Children’s Dentistry – Johnston, IA
Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist
The first dental visit should be within 6 months of your child’s first tooth, or by age one. The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. We may ask you to sit in the dental chair and hold your child during the examination. You may also be asked to wait in the reception area during part of the visit so that a relationship can be built between your child and the dentist.
We will gently examine your child’s teeth and gums. X-rays may be taken (to reveal decay and check on the progress of your child’s permanent teeth under the gums) if your child is old enough to tolerate them. We may clean your child’s teeth and apply topical fluoride to help protect the teeth against decay. We will 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.
What should I tell my child about the first dental visit?
We are asked this question many times. We suggest you prepare your child the same way you would before their first haircut or trip to the shoe store. Your child’s reaction to his first visit to the dentist may surprise you.
Here are some “First Visit” Tips:
- Take your child for a “preview” of the 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.
During the first visit the dentist will:
- Examine their mouth, teeth, and gums.
- Evaluate adverse habits, like thumb sucking.
- Check to see if they need fluoride.
- Teach you and the child about cleaning their teeth and gums.
- Suggest a schedule for regular dental visits.
What about preventative care?
Children and tooth decay 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. A dental sealant is a tooth-colored coating that is 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 that is high in sugary foods and beverages, and/or a lack of brushing. Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly is very important. 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 oral bacteria digests the sugars of the food or drink. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time, the acidic 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 cause cavities.
Tips for Cavity Prevention
- Limit the frequency of meals and snacks.
- Choose nutritious snacks.
- Avoid giving your child sticky foods.
- Limit sugary beverages, like juice, gatorade, and soda.
- Encourage brushing and flossing.
- For children ages 0-3, use a small smear of fluoridated toothpaste.
- For children ages 3-6, use a pea-size amount of fluoridated toothpaste.
The first baby teeth that come into the mouth are generally the two bottom front teeth. You will notice this when your baby is about 6-8 months old. Next to follow will usually be the two upper front teeth. The remainder of your baby’s teeth will usually appear in pairs, periodically until the child is about 2 years old.
At around 2 years of age, your child should have all 20 baby 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.
Baby teeth are important as they not only hold space for permanent teeth, but they are important for chewing, speech, and appearance. For this reason, it is very important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene all throughout life.
Do You Need A Family Dentist?
We pride ourselves in providing excellent care to the whole family! Call us with any questions or to schedule a consultation.