Your child’s first visit
Your child’s first dental visit should be just after their third birthday. The first dental visit is usually short and involves a quick examination of the child’s teeth; very little treatment will be performed. 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 your 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). 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. We will also review with you how to clean and care for your child’s teeth.
What should I tell my child about the first dental visit?
To prepare your child for their first trip to the dentist, 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 tips for your child’s first visit:
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 the dentist will:
Examine the child’s mouth, teeth and gums
Evaluate adverse habits like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting
Check to see if you need fluoride
Teach you how to properly clean your child’s teeth and gums
Suggest a schedule for regular dental visits
What about preventative care?
With more emphasis being placed on leading a healthy lifestyle, tooth decay and children no longer have to go hand-in-hand. At Cariboo Dental Clinic in Williams Lake, advocate preventive dental care. We use the latest in dental sealant technology to protect your child’s teeth. Dental sealants are a form of plastic resin that can be bonded to the chewing surfaces of decay-prone back teeth.
Cavities can often be attributed to a diet high in sugary foods and a lack of or improper brushing. Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help reduce your child’s risk for getting cavities. 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 bacteria digest the sugars from food. 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
The first baby teeth that begin to emerge in a child’s mouth are the two bottom front teeth. You will notice this when your baby is about six to eight months old. Next to follow will be the four 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 two-and-a-half years old.
By around two-and-a-half years old your child should have all 20 teeth. Between the ages of five and six 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 develop differently.
Baby teeth are important as they not only hold space for permanent teeth but they are important for chewing, biting, speech and appearance. For this reason it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene.