I have to say that my favorite appointments are the ones with patients who are 18 and younger. No offense to the rest of the adult world, however, kids are the best. They are like little sponges soaking up all the dental knowledge I can share. Being a future parent I want to know all the information I can get to help my children have smooth transition into new experiences. Here are some kid tips for in office and at home to help our children have a great time at the dentist.
When should my child first come to the dentist?
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) children should come no later than 12 months of age. That may sound early to most people. However, this helps create a dental home for the child. We can also answer questions that the parents may have. Your dentist and hygienist will give advice on snacking habits, teach oral hygiene tips and make sure your child’s teeth are coming in on schedule.
The first visit is called a “Happy Visit”, we show them the instruments and the dentist checks their teeth. Cleanings are dependent on the temperament of the child. Whatever they are comfortable with. We want a happy, calm visit.
Regular Check ups
Cleanings are to be 2 times per year. The dentist checks for dental decay, orthodontic needs, discuss sports guards and if sealants should be placed. Hygiene cleanings are performed. Fluoride treatments are given and oral hygiene instruction is tailored to the child’s needs.
What if my child has a cavity?
Then you are at the perfect place. At our offices we have wonderful doctors and staff who help each and every patient have a great experience. Start off by setting a good example to your child by being calm. The child will always be well-informed on what is going on during the appointment. Believe it or not we have had better experiences with not having the parent in the room during the procedures. This helps the child develop trust with the doctor and the child will more likely communicate with the dentist about his or her needs rather than the parent.
Nitrous Oxide or laughing gas is very effective for children. It is fast acting, calms the patient quickly, it is safe, reversible, and is affordable for most patients. Kids respond well to the nitrous. Just like adults your child will always have localized anesthesia to make the procedure virtually painless.
We may refer some patients to a pediatric dentist. This is decided by the child’s temperament, if there is a large amount of dental work to be done, or they need to be sedated. However, most of the time we can take care of all dental needs presented.
Oral Hygiene Habits
Brush 2 times per day for 2 minutes. Make sure the brush has soft bristles. An electric toothbrush helps kids brush for longer and it is more fun.
It is recommended for parents to help children brush and floss until the age of 8.
Floss at least 1 time per day if not more.
- Rinse with mouthwash
- Brush, spit in the sink and do not rinse afterwards. We want the fluoride to stay on the teeth.
Infants should have their oral cavity wiped with a clean damp cloth before bed at night.
Tooth brushing charts are a great motivator for kids who have a hard time brushing.You can find many online to print out.
Under 2 yrs smear fluoride toothpaste onto the brush. 2 yrs and above a small pea size should suffice. According to the AAPD.
Parents should dispense toothpaste to prevent from too much being digested.
Further questions about fluoride and its benefits consult your dentist or hygienist.
Have a balanced diet of veggies, fruit, meat and beans, dairy, and whole grains. Limit amounts of starchy and sugary foods.
Significantly decrease amounts of soda and fruit juices
Limit frequency of snacking.
Xylitol is a sugar substitute that also helps prevent cavities. It is put in gums such at Ice Breaker Ice Cubes, Trident and others. It also can be bought to be used in baking. Xylitol is a great way to keep sweets in our lives with benefit of not getting cavities.
Dental Caries is the number one disease that affects children. The good thing is that cavities are preventable. Health in the oral cavity affects our entire bodies. With these tips and many others our children are on their way to a life of happy, healthy, smiles.
-Kara Johansen BSRDH
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (2011). Ask Your Dentist About Dental Care For Your Baby. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (2011). Ask Your Dentist About Nitrous Oxide. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (2011). Ask your Dentist About Diet and Snacking. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/
American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (2011). Ask Your Dentist About Regular Dental Visits. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.org/publications/brochures/