The American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommend that your child visit a pediatric dentist by the age of one. The purpose of the visit is to build a trusting relationship with your child and also laying the groundwork for a lifetime of good oral health. For your first visit, our team has the pleasure of getting to know your child. It is also an opportunity for us to thoroughly explain and answer any questions that you or your child may have.
During the visit, we encourage our parents to "sneak-a-peek"– amazingly, seeing is believing! Many children listen and behave wonderfully during the procedure. However, it is normal for some children to cry during certain parts of the visit. Most of them are still able to complete the procedure with our compassionate coaxing. Our first visit consists of a complete dental exam, cleaning, fluoride treatment, and radiographs when required. Here, we will examine for any dental caries, gum diseases, your child’s bite for correct alignment of the jaws. The appointment also includes a discussion of your child’s growth & development and the final consultation to address any further questions or necessary dental treatment.
Prior to the appointment, it is a wonderful idea to inform your child of the visit and its purpose with careful considerations. Avoid using words that may cause fear such as “needle/shot,” “pull,” or “drill.” The first appointment rarely requires such procedures. However, when certain treatments are required, be aware of that pediatric dentists are trained to explain all parts of the procedures in a non-threatening and non-frightening way and thus keeping your child calm and comfortable. It is important to be positive regardless of the parents' past dental experiences. There are some suggestions to prepare your youngster for the initial visit.
• Present the visit as a positive experience for your child.
• Tell your child that we will "count," "brush," and "take pictures" of their teeth to enhance their understanding of the procedures.
• Avoid negative phrases such as "hurt," "drill," "pull," and "shot/needle."
• Relax! Your child will probably sense any anxiety on your part.
Our office is now your "dental home” and a resource for answering all your dental questions as well as monitoring growth & development. We hope to emphasize preventive dentistry, make referrals when appropriate and provide your child with a familiar setting in case of emergencies. Again, our primary goal is to serve your children in an ideal environment that allows us to build a secure and trusting relationship.
CHILD INFANT CARE
We recommend that your child visit a pediatric dentist when the first tooth comes in, usually between 6 and 12 months of age. The most important reason is to establish a dental home for your child. A big concern at this age is Early Childhood Caries (ECC), formerly known as “baby bottle tooth decay” or “nursing caries”. The earlier the dental visit, the better the chance of a lifetime of good dental habits.
Fluoride is a safe, highly effective substance that helps teeth become more resistant to dental decay. It is found in fluoridated water, some foods, and dental products, such as toothpaste and mouthrinses. Consuming fluoridated water and practicing good oral hygiene ensure significantly lower cavities.
An evaluation of the level of fluoride in your primary drinking water source is done during the visit since children between the ages of six months and 16 year may require fluoride supplements. Fluoride can also be applied topically during your regular check up visit.
Dental sealant is a plastic resin that bonds to the deep grooves in your tooth's chewing surface to protect the grooved and pitted surfaces of the tooth. With sealants, tooth brushing becomes easier and the chances for the teeth to be cavity-free are higher!
Fillings are used to repair a tooth damaged by decay, cracks, and minor fractures. Tooth-colored fillings (composite resins) are one of the variety of materials that is offered at our office. They are placed in one appointment. Because they are similar in color to natural teeth, they are much more attractive than the traditional silver fillings (amalgam). However, composites are not for every tooth. The material is best for small restorations.
What kind of follow up care should I expect?
Initially, many experience sensitivity to hot and cold temporarily and the sensitivity will fade over time. It is important to note that any restoration will last longer with good oral health. The regular practice of brushing and flossing will help extend the life of your tooth-colored filling. The dentist will evaluate the filings for any changes that may require a repair.
There are times when it is necessary to extract a tooth. Dental decay, infections, orthodontic corrections, or impacted wisdom tooth may require removal of a tooth. Also, an over-retained primary tooth may need to be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt. While this procedure is typically very quick, it is important to share with the dentist any concerns or preferences for sedation.
When a primary tooth has been removed prematurely, its neighboring teeth may shift causing problems with spacing. To avoid these complications, the dentist may recommend placement of an appliance called a space maintainer. The appliance will hold the space for the eruption of the permanent tooth.
Bleeding is typical after a tooth has been extracted. A small piece of gauze should be kept in place of the tooth extraction for long enough for the blood to clot. It is recommended to keep the mouth clean during the healing process through rinsing with salt water several times per day.
Complications rarely occur. However, when facing any complications, such as additional swelling, contact the dentist immediately in case of infection. Children's Tylenol or Ibuprofen may be used to increase their comfort after the procedure. It is often best if these medications are not used until the blood clot has formed.
Radiographs (X-rays) are essential diagnostic tools for the prevention of dental diseases. They are not taken on every check-up visits. The dentist may request them only when necessary based on medical and dental history, regular screenings, age considerations, and risk for dental diseases.
Parents often ask if dental x-rays are safe. They are perfectly safe when taken properly. Dental x-rays use only the low-level radiation to capture images of the mouth. However, the amount of radiation exposure a patient receives from a full mouth series of dental x-rays is equal to what an individual normally receives in a day from natural sources that are present in everyday lives.
Dental x-rays are helpful in diagnosing:
• Dental abscesses/cysts
• Bone loss
• Tumors (cancerous/non-cancerous)
• Interproximal decay (“cavity between the teeth”)
• Developmental abnormalities
• Improper tooth and root positions
NITROUS OXIDE/OXYGEN (“Laughing Gas”)
Although many children are comfortable with dental procedures, some with a level of anxiety that prevents coping skills or of very young age may need additional support. Sedation is safe when performed by a trained pediatric dentist who follows the sedation guideline from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Nitrous oxide/oxygen (“Laughing Gas”) is a good option for this case.
This is perhaps the safest form of sedation used in dentistry today. Your child will smell a sweet, pleasant aroma and can relax as the result. During the sedation, the child will remain fully conscious, keeping all natural reflexes when breathing the laughing gas. It is non-addictive, mild, easily taken, and quickly eliminated by the body. Although this inhalation sedation is helpful, it is not effective for those with severe anxiety, nasal congestion, extensive treatment needs, or discomfort wearing a nasal mask.
EMERGENCY DENTAL CARE
When a dental emergency occurs, contact us immediately.