Your child’s first visit to their pediatric dentist in the Asheville area is an exciting experience. This is the first time that they will meet their dentist, get an examination, and if all goes well, discover that a dentist’s office is not a scary place after all.
You and your child should familiarize yourself with what to expect during that initial visit. As a person who’s been to the dentist before, you’ll likely have insights that you can share with your child. This first step is important to encourage good oral health in your child, which is linked to good health overall.
The First Visit To The Dentist
There is a lot of varying information out there as to when a child’s first trip to the dentist should be. Some folks, including those at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, believe that the first visit should take place before the first birthday. This is definitely good advice as early visits to the dentist promote healthier oral hygiene habits and establish a positive impression for your child early on. If you can’t make it within the first or second year, just be sure that you do so before your child’s third birthday.
What to Tell Your Kids Before Their First Visit
Take time before the actual appointment to talk to your child about what they will experience. Be sure to use positive terminology and a calm voice when you do so. Let them know that the dentist will do things like give their teeth a good cleaning and count how many teeth there are. They may even take pictures of their teeth. Avoid saying things like, “it won’t hurt” as that will only give them the impression that it might. A child’s fear of the dentist will only occur if they perceive that fear from an adult in their life. If your child has a fear of the dentist, there are ways to help them overcome it.
What Parent’s Should Expect
A child’s first dental visit is usually very quick and involves little actual treatment. Depending on the practice and doctor, you may be asked to come in and sit in a dental chair during the exam or you will be asked to wait outside in the waiting room so that the dentist can begin to build trust with your child.
The first exam will usually consist of a gentle inspection of your child’s teeth and gums. X-rays may be ordered to check on the progress of your child’s set of permanent teeth or look for decay. The first visit may also involve a light cleaning and a bit of topical fluoride to protect teeth. Most importantly of all, the dentist will go over with your child the proper ways to clean and care for their teeth and gums.
Preventative Care for Your Child’s Teeth
Preventative care is changing the way that the world looks at children’s teeth. No longer is it assumed that a child’s teeth will suffer from decay, thanks to the doctors and scientists who spend much of their time discovering what causes decay and how to prevent it.
In our office, we are very concerned with preventative care for children. That’s why we invest in the latest dental sealant technology to be used to protect children’s teeth. Sealants are high-tech plastics bonded to the surface of decay-prone teeth in the back of your child’s mouth. This is just one block set in the foundation of good oral care that we are setting for your child.
But so much of preventative care occurs in the household, which is why we need responsible parents like yourself to help us out by encouraging great oral hygiene habits, like brushing two times a day and flossing daily, and a good diet.
Cavities affect millions of adults and children throughout the world. They are often a result of a poor diet that is high in sugary, substance-less foods paired with a general lack of careful brushing. It is, of course, important for you to limit your child’s sugar intake and ensure that they brush regularly, but children that eat very slowly are at a higher risk of getting cavities because residue stays on their teeth for longer.
When a person eats something, an acid reaction takes place inside their mouth. Bacteria digest the sugars that are being ingested through food. This reaction usually takes about 20 minutes, during which time the acid can destroy the tooth structure which may eventually lead to cavities.
Dental Tips for Baby Teeth
Baby teeth will begin to appear in your child’s mouth at around six to eight months. They will appear periodically, starting at the bottom front and working their way back to the sides of the jaw. By three, your child should have all 20 of their baby teeth. Baby teeth are important for biting, chewing, speech, and appearance, which is why it is important that you take good care of your child’s baby teeth even if they aren’t permanent.
If you have more questions about visiting a pediatric dentist in the Asheville area, reach out to us. We would be happy to answer any of your questions or set you up with an initial appointment.