Your child’s first trip to the dental office can be traumatic, but it does not have to be. Preparing your child properly can make a huge difference and set the stage for how they feel about dental care and oral hygiene. If their first visit to the dentist is a good one, they will feel good about – and even look forward to – their subsequent visits. That is why we work so hard to create a welcoming and non-frightening environment for our youngest patients.
We believe that every young person’s first visit to a dental office should be a fun and enjoyable one. No one is born with an innate fear of going to the dentist, and your child does not have to develop that fear. Even so, it is perfectly normal for young children to fear the unknown – including that first trip to the dentist. That is why we always make a special effort to make our young patients comfortable at our office. Our caring staff can turn your child’s first dental experience into a wonderful memory instead of something to fear.
When you and your child enter our dental office, we immediately spring into action. We work hard to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere so your child has nothing to fear. Our staff uses simple and non-frightening words to describe every dental procedure that will take place, and we constantly reassure our youngest patients that there is nothing to fear.
Dental care is important even for the youngest patients. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that all children should have a dental examination by their 1st birthday. Your child’s teeth will start to erupt at between 6 and 12 months of age, and it is important that they receive proper dental care during this process.
Scheduling your child’s first visit as early as possible will allow us to give you instructions regarding proper oral hygiene techniques, including brushing, flossing and the importance of a healthy diet. Scheduling early will also make it easier for us to accommodate school schedules, after-school activities and other things your child may enjoy.
We strive to make proper oral hygiene fun for you and your child. Your child’s first primary teeth (also known as baby teeth) will start to erupt when they are between 6 and 12 months of age, and the process of tooth eruption will continue until your child reaches the age of three.
During this time, your child will probably experience some tenderness in their gums. This is normal, but there are things you can to to make them more comfortable as their teeth are coming in.
You can rub the tender area with your finger or a cool wet cloth to make your child feel better. Giving your child a teething ring can also make them more comfortable. When all is said and done, your child will have 20 primary teeth, so you may want to keep a soft washcloth on hand.
Your child’s baby teeth will be lost at various times throughout their young lives, and he or she will get lots of visits from the tooth fairy during this time. Your child’s permanent teeth will start to erupt around the age of six, and this process will continue until your son or daughter is about 21 years of age. As an adult, he or she will have 28 permanent teeth plus 4 wisdom teeth.
When your child’s teeth begin to erupt, it is important to check them every couple of weeks. Be sure to check for any lines or discoloration, as these may be caused by tooth decay. You should strictly limit the amount of sugary foods, juices and sodas your child eats to make their teeth strong and healthy from the start.
Get into a regular tooth brushing routine with your child, and teach proper brushing technique as you do. Your child should brush a total of four times a day – after breakfast, after lunch, after dinner and a fourth time before going to bed.
Try to make brushing time fun and engaging for your child. Play games, sing songs and encourage your child to create their own brushing routine. You should start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth erupts – using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush.
Do not use a toothpaste with fluoride on children under the age of two unless advised to do so by your doctor or dentist. Always review proper brushing techniques with your child and verify those techniques with your dentist.
You should also show your child how to properly floss their teeth. Your dentist will explain how to floss your child’s teeth, and you can pass that information along. Always look for issues when helping your child floss, and notify the dentist immediately if you have any concerns.
Sugars left in your child’s mouth contribute greatly to tooth decay. When those sugars sit, they turn into a corrosive material that can break down tooth enamel and lead to tooth decay, gum disease and other issues. Always insist your child eat a healthy diet, and limit their consumption of sugary foods and drinks.
Sealants can provide additional protection for young teeth. When you visit the dentist for the first time, be sure to ask the dentist about the value of this dental technology. Sealants are designed to cover the deep grooves in the back of the teeth, a spot where tooth decay often gets its first start.