Pediatric Dentistry on Chicago’s North Shore IL
Information for Parents
Your Child’s First Visit
Here are some “First Visit” tips:
- Read books with them about going to the dentist.
- Check out our “First Visit” slideshow tour to get them comfortable with our office.
- Speak positively about your own dental experiences.
The first dental visit should be around your child’s first birthday. The goal of the infant exam is to make sure all of the teeth are healthy and to provide information to parents regarding oral hygiene, proper diet, and fluoride use. Children that have their first dental visit by age one are less likely to have future tooth decay.
Older children (3 years and older), will have an examination, tooth cleaning, fluoride treatment, diet counseling and digital X-rays may be taken. X-rays are taken to locate tooth decay, infections in the bone, position and location of unerupted teeth and other abnormalities. We will make sure your child is receiving adequate fluoride at home. Most important of all, we will review with you how to clean and care for your child’s teeth.
The first baby teeth that come into the mouth are the two bottom front teeth. You will notice this when your baby is about 6-8 months old. Next to follow will be the 4 upper front teeth and the remainder of your baby’s teeth will appear periodically. They will usually appear in pairs along the sides of the jaw until the child is about 2 1/2 years old.
At around 2 1/2 years old your child should have all 20 teeth. Between the ages of 5 and 7 the first permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Some of the permanent teeth replace baby teeth and some do not. Don’t worry if some teeth are a few months early or late as all children are different.
During your child’s first visit the dentist will:
Examine their mouth, teeth and gums.
- Evaluate adverse habits like thumb sucking.
- Apply a fluoride treatment.
- Teach you about cleaning their teeth and gums.
- Suggest a schedule for regular dental visits.
1. Teaching children at an early age about dental procedures is a vital part of our treatment. A pleasant beginning makes for a rewarding child-dentist relationship.
2. Be positive when talking to your child about scheduled appointments. Children are not born with fears: they are acquired. Please let us explain the procedures to your child.
3. If you come into the treatment room, please be a silent observer so we can establish a close rapport with your child.
4. The purpose of this first visit is to establish a positive relationship with the child and evaluate the child’s dental health as a guide to future treatment. Please do not expect your child’s teeth to be restored or removed during the visit. Of course, if your child needs emergency care, we will make them more comfortable.
5. Patients are instructed in tooth brushing and flossing techniques. Sometimes we will suggest changes in the child’s diet as an aid to maintaining good oral health. We may also recommend sealants to further prevent tooth decay. Tooth decay and children no longer have to go hand in hand. At our office we are most concerned with all aspects of preventive care. We use the latest in dental sealant technology to protect your child’s teeth. This is just one of the ways we will set the foundation for your child’s lifetime of good oral health.
6. Since children grow quickly and changes occur rapidly, it is essential that examination, prophylaxis (teeth cleaning) and fluoride treatments be performed every 4-6 months. Help us maintain your child’s dental health by making an appointment when you receive our reminder that your child’s next visit is due.
7. After each examination we will review our findings and recommendations with you. This allows us to discuss any treatment needed, number of appointments required to complete treatment, the estimated fee, and your role as a parent in your child’s dental care program.
We welcome and encourage comments and questions about any aspect of our service.
Tips for cavity prevention
- Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
- Encourage brushing, flossing and rinsing.
- Watch what your child drinks.
- Avoid giving your child sticky foods.
- Make treats part of meals.
- Choose nutritious snacks.
Most of the time cavities are due to a diet high in sugary foods and a lack of brushing. Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help. The longer it takes your child to chew their food and the longer the residue stays on their teeth, the greater the chances of getting cavities.
Every time someone eats, an acid reaction occurs inside their mouth as the bacteria digests the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time the acid environment can destroy the tooth structure, eventually leading to cavities.
Consistency of a person’s saliva also makes a difference; thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food more quickly. 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.
Baby teeth are important as they not only hold space for permanent teeth but are essential for chewing, biting, speech and appearance. For this reason it is important to maintain a healthy diet and proper daily hygiene routines.