Your child’s first visit
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 may ask you to sit in the dental chair and hold your child during the examination.
We will gently examine your child’s teeth and gums. 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. We will make sure your child is receiving adequate fluoride at home. Most importantly of all, we will review with you how to clean and care for your child’s teeth.
What should I tell my child about the first dental visit?
We are asked this question many times. 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 child’s first visit the dentist will:
- Examine his or her mouth, teeth and gums
- Evaluate adverse habits like thumb sucking
- Check to see if fluoride is necessary
- Teach proper cleaning of the 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 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 and a lack of brushing. Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help.
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.
Consistency of a person’s saliva also makes a difference; thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food more quickly. When people eat a diet high in carbohydrates and sugars, they tend to have thicker saliva. This results in elevated levels of the acid-producing bacteria that can cause cavities.
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 to erupt are the two bottom front teeth. You will notice this when your baby is approximately 6-8 months old. Next to follow are the 2 upper front teeth. The remainder of your baby’s teeth will appear over the next 2 1/2 years.
At around 2 1/2 to 3 years old, your child should have all 20 teeth. At approximately age 6, the first permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Don’t worry if some teeth are a few months early or late as all children are different.
Baby teeth are important. They not only hold space for permanent teeth but they are essential for chewing, biting, speech and appearance. For this reason, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and proper oral hygiene.