Dentistry & Kids
Your child’s first visit
The first “regular” dental visit should be between the ages of 1-3. The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. We may ask you to sit in the dental chair for the first appointment and hold your child during the examination. We try to make the first visit a happy visit to introduce your child to dentistry and get them excited to come back.
During your first visit the dentist will:
- Gently examine your child’s mouth, teeth and gums.
- Evaluate adverse habits like thumb sucking.
- Possibly clean your child’s teeth and apply topical fluoride
- Suggest a schedule for regular dental visits.
- 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. 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.
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. 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 usually the two bottom front teeth. You will likely notice this when your baby is about 6-10 months old. Next to follow will typically 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 will most likely 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.