ChildRen’s First visit to the dental office
It is recommended that a child’s first dental visit be between one and three years of age. A child should have begun teething by the first birthday, and all of the “baby teeth” are usually in the mouth by the third birthday. The first visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. We may ask the parent or guardian to sit in the dental chair with the child during the examination.
We will gently examine the child’s teeth and gums to ensure everything is healthy. We may also clean the teeth and apply topical fluoride to help protect the teeth against decay. Radiographs may be taken if decay or developmental problems with the teeth are suspected. Most important of all, we will provide information on how to best clean the teeth at home and how having a good diet can help keep everything healthy. Typically the child will come back for regular visits twice per year just as an adult would.
Some helpful pre-visit tips for parents:
- Read books with the child about going to the dentist
- Review with them what the dentist will be doing at the time of the first visit
- Always speak positively about going to the office to see the dentist and all of the neat equipment
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 consist of placing composite resin into the deep grooves on 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. The longer it takes your child to chew their food and the longer the residue stays on their teeth, the greater the chances of getting cavities.
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
- 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.