Your child’s first experience at the dentist will leave a lasting impression that significantly impacts your child’s future oral health. The importance of your child’s first few visits is to introduce them to our office and to further educate you on your child’s dental care and daily habits.
We won’t force your child to complete their initial exam or cleaning. We realize it can take years to counteract traumatic first appointments, and we see many adults who fear the dentist because of what happened to them as a child. We give your child the time, patience and attention required to make coming to the dentist a positive experience!
Your child’s first experience at the dentist will leave a lasting impression that significantly impacts your child’s future oral health. The importance of the first few visits is to introduce your child to our office and to educate you on your child’s dental care and daily habits.
We do not force your child to complete the cleaning and exam. We find it takes years to counteract traumatic first appointments and we see many adults who fear the dentist because of what happened to them as a child.
YOUR CHILD'S FIRST VISIT
Your early childhood dental experiences may be much different than your child’s first visit with us. In preparation for your child’s first visit, try to schedule your child’s appointment during a time of day when your child is usually in a good mood. Make sure your child gets a good rest the night before or takes any regular nap on schedule the day of their appointment. Please be cautious not to use words such as shot, needle, pain, hurt, or blood in reference to their future visit. You can help your child have a relaxing, positive experience with the dentist by preparing them with your purposeful, optimistic outlook and encouraging words. We will go over your child’s teeth, when their next teeth will be coming in, high risk areas your child may have, home hygiene and diet instructions.
Our goal is to complete the entire appointment, but if your child is apprehensive, we give your child a “happy” visit. We have your child stand next to us, explain in kid-friendly words about each step and what instruments we use. In our experience, children who are unable to complete the process during the first visit will complete the entire appointment by their third visit.
WHEN TO START CHILD DENTAL CARE
The American Dental Association (ADA) and several professional pediatric associations recommend that your child establish a dental home by age one. We see kids from 1-2 years of age for first visits. You have options to see us for your child’s dental care or there are several specialist options in our area. We see many children in our office, but some parents decide to see a pediatric dentist. We sincerely respect whatever you decide is best for your family.
WHY ARE BABY TEETH IMPORTANT?
Baby teeth give children self-confidence with the ability to chew solid foods, to speak, to develop normally, and to keep space for permanent teeth to emerge in the correct position. The front and back adult teeth come in first and the middle adult teeth come in last. Baby teeth hold space and guide adult teeth into the correct position. If baby teeth are removed, fall out prematurely, or are knocked out, then adult teeth won’t have the space they need to emerge correctly.
WHAT TOOTHPASTE SHOULD MY CHILD USE?
As soon as your child’s teeth come in, use a soft toothbrush and a smear of toothpaste. Once your child is 2 years of age, begin to use a pea-size amount of toothpaste. Continue to help your child brush his or her teeth. Our policy is to use fluoride-free toothpaste until your child can consistently spit out toothpaste and not swallow it. If too much fluoride toothpaste is swallowed as a child, the adult teeth may come in with white lines. The white lines are a condition called fluorosis.
THUMB SUCKING, FINGER SUCKING, AND PACIFIERS
Sucking is a natural habit but can cause harm to your child if the habit doesn’t stop during an appropriate time of development. These habits should stop by the time your child’s permanent teeth start to come in at age 6 but often children quit when they become more social at daycare and pre-school.
Reward good behavior instead of punishing bad behavior. Praise your child when you notice no habit. Habits such as thumb sucking may become an attention seeking habit if parents only criticize. The habit may also be a security blanket. If so, try to solve the anxiety triggers instead of the habit itself.
BABY BOTTLE TOOTH DECAY
Exposure to drinks that contain sugar over a prolonged period of time is dangerous to your child’s teeth and health. After each use of sugary beverages, clean your child’s teeth with a soft toothbrush or wet cloth. Also, anything other than water in a bottle when you put your child in bed for a nap or at night can cause rapid tooth decay and tooth loss. If your child is used to a certain beverage, you can dilute the beverage until your child is comfortable with water.
You may notice short and flat teeth or you may hear a grinding noise while your child sleeps. There are many reasons why your child may grind their teeth. Some reasons include psychological factors, phases of development, their natural anatomy, or large tonsils and adenoids. Usually no treatment is needed, but if you suspect grinding, please discuss your concerns with us.
A GENERAL DENTIST OR A PEDIATRIC DENTIST?
A pediatric dentist has completed specialized training after dental school that a general dentist has not. A pediatric dentist is well-versed in many different approaches and treatment methods for behavior modification, observing growth and development, and has hospital privileges for comprehensive treatment. At Bondurant Family Dentistry we are pleased to serve many families and their children, but we do offer referrals to area specialists under certain circumstances or due to parent preferences.