Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, your child should see a dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his/her first birthday. The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. The goal of the first visit is to familiarize your child to the dental office and the team. We show your child our mirror, Mr. Thirsty (our suction), and even let them brush Mr. Cow’s teeth.
We may ask you to sit in the dental chair and hold your child during the examination. We may 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 varnish 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 as well as answer any questions so you and your child can establish a firm foundation for their oral health.
Here are some “First Visit” Tips:
- Read books with them about going to the dentist.
- Don’t worry about explaining dental procedures. We will take care of all of that for you.
- Speak positively about your own dental experiences.
During your first visit the dentist will:
- Examine your child’s mouth, teeth and gums.
- Evaluate adverse habits like thumb sucking.
- Check to see if your child needs fluoride.
- Teach you about cleaning your child’s teeth and gums.
- Suggest a schedule for regular dental visits.
What about preventive care?
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. A dental sealant is a light-cured material bonded to the chewing surface of decay-prone permanent premolar and molar 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 and flossing! Limiting sugar intake along with brushing and flossing regularly is the best form of limiting and arresting tooth decay. 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 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 twice per day.
- Watch what your child drinks.
- Avoid giving your child sticky foods.
- Choose nutritious snacks.
The first baby teeth that usually 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 baby (primary) 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 for chewing, biting, speech and appearance. For this reason it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene.