A child’s first visit to the dentist should be enjoyable. Children are not born with a natural fear of the dentist, but they can fear the unknown.
Our office makes a special effort to use pleasant, non-frightening, simple words to describe each treatment. We want you and your child to feel at ease from the moment your family arrives at our office. The more all of you know about the first visit, the better you will feel.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends
Children should visit the dentist by their first birthday. It is crucial that your son or daughter’s newly erupted teeth (which emerge at six to 12 months of age) receive proper dental care and benefit from proper oral hygiene habits right from the beginning.
Getting to know your teeth is fun!
When New Teeth Arrive
Your little one’s primary or baby teeth will begin to appear between the ages of six and 12 months, and will continue to emerge until about age three. During this time, your son or daughter’s gums may feel tender and sore.
To help alleviate this discomfort, we recommend you soothe the gums by rubbing a clean finger or a cool, wet cloth across them. You may also choose to make use of a teething ring. When your child has finished teething, you can expect a total of 20 primary teeth.
Your youngster’s primary teeth are shed at various times throughout childhood. Permanent teeth begin erupting at age six, and continue until age 21. Adults have 28 permanent teeth (32, including wisdom teeth).
Adopting Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits
As your little one’s teeth appear, be sure to examine them every two weeks, and look for lines and discoloration that may be caused by decay. Remember that sugary foods and liquids can attack a new tooth, so take care that your child brushes after feeding or eating. We recommend brushing four times a day for optimal oral hygiene: after breakfast, after lunch, after dinner, and at bedtime.
Brushing can be fun, and your youngster should brush as soon as that first tooth arrives. When a baby’s tooth erupts, parents should brush it with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a pea-sized amount of toothpaste. For children younger than two, do not use fluoride toothpaste unless advised to do so by Dr. Herring or another healthcare professional. We suggest reviewing proper tooth brushing procedures with your child.
Flossing is also a part of good oral hygiene habits, and we will discuss with you the right time to start flossing. If you notice signs of decay, contact our office immediately.
Preventing Tooth Decay with Regular Checkups
Tooth decay is caused by sugars left in the mouth that turn into an acid, which can break down your teeth. Children are at high risk for tooth decay for a simple reason: many kids and adolescents do not practice regular, good oral hygiene habits. Proper brushing and flossing routines combined with regular dental visits help keep tooth decay away.
Your son or daughter should visit the dentist every six months for regular dental cleanings and checkups. We recommend fluoride treatments twice a year, along with cleanings to keep teeth their strongest.
Tooth sealants are also recommended because they “seal” the deep grooves in your child’s teeth, and prevent decay from forming in these hard-to-reach areas. Sealants last for several years, but will be monitored at regular checkups.