space for the permanent teeth to come into the mouth straight. This will not only cause misalignment of the teeth, but may also cause pain, infection, and damage to the permanent dentition.
Thumb sucking and pacifiers are normal oral habits in infants. They provide comfort before going to sleep and help calm down your child when they are upset. Most children stop before they get to school. However, if your child sucks strongly on a pacifier, thumb, or fingers beyond 2 to 3 years of age, it could affect the shape of her/his mouth or how the teeth line up. If your child stops sucking on a pacifier or fingers before the permanent front teeth come in, there’s a good chance his bite will correct itself, but if this does not occur then orthodontic treatment may be necessary.
Every 6 months, or more often if he or she has a high risk for dental caries. During your first visit your pediatric dentist will recommend an appropriate schedule for your child’s regular dental visits.
They are a thin plastic coating that is easily applied to the back teeth. The sealants provide extra protection to the chewing surfaces of these teeth and help keep out germs and food on areas that are hard to reach with a toothbrush. They are easy to apply, are the same color of the teeth, and last an average of 3 years.
Fluoride is not a man-made medicine. Rather, it is a mineral that can be found in different amounts in water. It is proven to help protect against tooth decay. Fluoride keeps the enamel of your teeth strong by re-mineralization. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics optimal exposure to fluoride is important to infants and children. The use of fluoride for the prevention of dental caries is safe and effective. It is recommended that parents consider using dietary fluoride supplements for children at risk for dental decay if their water is not fluoridated. Professional applications are recommended at least every 6 months or more often if your child has a high caries risk.
We do not usually take radiographs just for the purpose of screening and not every child will need dental radiographs every visit. However, radiographs are necessary to diagnose and monitor oral diseases and dental development. At Kids on 1st Dentistry we use only the most modern technology in digital imaging to reduce your child’s radiation exposure – up to 99% less radiation exposure than film-based radiography. We further protect your child during the taking of radiographs through the use of a lead-free protective apron. Radiographs will be recommended only after reviewing previous radiographs, considering your child’s history, and assessing their caries risk.