Your child’s first visit
The first “regular” dental visit should be just after your child’s third birthday. The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. 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). 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 your first visit we will:
- Examine your mouth, teeth and gums.
- Evaluate adverse habits like thumb sucking.
- Check to see if you need fluoride.
- Teach you about cleaning your teeth and gums.
- Suggest a schedule for regular dental visits.
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 protect the chewing surfaces of teeth from cavities with dental sealants. 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, brushing regularly and the use of fluoride in toothpastes or supplements 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 digest 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 and how often (i.e. juice, soda).
- 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.
Dental sealants are very thing coatings used to fill in deep grooves and pits in teeth that can harbor bacteria. Sealants are applied to healthy chewing surfaces of the teeth to prevent decay and cavities – especially among children. According to the Centers for Disease Control, tooth decay affects more than half of children ages 6 – 8, and even older children and teens. By applying sealants, families can prevent decay and the save on the costs associated with filling cavities. If you plan to get dental sealants, the CDC recommends doing so shortly after the molars have erupted from the gums – usually beginning around age 6.
Did you know…
· Dental sealants can last up to 10 years in the average patient.
· Many Hillsboro parents choose sealants for their kids because it is more affordable and less invasive to prevent cavities than it is to treat irreversible dental decay.
· Sealants are white or clear in color, making them virtually invisible when talking, smiling or eating.
·Dental sealants cover approximately 90 percent of the tooth structure and are 100 percent effective when fully preserved on the teeth.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know if dental sealants are right for my child?
Sealants may be right for your child if he or she has molar teeth that are healthy and free of decay. Schedule a dental consultation for a complete examination to determine if dental sealants could be a preventative health solution for your children.
What should I expect when my child gets dental sealants?
Your child will not experience any pain when sealants are placed. There is no drilling, and the entire tooth is left intact for the procedure. The tooth will be thoroughly cleaned and treated with a special gel before the sealant is painted on and cured. Although your child may at first feel the sealants on his or her teeth, the sealants are very thin and easy to adapt to.
Are there any special care instructions to follow after the sealants are placed?
Normal eating habits can be resumed after dental sealants are applied, although the sealants should be checked at every dental appointment for deterioration. Sealants that are damaged or missing can be replaced.