Your child’s first visit to the dentist
It is generally recommended that an infant be seen by a dentist by the age of 1 or within 6 months after his or her first tooth comes in.
What happens at the first dental visit?
Your child’s first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. This visit gives your child an opportunity to meet the dentist in a non-threatening and friendly way. Some dentists may ask the parent to sit in the dental chair and hold their child during the examination.
During the examination, your dentist will check all of your child’s existing teeth for decay, examine your child’s bite, and look for any potential problems with the gums, jaw, and oral tissues. If indicated, the dentist or hygienist will clean any teeth and assess the need for fluoride. He or she will also educate parents about oral health care basics for children and discuss dental developmental issues and answer any questions.
Topics your dentist may discuss with you might include:
- Good oral hygiene Clinics for your child’s teeth and gums and cavity prevention
- Clinics for your child’s teeth and gums and cavity prevention
- Flouride needs
- Oral habits – (thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, lip sucking)
- Developmental milestones
- Proper nutrition
Oral health problems in children
There are a number of problems that affect the oral health of children; they include tooth decay, thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, the sucking of the lip, and early tooth loss. Even though baby teeth are eventually replaced with permanent teeth, keeping your child’s baby teeth healthy is important to your child’s overall health and well-being.
Baby bottle tooth decay
Baby bottle tooth decay (also called early childhood caries, nursing caries, and nursing bottle syndrome) occurs when a baby’s teeth are in frequent contact with sugary liquid, carbohydrates, such as fruit juices, milk, formula, fruit juice diluted with water, water flavoured with sugar, or any other sweet drink. Breast milk can cause tooth decay as well. As these liquids break down in the mouth into simple sugars and are allowed to sit in the mouth, bacteria start feeding on the sugars, causing tooth decay.
If left untreated, decayed teeth can cause pain and make it difficult to chew and eat. Also, baby teeth serve as “space savers” for adult teeth. If baby teeth are damaged or destroyed, they can’t help guide permanent teeth into their proper position, possibly resulting in crowded or crooked permanent teeth. Badly decayed baby teeth could lead to an abscessed tooth, with the possibility of infection spreading elsewhere.