Our philosophy is grounded in the idea of prevention. Through regular exams, identifying risk, and developing strong healthy habits, we do our best to stop troublesome dental issues. This includes consistent thorough dental home care. We understand our role as health professionals to motivate and educate our patients, tailoring plans to their individual needs.
In the big picture, our aim is to foster patients with a positive view of pediatric dentistry. Good experiences as a child at the pediatric dentist can create a lifetime of favorable outcomes. We ask that you join us in focusing on the positive aspects of pediatric dental care so that we can all join together in creating happy patients with a great attitude towards their oral health.
What makes us different?
At the first and every visit, your child will be treated with a gentle, caring touch because we know how important those little smiles are. By developing a relationship with your child, we will begin the building blocks on which good habits and a healthy attitude towards pediatric dental health are formed.
When Does Your Child Need Their First Visit
According to the AAPD, your child’s visit should be around his or her first birthday. Primary teeth (baby teeth) are very important even though they will be lost. Proper chewing and eating, space and positioning and jaw bone development are all dependent on primary teeth.
Preparing Your Child
For an enjoyable and comfortable visit, it’s best not to use any concerning or fearful words regarding the visit. Let them understand that it should be a pleasant visit where the dentist will explain what’s going on and answer any questions.
What to expect
Every child is different, and depending on their comfort level, we will introduce them to different aspects of the pediatric dental setting as they are ready. Most will start the visit at the brushing station where we evaluate your child’s brushing and give tips as needed for proper brushing.
Your child’s first exam will last about half an hour, and will cover oral hygiene instructions along with recommendations to help you care for your child’s teeth. For most initial visits, we will clean your child’s teeth and will provide an evaluation of your child’s current dental status, go over any areas of concern, and provide proposed treatment options if needed. Much of your initial exam will be dependent on your child’s age, needs and comfort level, but be assured that your child will receive care consistent with the most advanced research and treatment standards of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.
Other factors Dental Aesthetica considers during the exam:
Pediatric Dental Vocabulary
At Dental Aesthetica, we strive to make this dental visit a positive experience for your child. Dental anxiety arises from the fear of the unknown. We can make dental treatment comfortable and part of this is the way we are able to communicate with kids. For this reason, there are certain traditional words that we choose to avoid.
How to Brush
Brush and floss your child’s teeth until he or she is at least six years old. By age six or seven, children should be able to brush their own teeth while you watch. When first teaching your child how to brush, you may wish to stand behind him or her and hold the brush. This can help your child learn the right way to brush.
Make choosing a toothbrush a fun activity for you and your child. Find a child-sized toothbrush with soft bristles. Let your child pick the color and design. You can also ask your dentist if there is a powered toothbrush that is right for your child.
By around age 10 or 11, most children should be able to brush their teeth without supervision. If you’re not sure if your child is ready, ask your dentist for advice. Keep in mind that each child is different, and they are ready for different habits at different ages.
Here are some tips for proper brushing:
How to Floss
Flossing is an important part of cleaning teeth. Flossing removes plaque from between the teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach.
Flossing is not easy for children to do by themselves. The ADA recommends that you floss your child’s teeth until he or she can do it alone, around age 10 or 11. When your child is ready to floss- with your supervision-show him or her how to hold the floss and gently clean between the teeth.
Here are some tips for proper flossing. Your dentist and hygienist can also show you and your child how to floss. Don’t forget to floss once a day!
· Early Dental care
Your child’s baby teeth are at risk for decay as soon as they first appear—which is typically around age 6 months. Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often referred to as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. It most often occurs in the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected. In some cases, infants and toddlers experience decay so severe that their teeth cannot be saved and need to be removed.
The good news is that tooth decay is preventable! Most children have a full set of 20 primary teeth by the time they are 3-years-old. As your child grows, their jaws also grow, making room for their permanent teeth.
Cleaning Your Child’s Teeth
Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
You can help prevent your baby from getting cavities or developing what is called Baby Bottle Tooth Decay or Early Childhood Caries, by beginning an oral hygiene routine within the first few days after birth. Start by cleaning your baby’s mouth by wiping the gums with a clean gauze pad. This helps removes plaque that can harm erupting teeth. When your child’s teeth begin to come in, brush them gently with a child’s size toothbrush and water. For bottle feedings, place only formula, milk or breast milk inside and avoid using sugary beverages such as juice or soda. Infants should finish their bedtime and nap time bottle before going to bed.
Accidents can happen anywhere, anytime. Knowing how to handle a dental emergency can mean the difference between saving and losing your child’s permanent tooth. For all dental emergencies, it’s important to take your child to the dentist or an emergency room as soon as possible.
Here are some tips if your child experiences a common dental emergency:
Sucking is a natural reflex and infants and young children may suck on thumbs, fingers, pacifiers and other objects. It may help them relax or make them feel safe or happy. Most children stop sucking by age 4. If your child continues to thumb suck that after the permanent teeth have come in, it can cause problems with tooth alignment and your child’s bite. The frequency, duration and intensity of a habit will determine whether or not dental problems may result. Children who rest their thumbs passively in their mouths are less likely to have difficulty than those who vigorously suck their thumbs. If you are worried about your child’s thumb sucking habits, talk to your pediatric dentist.
Space maintainers help “hold space” for permanent teeth. Your child may need one if he or she loses a baby tooth prematurely, before the permanent tooth is ready to erupt. If a primary tooth is lost too early, adult teeth can erupt into the empty space instead of where they should be. When more adult teeth are ready to come into the mouth, there may not be enough room for them because of the lost space. To prevent this from happening, the dentist may recommend a space maintainer to hold open the space left by the missing tooth.
Protecting Teeth with Sealants
A sealant is a material that is applied to the teeth where decay occurs most often- the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. These teeth have pits and grooves that are hard to clean, because toothbrush bristles cannot reach into them. The sealant bonds to the tooth and protects teeth from plaque and acid attacks.
Sealing a tooth is fast and painless. Sealants can last several years before they need to be reapplied. Ask your pediatric dentist if sealants will help your child.
Mouth guards can help protect your child from a dental emergency. They should be worn whenever your child is participating in sports and recreational activities. Mouth guards cushion blows that would otherwise cause broken teeth, injuries to the lips and face and sometimes even jaw fractures. If your child participates in such pastimes, ask your dentist about custom-fitted mouth protectors.
Malocclusion, or bad bite, is a condition in which the teeth are crowded, crooked or out of alignment, or the jaws don’t meet properly. This may become particularly noticeable between the ages of 6 and 12, when a child’s permanent teeth are coming in. If not treated early, a bad bite can make it difficult to keep teeth and gums clean where teeth are crooked or crowded, increasing the risk for cavities and gum disease.
Bad bites can also:
Teething is one of the first rituals of life. Although newborns usually have no visible teeth, most baby teeth begin to appear generally about six months after birth. During the first few years of your child’s life, all 20 baby teeth will push through the gums and most children will have their full set of these teeth in place by age 3. A baby’s front four teeth usually erupt or push through the gums at about six months of age, although some children don’t have their first tooth until 12 or 14 months. As their teeth erupt, some babies may become fussy, sleepless and irritable, lose their appetite or drool more than usual. Diarrhea, rashes and a fever are not normal symptoms for a teething baby. If your infant has a fever or diarrhea while teething or continues to be cranky and uncomfortable, call your physician.
First Dental Visit
As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, it’s time to schedule a dental visit. The ADA recommends that the first dental visit take place within six months after the first tooth appears, but no later than a child’s first birthday. Don’t wait for them to start school or until there’s an emergency. Get your child comfortable today with good mouth healthy habits.
Although the first visit is mainly for your pediatric dentist to examine your child’s mouth and to check growth and development, it’s also about your child being comfortable. To make the visit positive:
During this visit, you can expect the dentist to:
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally in all water sources, including oceans, rivers and lakes. Fluoride is also added to some community tap water, toothpastes and mouth rinses. Infants and toddlers who do not receive an adequate amount of fluoride may be at an increased risk for tooth decay since fluoride helps make tooth enamel more resistant to decay. It also helps repair weakened enamel. Bottled water may not contain fluoride; therefore, children who regularly drink bottled water or unfluoridated tap water may be missing the benefits of fluoride. If you are not sure if your tap water has fluoride, contact your local or state health department or water supplier.
Note: Discuss your child’s fluoride needs with your pediatric dentist or pediatrician. They may recommend a fluoride supplement if you live in an area where the community water is not fluoridated.
Infants and young children may suck on thumbs, other fingers or pacifiers. Pacifiers dipped in sugar, honey, juice or sweetened drinks, can lead to tooth decay. Tooth decay can also begin when cavity-causing bacteria pass from saliva in a mother or caregiver’s mouth to the infant. When the mother or caregiver puts the baby’s feeding spoon in her mouth, or cleans a pacifier in her mouth, the bacteria can be passed to the baby.
1 When should I schedule my child’s first visit to the dentist?
We recommend that you make an appointment to see the dentist as soon as your child gets his first tooth. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children be seen by six months after their first tooth erupts, or at one year of age, whichever comes first.
2 How is a pediatric dentist different from other dentists?
All dental specialists (pediatric dentists, orthodontists, oral surgeons, and others) begin by completing dental school and continue their education with several years of additional, specialized training. During training in the field of pediatric dentistry, your doctor gained extensive knowledge and experience in treating infants, children, and adolescents. Pediatric dentists enjoy working with children and bring to each patient expertise in childhood development and behavior. Because our office is geared toward young visitors, you’ll find that our staff, as well as our office design, decorations, and activities all work together to provide an especially friendly and comfortable environment for children.
3 What happens during my child’s first visit to the dentist?
The first visit is usually short and simple. In most cases, we focus on getting to know your child and giving you some basic information about dental care. The doctor will check your child’s teeth for placement and health, and look for any potential problems with the gums and jaw. If necessary, we may do a bit of cleaning. We will also answer any questions you have about how to care for your child’s teeth as they develop, and provide you with materials containing helpful tips.
4 How can I prepare my child for his first dental appointment?
The best preparation for your child’s first visit to our office is maintaining a positive attitude. Children pick up on adults’ apprehensions and if you make negative comments about trips to the dentist, you can be sure that your child will fear an unpleasant experience and act accordingly. Show your child the pictures of the office and staff on the website. Let your child know that it’s important to keep his teeth and gums healthy, and that the doctor will help him do that. Remember that your dentist is specially trained to handle fears and anxiety, and our staff excels at putting children at ease during treatment.
5 How often should my child visit the dentist?
We generally recommend scheduling checkups every six months. Depending on the circumstances of your child’s oral health, we may recommend more frequent visits.
6 Why do baby teeth need special care?
Although they don’t last as long as permanent teeth, your child’s first teeth play an important role in his development. While they’re in place, these primary teeth help your little one speak, smile, and chew properly. They also hold space in the jaw for permanent teeth. If a child loses a tooth too early (due to damage or decay) nearby teeth may encroach on that space, which can result in crooked or misplaced permanent teeth. Also, your child’s general health is affected by the oral health of the teeth and gums.
7 What’s the best way to clean my baby’s teeth?
Even before your baby’s first tooth appears, we recommend you clean his gums after feedings with a damp, soft washcloth. As soon as his first tooth appears, you can start using a toothbrush. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. You can most likely find a toothbrush designed for infants at your local drugstore.
8 At what age is it appropriate to use toothpaste to clean my child’s teeth?
Once your child has a few teeth, you can start using toothpaste on the brush. Use only a tiny amount for each cleaning, and be sure to choose toothpaste without fluoride for children under two, as too much fluoride can be dangerous for very young children. Always have your child rinse and spit out toothpaste after brushing, to begin a lifelong habit he’ll need when he graduates to fluoride toothpaste. Children naturally want to swallow toothpaste after brushing, and swallowing too much fluoride toothpaste can cause teeth to stain. You should brush your child’s teeth for him until he is ready to take on that responsibility himself, which usually happens by age six or seven.
9 What causes cavities?
Certain types of bacteria live in our mouths. When these bacteria come into contact with sugary foods left behind on our teeth after eating, acids are produced. These acids attack the enamel on the exterior of the teeth, eventually eating through the enamel and creating holes in the teeth, which we call cavities.
10 How can I help my child avoid cavities?
Be sure that your child brushes his teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Flossing daily is also important, as flossing can reach spots between the teeth that brushing can’t. Check with your pediatric dentist about a fluoride supplement which helps tooth enamel become harder and more resistant to decay. Avoid sugary foods and drinks, limit snacking, and maintain a healthy diet. And finally, make regular appointments so that we can check the health of your child’s teeth and provide professional cleanings.
11 Does my child need dental sealants?
Sealants cover the pits and fissures in teeth that are difficult to brush and therefore susceptible to decay. We recommend sealants as a safe, simple way to help your child avoid cavities, especially for molars, which are hardest to reach.
12 My child plays sports. How can I protect his teeth?
Even children’s sports involve contact, and we recommend mouth guards for children active in sports. If your little one plays baseball, soccer, or other sports, ask us about having a custom-fitted mouth guard made to protect his teeth, lips, cheeks, and gums.
13 What should I do if my child sucks his thumb?
A large majority of children suck their thumbs or fingers as infants, and most grow out of it by the age of four, without causing any permanent damage to teeth. If your child continues sucking after permanent teeth erupt, or he sucks aggressively, let us know and we can check to see if any problems may arise from the habit.
14 When should my child have dental X-rays taken?
We recommend taking X-rays around the age of two or three. The first set consists of simple pictures of the front upper and lower teeth, which familiarizes your child with the process. Once the baby teeth in back are touching each other, then regular (at least yearly) X-rays are recommended. Permanent teeth start coming in around age six, and X-rays help us make sure your child’s teeth and jaw are healthy and properly aligned. If your child is at a high risk of dental problems, we may suggest having X-rays taken at an earlier age.
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