Early preventative care means beautiful problem free teeth for life.
The arrival of baby teeth is huge step because they allow children to begin to eat a variety of new foods. In addition to celebrating this new stage in your baby’s development, you should also begin to think about a first visit to the dentist. Although parents may not yet be concerned, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that the first dentist visit take place before a baby’s first birthday. Initially, dental visits are mostly informative in nature, but even at this early age, dentists Dr. Joyce Lin and Dr. Michelle Van will help you and your child learn about their teeth in a fun, safe and comforting environment. We know and practice prevention and establishing proper oral habits is the cornerstone to your child’s future general dental health.
Your First Visit and What to Expect
Ensure that your child is well rested and not hungry around the time of the appointment. It may be helpful to write down a list of questions ahead of time to ask us. Although it is not necessary to prepare extremely young children in advance of a dental appointment, you may want to discuss the first visit with an older child. If your child experiences some anxiety over a dental appointment, try to ease his worries by reading books about dentists or watching television shows to help to visualise what the visit will be like.
** Excellent child friendly ‘dentist’ stories include ‘ABC Dentist’ by Harriet Ziefert, ‘Maisy, Charley and the Wobbly Tooth’ by Lucy Cousins and ‘The Tooth Fairy (Peppa Pig)’ published by Ladybird Books.
During the first visit, we will typically educate parents on proper gum and tooth care for babies. We will examine the teeth in the form of counting their teeth; and age dependent, we may or may not clean their teeth. You may also discuss pacifier use and how proper nutrition helps to maintain healthy teeth. The dental professional should also demonstrate brushing techniques for parents so that they are able to knowledgeably assist young children with oral care. You are free to ask questions anytime during the appointment. By establishing a good working relationship with us, we want to ensure that your child receives proper dental care beginning at an early age. Setting a precedent for dental appointments at an early age helps children to become accustomed to a proper oral care routine.
Despite your best efforts, it is not uncommon for young children to cry, whine or wriggle during an appointment due to the unfamiliar environment and/or anxiety. Stay calm and take direction from us, trusting that our team is accustomed to working with all manner of children.
Our Baby-to-Child Dental Checklist
Some babies are born with neonatal teeth (teeth that develop in the first month) that require dental hygiene or a visit to the dentist for their removal. At least one baby tooth erupts by six months of age. And, yes, it requires cleaning.
From six months to 24 months, children begin teething in earnest, indicated by irritability, biting on objects, drooling and ear pulling. As a parent, you can help teething progress by using strategies such as massaging your child’s gums, offering a chilled teething ring or cold, wet washcloth and asking your dentist for a teething ointment recommendation.
By three years of age, most if not all baby teeth have erupted. Soon after four years, spaces for permanent teeth begin to appear as the jaw, supporting bone structure and facial bones begin to grow.
Oral Health Care Necessities for Children & Infants
Here’s a list of dental care necessities from birth on up:
- Baby Teeth Cleaning: Baby teeth should be cleaned as soon as they erupt. Clean your baby’s teeth with a soft washcloth or gauze after every bottle or meal. When more than one tooth erupts, you can soak a small-bristled child-sized (age-appropriate) toothbrush in warm water before using it on your baby’s teeth, as instructed by your dentist.Baby teeth should be brushed using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. Use water without fluoride until approximately six months of age. Encourage your children to brush their own teeth once they have the coordination to do so. Replace toothbrushes every two to three months. Children’s teeth should be brushed after they are given medicine. Acids contained in medicines may eat away at tooth enamel, which serves as a natural protective coating for the teeth.
- First Dental Visit: It is important that your child see our child friendly dentist by age one to establish a long-term dental hygiene habits and so we can provide appropriate dental care where necessary.
- Dental Sealant Application: Dental sealants are used to protect teeth from decay and are appropriate as soon as a tooth erupts.
- Fluoride Treatments: Check with your dentist about the need for fluoride treatments. Fluoride is a major component in the prevention of childhood dental caries. This is because fluoride alters the molecular structure of the tooth, making it more resistant to acid attack and decay. However, children require the right balance of fluoride treatment. Too much fluoride could be problematic and lead to fluorosis.
- Dental Flossing: Parent-assisted dental flossing should commence when two teeth erupt next to each other. Independent flossing should occur when children have the ability to do it on their own (often by six years of age).
- Orthodontics: Interceptive orthodontics and myobrace may be appropriate by seven years of age.