A child’s first visit to the dentist should be enjoyable. Children are not born with a natural fear of the dentist, but they can fear the unknown. Our office makes a special effort to use pleasant, non-frightening, simple words to describe each treatment. We want you and your child to feel at ease from the moment your family arrives at our office.
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends… Children should visit the dentist by their first birthday. It is important that your child’s newly erupted teeth (erupting at six to 12 months of age) receive proper dental care and benefit from proper oral hygiene habits right from the beginning.
Bring your child for a dental exam to ensure dental health and to devise a plan to correct any issues. A dentist will check for cavities, gum health, alignment, and other issues to keep your child’s teeth healthy and strong.
- Oral Examination
- Low Radiation Digital X-Rays
Bring your child in for regular appointments to ensure cavity prevention. A dental hygienist will perform procedures to keep your child’s smile healthy and bright.
- Low Radiation Digital X-Rays
- Dental Crowns
- Oral Health Education
Correct any dental health issues before they become a more serious problem. A dentist will perform corrective procedures to maximize your child’s dental health.
- Cavity Fillings
- Stainless Steel Crowns/Caps
- Root Canals
- Space Maintainers
- Silver Diamine Fluoride
- Release of Tongue and Lip Ties
If necessary, your dentist may administer sedation to ease anxiety and/or reduce pain. Applying the proper sedation, when appropriate, can ease your child’s anxiety and allow a dentist to perform dental procedures in a safe and predictable manner.
- Nitrous Oxide
- IV Sedation
- General Anesthesia
A dentist can craft custom guards to protect your child’s teeth and soft tissues. The proper guards can protect your child’s teeth and soft tissues from sports injuries or grinding.
- Sports Guards
- Night Guards
Bring your child to a dentist right away to treat injured teeth. A dentist will repair the injured teeth, prevent infection, and ensure dental health.
- Chipped or Broken Teeth
- Lost Teeth
- Broken/lost Crowns or Fillings
When New Teeth Arrive
Your child’s first primary, or “baby,” teeth will begin to erupt between the ages of six to 12 months and will continue to erupt until about age three. During this time, your child’s gums may feel tender and sore. To help alleviate this discomfort, we recommend that you soothe the gums by rubbing a clean finger or a cool, wet cloth across them. You may also choose to make use of a teething ring.
Your child’s primary teeth are shed at various times throughout childhood. Permanent teeth begin erupting at age six and continue until age 21. Adults have 28 permanent teeth (32, teeth including wisdom teeth).
Importance of Treating Baby Teeth
The health and care of primary or “baby” teeth is important for many reasons. Despite the fact they will eventually fall out, the neglect of these teeth can lead to many other health issues in a child. Cavities found and left untreated in baby teeth often pave the way for developmental problems in the permanent or “adult” teeth and also lead to a higher rate of cavities in those adult teeth. Baby teeth help affect the development of speech, aid in chewing and the initial stages of digestion, provide a proper spacing guide for the eruption and alignment of permanent teeth, and help with the development of the upper and lower jaw bones ultimately affecting facial esthetics. Although the front baby teeth start to fall out in children between ages 6-7, sometimes the back chewing teeth are not lost until the age of 13.
Preventing Tooth Decay With Regular Checkups
Tooth decay is caused by sugars left in your mouth that turn into an acid, which can break down your teeth. Children are at high risk for tooth decay for a simple reason: many children and adolescents do not practice regular, good oral hygiene habits. Proper brushing and flossing routines combined with regular dental visits help keep tooth decay away.
Your child should visit the dentist every six months for regular dental cleanings and checkups. We recommend fluoride treatments twice a year along with cleanings to keep teeth their strongest. Tooth sealants are also recommended because they “seal” the deep grooves in your child’s teeth, preventing decay from forming in these hard-to-reach areas. Sealants last for several years but will be monitored at your child’s regular checkups.
Adopting healthy oral hygiene habits
As your child’s teeth erupt, be sure to examine them every two weeks, looking for lines and discoloration that may be caused by decay. Remember that sugary foods and liquids can attack a new tooth, so take care that your child brushes his or her teeth after feeding or eating. We recommend brushing two times a day for optimal oral hygiene.
Brushing can be fun, and your child should brush as soon as the first tooth arrives. When a baby’s tooth erupts, parents should brush the tooth with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a grain of rice amount of fluoridated toothpaste. We suggest reviewing proper tooth brushing procedures with your child. Give us a call anytime if you have questions about how to brush your little one’s teeth.
Flossing is also a part of good oral hygiene habits, and your dentist will discuss with you the right time to start flossing your child’s teeth. If you notice signs of decay, contact your dentist immediately.
The Options of Nitrous Oxide or General Anesthesia
Nitrous Oxide, often called “laughing gas,” is a mixture of two gases, nitrous oxide and oxygen. These very same gases can be found in the air we breathe every day, but in a different combination of course. Nitrous oxide does not put your child to sleep but is a safe and effective technique to reduce anxiety and enhance effective communication between your child and the dentist. The benefit to using nitrous oxide is that it is administered in as little as 2-5 minutes through regular breathing while your child remains fully awake and is eliminated from the body just as quickly once discontinued.
General Anesthesia, often referred to as “being put to sleep” or “sleep dentistry,” is a medical procedure that renders your child completely asleep in a pain-free environment, allowing for the safe provision of dental diagnostics and treatment. Treatment is completed in a hospital or surgical center setting and conducted as ‘outpatient’ surgery, meaning that the patient is usually able to go home a few hours after the procedure is finished. Dental treatment under general anesthesia is an effective way to provide care to apprehensive children, children too young to be able to sit in the dental chair for treatment, and children or adolescents with special health care needs.