Your child’s first visit
The first “regular” dental visit should be just after your child’s third birthday. The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. We may ask you to sit in the dental chair and hold your child during the examination. You may also be asked to wait in the reception area during part of the visit so that a relationship can be built between your child and your dentist.
We will gently examine your child’s teeth and gums. X-rays may be taken (to reveal decay and check on the progress of your child’s permanent teeth under the gums). We may clean your child’s teeth. Most important of all, we will review with you how to clean and care for your child’s teeth.
What should I tell my child about the first dental visit?
We are asked this question many times. We suggest you prepare your child the same way you would before their first haircut or trip to the shoe store. Your child’s reaction to his first visit to the dentist may surprise you.
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.
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 the sugary residue stays on the teeth, the greater the chances of getting cavities. Prolonged snacking without brushing should be discouraged.
An acid reaction occurs inside the mouth as bacteria digest sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time the acid environment can destroy the tooth structure, eventually leading to cavities.
Tips for cavity prevention
- Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
- Encourage brushing, flossing and rinsing.
- Avoid sugary drinks.
- Avoid giving your child sticky foods.
- Make treats part of meals.
The first baby teeth (primary 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.
At around 2 1/2 years old your child should have all 20 primary teeth. Between the ages of 5 and 6 the first permanent teeth will begin to erupt. 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.