Your Child's First Dental Visit
When your child turns three, it is time to schedule his or her first dental appointment. The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. We may ask the parent to sit in the dental chair and hold their child during the examination. The parent may also be asked to wait in the reception area during part of the visit so that a relationship can be built between your child and his or her dentist or hygienist.
We will gently examine your child's teeth and gums. X-rays may be taken to evaluate for decay and to check on the development 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, we will review with you how to clean and care for your child's teeth at home.
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 that 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:
During your first visit the dentist will:
What about preventive 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 sealant technology to protect your child's teeth. Sealants are flowable resins that 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.
Cavity Prevention at Home
Most of the time cavities are caused by 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 foods, the longer the residue stays on their teeth and the greater the chances of cavities developing.
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 a diet high in carbohydrates and sugars, they tend to have thicker saliva, which then allows more of the acid-producing bacteria to contribute to the decay process.
Tips for Cavity Prevention:
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 between 2 and 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 baby teeth will begin to loosen and fall out and the first permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Some permanent teeth replace baby teeth and some come into spaces behind the baby teeth. 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 are vital to chewing, biting, speech, and appearance.
For this reason, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene at all ages.