First Dental Visit for Your Child

Regular dental visits should begin after your child’s first 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, Dr. Park, and his staff.

Dr. Park will perform a gentle examination of your child’s teeth and gums and X-rays may be taken to reveal decay and check on the progress of your child’s permanent teeth under the gums. One of our skilled hygienists may clean your child’s teeth and apply topical fluoride to help protect the teeth against decay. Most important of all, we will review with you how to clean and care for your child’s teeth.

Talking to Your Child About the First Visit

A great way to prepare your child for their first dental visit is to treat their upcoming experience as you would taking them for their first haircut. Here are our suggestions to make your child’s dental visit a positive one:

Tips for Preparing Your Child:

  • Visit the office before your appointment to get them acquainted with the surroundings
  • Read a children’s book to them about going to the dentist
  • Talk about what the dentist will be doing in a upbeat manner
  • Tell them positive stories about your own experiences at the dentist

On Your First Visit, Dr. Park and His Staff will:

  • Examine your child’s teeth and gums
  • Determine if X-rays need to be taken
  • Discuss and evaluate any habits that would effect their teeth (e.g. thumb sucking)
  • Check to see if a fluoride application is a necessary 
  • Give instruction on the proper way to clean teeth and gums
  • Talk to you about setting up a regular schedule for dental visits

Preventative Dental Care for Kids

Cavities and children don’t necessarily have to go hand-in-hand? Dr. Park and his staff use the latest dental sealant technology to protect your child’s teeth. The dental sealants we use are space-age plastics that are bonded to the chewing surfaces of decay-prone back teeth. This is just one of the ways we will set the foundation for your child’s lifetime of good oral health.

Preventing Cavities

There are several ways cavities form, and sugary foods are the main culprit. The best way to ward off cavities is to limit your child’s sugar intake and ensuring that they brush regularly. The longer it takes for your child to chew food, the longer the residue stays on their teeth – thus, the greater the chances of them developing cavities. Also, every time someone eats, an acid reaction occurs inside their mouth as the bacteria digests the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes at which time the acidic environment can destroy the tooth’s structure, leading to cavities over time.

Saliva consistency can also make a difference. When a person eats diets high in carbohydrates and sugars they tend to have thicker saliva, which in turn allows more of the acid-producing bacteria that can cause cavities. Thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food more quickly, which is another reason to limit sugar intake.

Cavity Prevention Tips for Kids

  • Limit the frequency of meals and snacks throughout the day
  • Brush twice a day, floss once a day, and use a mouth rinse
  • Keep a watchful eye and limit the amount of sugary drinks and snacks 
  • Avoid sticky foods when possible, and encourage brushing after eating them
  • Make treats part of meals rather than snacking on them throughout the day
  • Switch out junk food with nutritious snacks that kids enjoy

Baby Teeth are Important. During the first 5 years of your child’s life, 20 baby teeth will have grown in preparation for permanent teeth. They are important for chewing food, biting, speech, and appearance. For these reasons, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily oral hygiene.

When your baby is about 6-8 months old, the two bottom front teeth will start to appear. The four upper teeth will follow next with the remaining baby teeth appearing periodically – usually in pairs along the sides of the jaw. At around 2 1/2 years old, your child should have all 20 baby teeth. Permanent teeth will begin to push through between the ages of 5 and 6. These permanent teeth will usually replace baby teeth, and some won’t. All children are different, so don’t worry if some teeth are several months early or late.