When should my child first see a dentist?
First visit by first birthday” sums it up. Your child should visit a pediatric dentist when the first tooth comes in, usually between 6 and 12 months of age. This visit will establish a dental home for your child. Early examination and preventive care will protect your child’s smile now and in the future.
What is a Pediatric Dentist? How are they different from general dentist?
Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.
Why are the Primary Teeth so Important?
- Some of these teeth may remain in the mouth until your child is 12 or 13 years old.
- They help children chew and speak clearly.
- They save space for the developing adult teeth under the gum so when it’s time for them to erupt, they will appear in the proper positions in the mouth.
- Tooth decay in baby teeth can cause infection, including an abscess, which can lead to pain.
- Toothaches and dental pain are a major reason for missed school and activities
- Children with baby teeth decay may have problems eating, sleeping and focusing because of pain and may not grow and develop normally.
- A child with visible decay may become self-conscious and withdraw from social situations, wanting to be at home instead of interacting with their peers.
How can I prepare my child for the dental visit?
Children pick up cues from your emotions so be as natural and relaxed as possible when telling your child about the dental appointment.
- Tell your child that he/she will be going to a special place for children only and they’ll meet new people who want to help him/her to stay healthy.
- Avoid phrases such as “It’s not going to hurt,” “You don’t have to get a shot,” which may sound graphic and scary for your child. We tactfully use child-friendly words and phrases.
- If you’re unsure how to answer your child’s questions, simply tell him/her that you don’t know. Encourage your child to ask these questions when he/she arrives in the office.
- If your child has a favorite toy or book, bring it along. Feel free to let us know if there is anything that we can do to help make your child at ease.
- Please don’t be upset if your child cries during the visit. This is a normal coping mechanism for younger children to deal with the unknown. Please be prepared to let us talk to your child while you observe quietly. Too many people talking at the same time will confuse your child and may increase anxiety.
Are X-rays necessary for my child?
Since every child is unique, the need for X-rays varies from child to child. Films are taken after reviewing your child’s medical and dental histories and preforming a clinical examination, and only when they are likely to yield information than a visual exam alone cannot. There are many “hidden” problems that cannot be detected by a visual exam, including cavities between the teeth, disease of the nerves and roots of the teeth or congenitally missing teeth.
High speed film, digital X-rays, and lead apron shielding assure that your child receives a minimal amount of radiation exposure.
A social story is a visual aid for children on the Autism Spectrum. We have worked very hard on a custom story, specific to Primary Care, please click on link below to read the whole Story.