When and what is my child’s first “regular” visit?
The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that your child’s first dental visit occur no later than 6 months after the eruption of their 1st tooth or by their 1st birthday. Therefore, Dentistry for Kids is pleased to offer a “get acquainted visit” for you and your child on your child’s first birthday. In addition to meeting our doctors and answering questions you may have regarding dental care, the following topics will be addressed:
- Oral Hygiene
- Dietary Recommendations
- Eruption Sequence of Teeth
- Tour of the office
During your child’s initial examination our doctors will gently examine your child’s teeth and gum tissue, review oral hygiene and offer suggestions as needed, ensure the proper number of teeth have erupted and verify the child is receiving the proper amount of fluoride. The dentist will also answer any questions you may have. X-rays may be taken (to reveal decay and evaluate 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. Most importantly, we will review with you how to clean and care for your child’s teeth. By starting visits at an early age, you will help your child build a lifetime of good dental habits.
IMPORTANT: A parent or guardian must accompany all patients under 18 at the consultation visit.
What should I tell my child about the first dental visit?
We suggest you prepare your child the same way that you would before their first hair-cut or trip to the shoe store. You may talk about the upcoming visit with your child, practice counting teeth with them (let them count your teeth as well), read a book about going to the dentist, or have your child watch you or an older sibling at a dental visit. Most of all be creative and have fun with your child in doing these activities. This will allow your child to see that the dental office is a non-threatening environment with people who genuinely care for him or her.
Some recommended books:
- Show me Your Smile: Dora’s visit to the Dentist (Dora the Explorer)
- Berenstain Bears go to the Dentist
- What to Expect When You go to the Dentist
- Freddie Visits the Dentist
- How Many Teeth?
- Just Going to the Dentist
It is best if you refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as “needle”, “pull”, “drill” or “hurt.” The office makes a practice of using words that convey the same message, but are pleasant and non-frightening to the child.
What dental problems could my child have?
Some dental problems begin very early in life. One concern is baby bottle tooth decay (now called “early childhood caries”), a serious condition caused by prolonged breast-feeding or nighttime bottle feeding. Another problem is gum disease. About 40% of children 2-3 years old have at least mild inflammation of gum tissues. Oral habits (such as thumb sucking) should also be addressed. The earlier the dental visit, the better the chances of preventing long term problems. Strong, healthy teeth help your child chew food easily, speak clearly and feel good about his or her appearance.
Why are baby teeth so important?
Baby teeth, also known as primary teeth, are important because they help with proper chewing and eating, aid in speech development and enhance personal appearance. Healthy primary teeth also allow normal development of the facial bones and muscles, save space for the permanent teeth and guide them into place. If a baby tooth is lost too soon, permanent teeth may not have adequate space to come in. Some primary molars are not replaced until age 9-13, so they must last for years. Decayed baby teeth can cause pain, abscesses, and infections that affect the developing permanent teeth. Also, your child’s general health can be affected if diseased baby teeth are not treated.
What about preventative care?
Preventive care is critical to maintaining a healthy, beautiful and functional smile. This aspect is critical not only for young children, but for adolescents and adults as well. At your child’s cleaning and examination visits the following preventive techniques will be applied:
- Review oral hygiene
- Review dietary modification
- Dental Prophylaxis (cleaning)
- Topical application of fluoride gel/foam
- Recommendation for sealants as needed
We feel very strongly that an emphasis on preventive therapies will provide the foundation for your child’s lifetime of good oral health.
What about sterilization?
Your health and peace of mind are always our primary concern; therefore, we use state-of-the-art sterilization procedures. After each patient’s visit, the treatment area is thoroughly disinfected. We ultrasonically clean and heat sterilize all non-disposable instruments. Our staff members wear gloves and masks during procedures. Please feel free to ask us for information on the measures we take to ensure the safety of you and your children.
How often are X-rays taken and are they safe?
X-rays are tooth pictures taken as part of your child’s dental diagnostic exam. X-rays not only detect cavities but also survey erupting teeth, diagnose bone diseases, evaluate the results of an injury and assist in planning orthodontic treatment. X-rays allow us to properly diagnose health conditions that cannot be detected visually by a clinical examination.
The frequency of x-rays is determined by your child’s individual needs. Oral hygiene, past history of decay, dental development, and any evidence of infection are all things considered when determining your child’s individual need for x-rays. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends x-rays every six months for children with a high decay risk. However, the majority of children usually need x-rays approximately once a year.
We are particularly careful to minimize the exposure of patients to radiation. Dentistry for Kids utilizes a number of safeguards including proper shielding and the latest digital x-ray technology which emits an extremely small amount of radiation. With these safeguards in place, the risk of radiation exposure is negligible and much less than an undetected and untreated problem.
*If you are transferring to our office from another dental practice, please ask that any x-rays be forwarded to our office. If there is not enough time, please pick them up and bring them to our office. If additional films are necessary, they can be taken at our facility.