The first visit is a time to introduce your child to a pediatric dental practice and begin the journey of being comfortable and gaining confidence for future appointments. We encourage parents and other care providers to establish a child’s dental home by the time they are 12 months of age.
During this visit, we address your concerns and provide:
A thorough review of your child’s health history
A lap exam with your child where you will assist the dentist in getting a thorough look inside your child’s mouth
A review of any findings and suggestions for home dental care
Thorough oral hygiene instruction demonstrating how to best brush your child’s teeth, the appropriate toothbrush, and the use of fluoride
An overview on how and when teeth come in
A cavity risk assessment We will also talk about preventing and managing dental trauma, as well as offer referrals to dental specialists if needed.
After scheduling your initial visit, talk to your child about the dentist in an age appropriate, fun way. Avoid using words like “pain,” “hurt” and “shot,” and we will avoid using them as well! Finally, once you are at your first appointment, let the dentist take center stage. Pediatric dentists are pros when it comes to connecting with children and making them comfortable in a new (sometimes scary) environment.
Many times when pediatric dentists ask parents how brushing is going at home they often reply in two ways, “Oh, he doesn’t let me brush his teeth” or “She loves to brush her teeth by herself”. As gross as it may sound, I often remind parents that a child will often fuss and squirm when you try to change his dirty diaper, but you still do it anyway, right? The same is true for teeth.
The child may not like it, but you are not hurting them when you are brushing. In fact, it is a far greater disservice to the oral health of your child not to brush. You just have to do it. When you leave food on teeth all night you are creating the perfect environment for bacteria to cause cavities. And to the parent who thinks a child can brush all on their own, research shows that a child does not have the dexterity to brush her own teeth until she is 9-10 years old.
To these parents I often say that the child can have some independence and brush her own teeth but you HAVE to go in after the child to get the spots they often miss (back teeth and at the gumline). This photo demonstrates the perfect position for parents who are struggling with their child to brush!
As medical professionals, dentists are in the top 1% most “at risk” careers for exposure to communicable diseases. Since the HIV/AIDS era of the 1980’s, dentists have really revolutionized the way we practice. These included incorporating PPE (protective equipment) such as masks, gloves and eye protection with every patient. Now with COVID-19, even more protective measures have been put in place.
As pediatric dentists, we encourage you to prepare your child for the “new look” of the dental team prior to appointment. Depending on the nature of the appointment your child may see the dentist in a full length gown, N-95 mask, eye protection and a face shield. Dentists can be daunting enough, and we as a pediatric dental community believe that preparing your child for this new look will aid in the success of appointments.
Thank you for your understanding as we take temperatures of the entire family, ask a series of questions regarding your health and ask you to wear inside our clinics. Our whole goal is to continue to offer your child the very best care in the safest environment possible.
The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. Parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush.
Once children are 3 to 6 years old, then the amount should be increased to a pea-size dollop and perform or assist your child’s toothbrushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively. Children should spit out and not swallow excess toothpaste after brushing.
Parents often ask me if I think their child would benefit from using an electric toothbrush versus a manual toothbrush. Here’s the best answer I’ve come up with: whichever one kids will use to brush their teeth, use that!
Numerous studies have been done proving the effectiveness of electric toothbrushes. On average, after 3 months of use, people who used electric toothbrushes saw their plaque reduced by 21% and gingivitis reduced by 11%.
There are several main reasons why I believe electric toothbrushes are better for kids. One, they have built-in timers to promote longer brushing. Two, kids tend to be more focused on brushing when using an electric toothbrush. And three, there are so many fun, engaging, helpful apps that sync with electric toothbrushes that kids actually look forward to brushing their teeth.