Your child’s first visit
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child’s first visit to the dentist should occur by 12 months of age. The earlier we begin, the better chance we have, as a team, to prevent problems before they begin. Tell your child that Dr. Bernier is a friendly doctor who will help your child stay healthy. Talk about the visit in a positive, matter-of-fact way, as you would about any important new experience. A visit to the office can be a very pleasant adventure for both you and your child. The cartoons on the TV certainly help!
On the first visit, your child will be introduced to our dental team. Your child will be shown all the instruments Dr. B will use on the first visit, ie., the tooth counter, the tooth mirror, Mr. Thirsty, etc. Dr. B will then gently examine your child’s teeth, gums and the remainder of the mouth. X- rays will only be taken with the parent’s permission. We do not take x-rays needlessly. The teeth will be cleaned and a fluoride treatment may be applied.
Parents are welcome in the treatment rooms, however, in order to gain the trust we need to communicate with the child on a one to one basis. Dr. B and his staff educate the children in a fun and friendly which make the visits happy and exciting. Words such as drill, shot, needles, etc., are not part of our vocabulary.
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Here are some “First Visit” tips:
- Take your child for a “preview” of the office.
- Read books with them about going to the dentist.
- Review with them what the dentist will be doing at the time of the first visit.
- Speak positively about your own dental experiences.
During your first visit the dentist will:
- Examine your mouth, teeth and gums.
- Evaluate adverse habits like thumb sucking.
- Check to see if you need fluoride.
- Teach you about cleaning your teeth and gums.
- Suggest a schedule for regular dental visits.
What about preventative care?
Tooth decay and children no longer have to go hand in hand. At our office we are most concerned with all aspects of preventive care. We use the latest in dental sealant technology to protect your child’s teeth. Dental sealants are space-age plastics that are bonded to the chewing surfaces of decay-prone back teeth. This is just one of the ways we will set the foundation for your child’s lifetime of good oral health.
Most of the time cavities are due to a diet high in sugary foods and a lack of brushing. Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help. The longer it takes your child to chew their food and the longer the residue stays on their teeth, the greater the chances of getting cavities.
Every time someone eats, an acid reaction occurs inside their mouth as the bacteria digests the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time the acid environment can destroy the tooth structure, eventually leading to cavities.
Consistency of a person’s saliva also makes a difference; thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food more quickly. When a person eats diets high in carbohydrates and sugars they tend to have thicker saliva, which in turn allows more of the acid-producing bacteria that can cause cavities.
Tips for cavity prevention
- Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
- Encourage brushing, flossing and rinsing.
- Watch what your child drinks.
- Avoid giving your child sticky foods.
- Make treats part of meals.
- Choose nutritious snacks.
The first baby teeth that come into the mouth are the two bottom front teeth. You will notice this when your baby is about 6-8 months old. Next to follow will be the 4 upper front teeth and the remainder of your baby’s teeth will appear periodically. They will usually appear in pairs along the sides of the jaw until the child is about 2 1/2 years old.
At around 2 1/2 years old your child should have all 20 teeth. Between the ages of 5 and 6 the first permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Some of the permanent teeth replace baby teeth and some don’t. Don’t worry if some teeth are a few months early or late as all children are different.
Baby teeth are important as they not only hold space for permanent teeth but they are important to chewing, biting, speech and appearance. For this reason it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene.