At what age should I bring my child to the first dental visit?
Around age of 2.5 – 3 is the ideal age to have the first dental hygiene visit and a dental check-up. This is when all the baby teeth are supposed to erupt. The first visit is all about fun for kids and education of their parents.
Why should I bring my child to the first visit so soon?
Well, there are a couple of things we are looking for when child is in the dental chair.
1) We hope to count 20 baby teeth -10 on the top and 10 on the bottom
2) We are looking for any brown sticky spots, also known as dental cavities
3) We hope to see good spacing in between teeth
4) We are looking for amount of build-up on teeth, also known as plaque (bacteria) or calcified spots called calculus or tartar
5) We are assessing child’s ability to brush their own teeth
6) We are looking for any suspicious lesions in the mouth or anomalies (abnormal appearance in anatomy of the soft and hard tissues
7) We discuss any bad habits that child has acquired and it changes the way his or her teeth are supposed to look like
8) We discuss toothpaste that the child is using (having child using fluoridated toothpaste at such a young age can lead to white spots on adult teeth because child does not know how to spit the toothpaste)
What are dental sealants and when is it a good idea to have them done?
Dental sealants are plastic coatings that are placed on the chewing surfaces of the permanent back teeth (molars or premolars) to help protect them from the cavities (bacteria). The reason why it’s done is because chewing surfaces of back teeth have grooves that make them prone to cavities. These grooves are deep and difficult to clean, and can be narrower than even a single bristle of a toothbrush.
The first sealants are placed on first 6 years molars once the chewing surface of the tooth has completely erupted beyond the gum.
The best advantage to seal the deep grooves of the back teeth is that it does not require drilling or a needle. Kids are very compliant during this preventive treatment.
What can I do to make my child feel comfortable during first visit to the dental office?
The most important thing is to give a positive example at home. Tell them how much you enjoy to see your dental health care professional. Taking them with you while you have your hygiene routine visit would be a great example of a safe environment for the kid. Seeing their parents in the chair assures them the safety and a comfort zone.
The most horrible thing to say to your kid is this: “I will take you to the dentist if you don’t behave”.
Hope this helps answering most of your questions. Please, blog me back with any unanswered questions that you might have.
Tania Egher, R.D.H.