When Should Your Child Go to the Dentist?
Most children get their baby teeth during the first 6 months. By age 6 or 7 years, they start to lose their primary teeth, which are replaced by secondary, permanent teeth. With proper dental care, children can prevent oral decay and disease that can cause a lifetime of complications. Today, early childhood dental caries is more common in children than asthma and hay fever.
Premier Dental Care recommends you take your child to their first dentist appointment when they get their first tooth, usually when they are 6 months to a year old. Once your child has all their baby teeth in, most dentists will recommend having them in for a regular checkup and cleaning every six months. We may ask to see your child more or less frequently depending on their oral health.
What Kind of Dentist Should You Take Your Child to?
Pediatric dentistry is a specialty. A pediatric dentist is trained in a wide range of treatment options, as well as having expertise and experience to care for your child’s teeth, gums, and mouth. When your pediatrician suggests that your child receive a dental exam, you can be assured that our pediatric dentist will provide the best possible care.
Children are more than just small adults. Children can be somewhat less patient and cooperative than adults during a dental exam. Pediatric dentists are specifically trained to examine and treat children in ways that make them feel comfortable, safe and secure. Pediatric dentists use equipment that is specially designed for the most effective treatment of infants. toddlers, and children. At Premier Dental Care we also decorate our office in a friendly playful way with children in mind.
Our Pediatric Dentist at Premier Dental Care will ensure a positive experience so your child will be a regular visitor for years to come!
What Should You and Your Child Expect at the Dentist?
At your first appointment at Premier Dental Care with your child, our dentist will assess your child’s oral health and ask about their specific eating, drinking, and oral habits such as thumb-sucking. They will also examine your child’s mouth and gently clean their teeth, usually while you sit with them on your lap in the exam chair. After the exam, the dentist will be able to provide instructions and demonstrate how to properly care for and clean your baby’s teeth.
Once your child’s teeth have all come in, regular appointments will consist of both visual examinations and regular x-rays to spot any defects or cavities. They will also have their teeth thoroughly cleaned and polished and may be given fluoride treatment. When your child is old enough to brush and floss their own teeth, the dentist or dental hygienist will also be able to demonstrate how to do so properly.
If your child shows signs of developing an uneven smile, your dentist may also recommend orthodontic care and refer you to our dedicated orthodontist.
How Do You Care for Your Child’s Oral Health at Home?
Before your child can brush and floss themselves, it’s important to do so for them. Once their first tooth comes in, you should brush once a day with non-fluoride toothpaste. Once they have teeth that touch against each other, you should also floss once every day or so.
When your child is old enough to know not to swallow toothpaste, fluoride toothpaste can and should be used. Most children can begin brushing their own teeth around age 4 or 5. It’s important to prompt your children to brush even when they begin doing it on their own and to supervise them to make sure they’re cleaning properly.
You should also make sure they’re getting the right amount of fluoride. Fluoride is important to strengthen your child’s enamel and prevent cavities. Usually just drinking regular tap water, using fluoride toothpaste, and having fluoride treatments at the dentist is enough. Always follow your dentist’s advice on how much fluoride your child requires.
Pediatric Dental Treatments
Premier Dental Care offers a variety of treatments to prevent tooth decay in children and to save or repair teeth when necessary. They include:
Fluoride applied to the enamel of teeth makes them harder and more resistant to decay. While there is a small amount of fluoride in toothpaste and in some drinking water supplies, a prescription level concentration can be applied professionally to your child’s teeth for maximum protection.
This coating can be applied by our pediatric dentist to prevent cavities by sealing the little grooves on the chewing surfaces of back teeth known as “pits and fissures.” These crevices become perfect environments for decay-causing bacteria. Immature tooth enamel is more permeable and is, therefore, less resistant to caries. Dental sealants are easy to apply and are an affordable way to provide years of protection.
Chipped teeth and fractured teeth are common childhood occurrences and can be repaired with tooth-colored bonding materials. These composite resins made of plastic and glass can be used on baby teeth as well as permanent teeth and last until your child has completed facial growth.
As your child ages, some malocclusions may become evident, typically up to seven years old. Interceptive orthodontic treatment can help direct proper tooth positioning and/or jaw growth, eliminating or reducing the need for later treatment. There are many orthodontic problems that can be detected early and this is the reason why a pediatric dentist should examine your child during his/her growth and development.
Sports & Your Child’s Teeth
For children who are active in sports, a custom-made mouthguard is highly recommended. According to the American Dental Association, “an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer dental harm when not wearing one of these protective devices”. A custom mouthguard is made specifically for your child by taking an impression of his or her teeth. This offers greater protection than an over-the-counter model. It’s an investment that pays off in the form of better protection, reduced pain, and suffering should an athletic accident arise, — and reduce dental expenses down the road!