Your child’s first visit
Your child’s first “regular” dental visit should be just after that first tooth makes its appearance. The first visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. A good portion of the visit will include a conversation with you and your child about daily oral hygiene habits and make sure your child is receiving adequate fluoride at home. Most important of all, we will review with you how to clean and care for your child’s teeth.
For some children, the first visit to the family dentist can be a little worrisome, but for most, it’s an exciting event. Our goal is to make every child feel comfortable and happy, so we approach each first visit gently. Your participation is important, so you’ll be asked to remain in the room during the examination. In some cases, particularly for very small children, we may ask you to sit in the dental chair with your child during the examination to ease any potential fears.
During the visit, we will gently examine your child’s mouth, teeth and gums, and evaluate any adverse habits like thumb sucking, and we teach every child about cleaning their teeth and gums. We may also take X-rays to reveal any potential decay and to check on the progress of your child’s permanent teeth hidden under the gums. Once your child is comfortable, we’ll clean the teeth and apply topical fluoride to help protect them against decay.
Building a rapport with every child visiting Dr. Chen is very important, and we enjoy getting to know your little ones, helping them understand the importance of good oral hygiene.
Tips for your child’s first visit:
We suggest that you prepare your child for their first visit to see us the same way you would before their first haircut or trip to the shoe store. Your child’s reaction to their first visit may surprise you!
- Take your child for a “preview” of our 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.
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, 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.
What parents can do
- Encourage brushing, flossing and rinsing twice a day.
- Offer healthy snacks and reduce treats for special occasions.
- Limit the amount of sweet drinks and sticky foods that your child takes in.
- Take an active role in helping your child use their toothbrushes.
- Be a good example by brushing and flossing with your child every morning and evening before bed.
Your baby’s first tooth
The first baby teeth that come into the mouth are the two bottom front teeth, usually at about 6-8 months old. Next to follow will be the four upper front teeth with the remainder following periodically. Usually, they appear in pairs along the sides of the jaw until the child is about 2 1/2 years old.
At that point, your child should 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. All children are different, so don’t worry if some teeth are a few months early or late.
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.