There are a lot of milestones to experience during a child’s first few years of life. Heading to the dentist isn’t one most parents think much about until the day arrives.
When Is the Right Time?
Most dental professionals agree that a child should make their first trip to the dentist around age 1, or around the time his or her first tooth erupts. This helps the dentist check things out early to avoid problems in the future, create a relationship with the young patient and help establish dental visits as part of a child’s normal routine.
What Dentist Should I Choose?
You may love your dentist, but think about what his/her office may look like to a small child. Most adult dentists are not equipped to handle small children or their dental needs. Their equipment is too big, the atmosphere is too adult-like and the staff isn’t properly trained for dealing with young ones.
Instead, choose a dental office that caters to the young and growing patient. Look for a kid-friendly office (one that is bright and cheery) that offers specialized services for children and who knows how to build a friendly rapport with young patients.
Preparing Your Child for the Big Day
Kids tend to feel anxious when they think their parents are anxious, so don’t make a big deal about your child’s first dental visit. Sure, talk about it with them, but don’t get too excited and be careful about the words you use when describing the visit. Never say “it won’t hurt.” That will only set an expectation that it will.
Here are some tips for getting ready for the big day:
- Take small children to the office with older siblings. That way the environment will be more familiar to them.
- Practice opening wide in front of a mirror. Kids love to show off, so explain that the dentist wants to see their beautiful teeth.
- Read a book once or twice that explains a dental visit with your child a few days (or weeks, or both!) before the visit.
Once You Arrive
Be calm and nonchalant when driving to the office for your appointment. Be on time, but don’t be too early to avoid having to wait too long.
Most children’s dentists have waiting rooms filled with toys, books, video games, etc. Allow your child to explore. This will help alleviate any stress and make the appointment more fun.
At Playtime Dental, we understand that preparing yourself and your child for such a big milestone can seem stressful. By catering to young and growing patients, we know exactly how to make your first (and subsequent) visits as easy and enjoyable as possible. Be sure to talk with our staff about what you can do to make your child’s first dental visit as smooth as possible.
Only a handful of people have issues with fluoride. There’s no question that it reduces the risk of tooth decay with children, though. In this blog post, we’ll try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions we get about fluoride use.
What is Fluoride?
Fluoride isn’t manufactured by some chemical process in an industrial laboratory setting. It’s a mineral. It’s found in our soil, water and even in some of our foods. Fluoride doesn’t just prevent tooth decay either, in some cases it can even reverse it.
How Do We Get Fluoride to Protect Our Teeth?
In most cities in the United States, fluoride is used as a preventative public health measure in drinking water, so that’s one way. Plus, nearly all toothpastes contain fluoride. It’s also found in a variety of over-the-counter oral health products. Dentists also use fluoride in specific dental applications.
Why Would My Child Need Fluoride?
We know that kids love sugar, but even when they are careful to limit their sugar intake, our mouths are still littered with bacteria. When sugar and our natural bacteria combine, acid forms and tooth enamel is damaged. That begins the degradation of the teeth. Fluoride works to prevent a child’s teeth from becoming damaged by acid. It can even reverse tooth decay in its early stages.
What if Our Town Doesn’t Have Fluoridated Water?
If fluoridated water isn’t available in your area, it’s likely that your child will be at a higher risk of tooth decay. You’ll want to talk with your family dentist, who can arrange for fluoride drops or treatments for your child.
When Should We Begin Using Fluoride With Our Child?
A little smear of toothpaste can be used on a toothbrush once the first tooth erupts. As other teeth begin erupting, there shouldn’t be any issues with gently brushing. Don’t use too much toothpaste, though. You don’t want fluorosis to set in. If it does, and it’s on baby teeth it will be there until the adult teeth push the baby teeth out.
Fluoride is an important supplement in maintaining your child’s dental health, but it must be carefully monitored. Your child should have his or her first dental visit when that first tooth erupts. That’s one of the first steps in establishing proper oral hygiene and quality overall health. Contact us at Playtime Dental by calling 419-774-PLAY. We’ve treated children of all ages and would be happy to help your little one with his or her dental care.
If your child has had a tooth removed or lost a tooth earlier than the average, you should know of an oral appliance called a space maintainer. Space maintainers serve the purpose of holding space for a child’s permanent teeth to erupt if your child has had a tooth removed or lost a tooth too early. Their use in the early years can prevent costly problems down the road.
Candidates for Space Maintainers
If your child loses a baby tooth too early (before the permanent tooth is ready to emerge) then a space maintainer might be an option to help. It will hold the space left open by the missing tooth so that there is enough room for the adult tooth to enter the mouth. Children might also require space maintainers if they have primary teeth pulled as a result of dental decay. Regardless of which scenario has unfolded for your child, you should understand that a space maintainer will support your little one’s dental health.
Space Maintainer Details
Space maintainers are made by dentists and orthodontists with either a metal or acrylic material. It can be fabricated so it is a removable or a fixed appliance that will be placed in your child’s mouth. The fixed variety comes in different kinds: unilateral band and loop, unilateral band and loop with a distal shoe if the tooth lost does not have a tooth behind it, or a bilateral space maintainer for the upper or lower arch which holds space for teeth on both sides of the mouth if teeth are lost on both sides.
The space maintainer will minimize crowding issues as baby teeth are lost. This way, future orthodontic treatment may not be required as your little one’s teeth will have enough open space to shift into. It is worth noting that space maintainers are not necessary for every single child who prematurely loses a tooth. Be sure to discuss this option with your child’s dentist to determine if it is appropriate for your child.
Getting Accustomed to the Space Maintainer
It might take your child a few days to get used to wearing the new space maintainer. Both the fixed and removable varieties are foreign objects that the mouth will take some time to get used to. Be sure to clean the space maintainer to prevent negative impacts on the teeth and gum tissue health.
You will need to bring your child back to your dentist’s office regularly so that he can gauge the progress of treatment with the use of the new space maintainer. If you have any questions, feel free to give our office a call!