Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist
The first “regular” dental visit should be just after your child’s third birthday. The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. We may ask you to sit in the dental chair and hold your child during the examination.
We will 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 to help protect the teeth against decay. Most important of all, we will review with you how to care for your child’s teeth.
What should I tell my child about the first dental visit?
We suggest you prepare your child the same way you would before their first haircut. 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.
During the first visit, the dentist/hygienist will:
- Examine the mouth, teeth, and gums.
- Evaluate adverse habits like thumb sucking.
- Evaluate if fluoride is necessary.
- Nutritional counseling and oral hygiene instructions
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 are space-age plastics 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.
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 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
- Choose nutritious snacks.
- Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
- Encourage brushing, flossing, and rinsing.
- Avoid giving your child sticky foods.
- Give juices with meals.
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.