DENTAL REFLECTIONS is a friendly, family practice, with a keen focus on children’s dentistry. Our welcoming team will do everything possible to make your child’s first dental visit a relaxed and enjoyable experience.
Preparing Your Child for Their First Visit
It is recommend that you begin bringing your child to the dentist at the age of 3. Their first appointment is likely to be a brief consultation and under most circumstances, will not involve any treatment. At this time we like to introduce your child to the different sounds and smells and let them meet the team. This also gives you a chance to ask any questions you may have.
Tips for creating an enjoyable first dental experience
Children at a young age do not have any preconceived ideas about the dentist. If you are an anxious or phobic dental patient yourself, please try not to pass this on to your child.
Bring your child with you to a few of your dental visits when they are young, so that they become familiar with the dental practice and the process of going to the dentist.
Do not reassure them before their visit. Reassuring statements can trigger an unnecessary response of panic or alarm. Instead, treat a dental visit like any other day-to-day activity.
Children are more likely to be able to cope with a new experience when they aren’t exhausted, so please try to make your child’s dental appointments for a time of day when they will be well rested.
When discussing dental treatment at home, talk about the dentist in a positive manner so that your child sees it as something to look forward to. Playing dentist at home, where you let your child count your teeth and you count theirs, can also help prepare them and generate excitement around visiting the dentist.
We believe that the best dental treatment is preventative. For this reason, early dental care is important. Regular dental visits will ensure your child’s baby teeth remain strong, healthy and cavity free, allowing their adult teeth to erupt into a healthy mouth.
Primary teeth start forming in the jaw before birth. Most babies are irritable when new teeth break through their gums. Signs and symptoms your baby is teething can include:
– Frequent crying and crankiness – A mild fever
– Redness of the cheeks and excess drooling – Loss of appetite
– Mild diarrhea – Sucking on toys
It is important not to ignore symptoms such as fever and diarrhea in your child. If these symptoms occur please seek medical advice to eliminate other reasons for the symptoms.
Your baby’s first tooth usually erupts at 6 – 9 months of age. A complete set of 20 teeth is usually present at 3 years of age.
Relieving discomfort of teething
• Give your baby a teething ring or wet wash cloth to chew. Teething rings may be chilled in the refrigerator before use to help manage discomfort.
• Chewing on non-sweetened rusks
Thumb sucking is a natural reflex in babies. Most children will stop sucking their thumb, fingers or dummies between the age of two and four years. If children continue to suck their thumb after their permanent teeth appeared they risk developing crooked teeth and also speech defects may arise, especially with the “S” and “TH” sounds.
Early childhood decay
Just like adult teeth, primary teeth can decay from the time they appear in the mouth. Decay is caused when bacteria use sugars from foods to produce acids. These acids attack teeth causing mineral loss. Early stages of mineral loss are reversible, but continued acid attack leads to a cavity that requires filling.
Babies are born without decay-causing bacteria in their mouths. The bacteria is passed to babies by contact such as kissing, food tasting, or by cleaning a dummy in a parent’s mouth. Transfer of bacteria can be delayed if parents and caregivers have healthy, decay free mouths. One of the best ways to give your child a head start to staying decay free is to ensure your own teeth and gums are healthy and clean.
How to prevent tooth decay
• Gently wipe gums with a moistened soft cloth once per day before teeth appear.
• Gently massage teeth and gums with a small, soft toothbrush with water twice per day, when the first tooth appears until 24 months of age, particularly after the last evening feed.
• A smear of special low-fluoride toothpaste may be introduced at 24 months following manufactures directions.
• Avoid sugary foods and drinks – these feed the bacteria in plaque, which cause decay.
• Avoid putting a child to bed with a bottle containing anything other than water.
• Avoid dipping a child’s dummy in any foods or liquids
Lead by example
Children tend to imitate their parents behaviors. By looking after your own teeth you set a good example for your children. Talk to your child about the importance of healthy teeth and gums. Visit DENTAL REFLECTIONS regularly to maintain your own oral health, which will in turn benefit your child.
When I was a kid, I had a real sweet tooth and a lot of cavities. It was no fun. I think my toothaches even made it harder for me to concentrate in school. I’m going to make sure that my kid doesn’t go through that. I’ve already talked to Danny’s dentist about what I can do to help prevent him from getting cavities. Here’s the plan:
No kid can resist sweets all the time, but I’m going to make sure that Danny only has them at mealtimes. Snacking on sweets throughout the day would only help the bacteria that cause tooth decay, and since he still uses a sippy cup, I am going to be real careful about what I put in it and when. No soda ever! Even fruit juices and milk contain sugars that can promote tooth decay if he sips them all day. Water is best between meals.
Our dentist showed me how to help Danny brush his teeth with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste and a soft child-sized brush. Danny likes doing it himself but I still need to make sure we clean every tooth. Okay, big guy – now it’s your turn. Don’t forget to spit!
Danny actually likes going to the dentist. I’ve been taking him two times every year since his first birthday. He gets fluoride treatments there to strengthen his teeth. In a few years when his permanent molars grow in, the dentist may want to put sealants on them to smooth out those little grooves that can trap bacteria and food particles. I sure wish I had gotten sealants when I was a kid! I enjoyed Danny’s dental visits too. I like talking to the dentist about what’s going on in my son’s mouth and how to take care of his teeth. So far, Danny has not had a single cavity. Who says history always repeats itself? There are better ways to be like father, like son.