CARE FOR YOUR CHILD’S TEETH
It is highly recommended to start your child’s routine dental visits as early as the first birthday. A trip to the dental office can be a stressful experience for both the child and the parent, but there are several ways to alleviate, or even eliminate the causes of stress and make the visit enjoyable.
Oftentimes, if the parent is stressed, the child may pick up on the stress as well. Having another adult accompany for the visit may help, as the accompanying adult may tend to your child’s needs and allow you to focus on the discussion with the dentist.
Explaining what will happen at the dental visit can also make things seem less frightening for your child’s first (and even subsequent) dental visits. There are several age-specific books that can help explain the visit to the dentist:
- Elmo Visits the Dentist – Part of the “Sesame Street” Series.
- The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist – by Stan and Jan Berenstain.
- Going to the Dentist – by Anne Civardi.
- Show Me Your Smile: A Visit to the Dentist – Part of the “Dora the Explorer” Series.
It is recommended to have your child come in for routine checkup and cleaning visits on a 6-month basis. While your child’s dentition may seem healthy at a certain point in time, they do go through rapid changes along with the rest of their growth. Given the differences in the tooth structure of a baby tooth compared to an adult tooth, it is also common for tooth decay to progress at a much faster rate if left undetected.
During the regular check-up visits, your child will receive a thorough exam with x-rays (often on a yearly basis), as well as a visual check to make sure that things are developing normally. A thorough polishing will help get rid of toughened plaque in hard-to-reach areas, along with a fluoride application to strengthen the tooth structure. In select cases, your dentist may recommend sealants to help prevent tooth decay in the back molars.