It is recommended that your child’s first dental visit occur after their first tooth erupts. However, this varies greatly based on the comfort and cooperation of each child. Dr. Dina, therefore, likes to see kids anywhere from that first tooth eruption to three years of age. Our goal is to make your child love, not fear, the dentist. The first visit may be short and involve very little treatment, depending on the willingness of your child. We may ask you to sit in the dental chair and hold your child during the appointment. We will gently examine your child’s teeth and gums. When possible, we will clean your child’s teeth and review with you how to clean and care for their teeth at home, and evaluate any adverse habits like thumb-sucking.
If your child is older, x-rays will be taken to look for cavities and to check the progress of development of their permanent teeth under the gums. We will apply topical fluoride to help protect the teeth against decay.
After their second or third visit, we ask that you wait in the reception area during the appointment so that a relationship can be built between your child and Dr. Dina.
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 their first visit to the dentist may surprise you, and here are a few suggestions:
- 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.
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. 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.
Tips for cavity prevention
- Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
- Encourage brushing, flossing and rinsing.
- Watch what your child drinks.
- Avoid giving your child sticky foods.
- Make treats part of meals.
- Choose nutritious snacks.
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.
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.