The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that all children have their first dental appointment at 1 year old, unless you have specific concerns about your child prior to that. The first visit involves a visual examination and a dental cleaning (if the patient is cooperative). It is more important to slowly introduce your child to the sights, sounds, smells and people of the dental office than it is to accomplish everything on our checklist. The goal of the first few visits is to give your child a foundation of trust and comfort at the dental office that will hopefully stay with them throughout their lives.
Topically applied fluoride is a safe and effective method for strengthening your child’s teeth. At the end of their routine care appointment a fluoride varnish can be applied. The minerals in the varnish incorporate into your child’s teeth and make them stronger and less susceptible to tooth decay in the future. Tell your provider if your child has tree nut or milk protein allergies before a varnish product is selected.
Early Orthodontic Treatment
The American Academy of Orthodontists recommends all children be evaluated by an orthodontist by age 7. At that age, children have a mix of adult and baby teeth. Diagnosing and correcting tooth and jaw problems at this early stage requires less overall treatment time and it can help avoid the need for jaw surgery in the future.
Signs that your child may need an orthodontic evaluation include:
- Crowded, blocked, misplaced teeth
- Early or late loss of baby teeth
- Jaw size that is not proportionate to the rest of the face
- Mouth breathing
- Thumb sucking
- Teeth that come together abnormally or not at all
Prevention is the best medicine! Cavity prevention takes form in many ways. We do our part during your child’s normal routine visit by examining and cleaning your child’s teeth. Follow these strategies to help prevent cavities at home:
- Brush with fluoride toothpaste twice daily
- Floss in between teeth nightly
- Avoid sugary foods and beverages (especially after brushing at night)
- Avoid acidic beverages (soda, sports drinks)
- Refrain from grazing or picking at snack foods for long periods of time
- Be aware of the ingredients in your child’s food (many products geared toward children have added sugars)