Infant Dental Care &Child Dentistry
Infant Dental Care and early dental visits are all about prevention. American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatrics recommend infants visit the dentist within 6 months after his or her first tooth erupts or around his or her first birthday.
What should I tell my child about the first dental visit?
To get your child ready for the visit, talk to him or her about what’s going to happen and be positive. Have your child practice opening his or her mouth to get them ready for when the dentist counts and checks their teeth. Reading books or watching videos about first dental visits may help your child be less fearful and more confident. Your child’s reaction to his first visit to the dentist may surprise you.
Moms and dads can prepare, too. Make a list of questions, as well. If your child is teething, sucking his or her thumb or using a pacifier too much, your dentist can offer some advice.
During your first visit the dentist will:
The dentist will examine your child to make sure their jaw and teeth are developing in the way they should. During the visit, you will be seated in the dental chair with your child on your lap if your child isn’t able to — or doesn’t want to — sit in the chair alone. The dentist will check for mouth injuries, cavities or other issues. Once that part of the exam is over, the dentist will clean your child’s teeth and give you tips for daily care. If your child cries a little or wiggles during the exam, don’t worry. It’s normal, and your dental team understands this is a new experience for your child!
Here are some “First Visit” tips:
- Don’t schedule an appointment during naptime.
- Instead, pick a time your child is usually well-rested and cooperative.
- Make sure your child has had a light meal and brushes their teeth before their appointment so they won’t be hungry during their visit.
- Save snacks for after the visit so they aren’t on your child’s teeth during the exam.
- Think of the appointment as a happy and fun experience. If your child becomes upset during the visit, work with your dentist to calm your child. You’re on the same team!
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.
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. Why so early? As soon as your baby has teeth, he or she can get cavities. Being proactive about your child’s dental health today can help keep his or her smile healthy for life.
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 about 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 permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Some of the permanent teeth replace baby teeth and some don’t. Don’t worry if some teeth are a few months early or late as all children are different.