When your child visits the dentist for the first time, it should be a pleasant experience. Having a fear of the dentist is not something that children are born with, but your child may be very scared of the unknown. We understand that children can be anxious about visiting the dentist for the first time and we make a concerted effort to ensure your child’s dental treatment goes smoothly. As soon as you walk in the door with your child, we want to do all that we can to make your child feel at ease. The more that you and your child understand about your first trip to the dentist, the easier the visit may be.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends...
That your children visit the dentist on or before their first birthday. Your child will have newly-erupted teeth and these teeth should receive the proper dental care. Your child should also be developing oral hygiene habits from a young age.
Having a positive attitude towards dental hygiene can help your children have a positive attitude as well. Teach your children that getting to know their teeth is fun!
What to do When New Teeth Arrive
Your child’s first teeth, or “baby” teeth, will start pushing through the gums between 6 and 12 months. These teeth will continue to erupt throughout your child’s infancy and up until your child is about three years old. Throughout this time, your child may have sore and tender gums. Alleviating this pain can be difficult, we recommend soothing the gums by running a clean cool finger or a wet cloth across the gums. A teething ring can also be beneficial. By the time that your child is done teething, he or she should have 20 baby teeth.
Normally, children’s baby teeth will fall out throughout their child and adolescent years. From six to 21 your child may have baby teeth that are falling out to make room for the eruption and growth of permanent teeth. A normal adult has 28 permanent teeth, if you include four wisdom teeth then the average adult as 32 permanent teeth.
Instilling Healthy Dental Hygiene Practices
When your child’s teeth start to erupt, you will want to take a good look at them at least every two weeks. When you look at your child’s teeth you should be looking for any lines or discoloration on the teeth. Both of these signs can be an indication of decay. As your child is eating or feeding throughout the day, you should teach him or her to clean his teeth off after eating. Sugary foods or drinks can wage war with a new tooth and can cause a lot of damage. Brushing after every meal, when possible, is a great way to ensure that your child’s teeth are well taken care of.
Right after your child’s first tooth pops through the gums, you will want to start brushing his or her teeth. Until your child can brush his or her own teeth, you will want to brush his/her teeth with a toothbrush that has soft bristles and only a small, pea-sized, amount of toothpaste. If your child is younger than two, do not use toothpaste that has fluoride in it. You can make sure that your child has fun brushing, when you have a good attitude about it and make a pleasant experience for your child, they may have a higher propensity to keep up the dental hygiene skills.
Talk with your dentist about the proper age for your child to start flossing. Make a plan with your dentist to ensure your child’s teeth are always being well taken care of. If you notice any sensitivity in the teeth or signs of decay, talk with your dentist as soon as possible.
Preventing Tooth Decay with Regular Checkups
When sugar is left in your mouth, it can turn into an acid that will break down the enamel covering that protects your teeth. Children are at a high risk for tooth decay simply because children and adolescents often do not practice dental hygiene habits on a regular basis. Brushing and flossing properly is necessary to minimize the chances of tooth decay.
Starting at a young age, your child should be going into the dentist at least once every six months for a checkup and a dental cleaning. The cleaning and a fluoride treatment will keep your child’s teeth as strong as possible. In the molars of young children, there are deep grooves that are hard to reach with a toothbrush. A sealant can “seal” these deep grooves to ensure that decay does not start to form in these groves. Sealants will be monitored, to ensure they are doing their job, at each checkup.