Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist
The first “regular” dental visit should be just after your child’s third birthday. The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. 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. Most important of all, we will review with you how to clean and care for your child’s teeth.
What should I tell my child about the first dental visit?
We are asked this question many times. 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 “First Visit” Tips:
- 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 your mouth, teeth and gums.
- Evaluate adverse habits like thumb sucking.
- Check to see if you need fluoride.
- Teach you about cleaning your teeth and gums.
- Suggest a schedule for regular dental visits.
What about preventative care?
Tooth decay and children no longer have to go hand in hand. At our office we are most concerned with all aspects of preventive care. We use the latest in dental sealant technology to protect your child’s teeth. Dental sealants are space-age plastics that are bonded to the chewing surfaces of decay-prone back teeth. This is just one of the ways we will set the foundation for your child’s lifetime of good oral health.
Most of the time cavities are due to a diet high in sugary foods and a lack of brushing. Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help. 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 the bacteria digests the sugars. 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.
- Avoid giving your child sticky foods.
- Make treats part of meals.
- Choose nutritious snacks.
The first baby teeth that come into the mouth are the two bottom front teeth. You will notice this when your baby is about 6-8 months old. Next to follow will be the 4 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 2 1/2 years old.
At around 2 1/2 years old your child should have all 20 teeth. Between the ages of 5 and 6 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 are different.
Baby teeth are important as they not only hold space for permanent teeth but they are important to chewing, biting, speech and appearance. For this reason it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene.
Frequently Asked Questions
How should I prepare for my dental exam?
Before your oral health checkup, you should brush and floss your teeth to remove any excess plaque. Brushing ahead of time allows us to spend more time caring for the hard-to-reach places on your teeth.
You can also prepare any questions about services such as fluoride treatments, dental sealants, or any additional services that can promote your oral health. Our knowledgeable dental team can help you make informed decisions about your oral hygiene. Learn more about how to prepare for your first visit here.
Should children receive regular oral health exams?
Yes! We recommend that your children visit our office every six months, beginning when their first tooth erupts above their gum line. These pediatric dental appointments allow our expert dentists to monitor their tooth, gum, and jaw development throughout their childhood.
We can also identify any alignment problems using digital X-ray technology and recommend a treatment plan. Whether this is for impacted canines or wisdom teeth procedures, we’ll help you find a solution that works for your child’s unique needs.
Do routine dental exams hurt?
The procedure should be painless. Though, if you experience some pain, sensitivity, and/or discomfort, it may indicate a problem. We’ll detect the problem and go over treatment options after the dental cleaning. Our priority is for our patients to get the care, safety, and comfort they need.
Will my dental insurance cover the dental exam?
Most insurance providers should cover the cost of the exams. We highly encourage you to speak to your insurance provider to learn about the coverage plan and the benefits it offers. We also offer flexible financing options so you don’t delay your dental care any longer.
Get Your Exceptional Dental Care
It’s essential to your whole-body health to keep your oral health in its best shape. That’s why, at Holyoke Mall Dental, we’re committed to helping you and your family create lasting oral health habits during your bi-annual dental appointments. Ready to schedule your consultation at Holyoke Mall Dental? Contact us today by calling (413) 538-7400 to speak with a helpful staff member.