According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), your child should visit the dentist by his/her 1st birthday. You can make the first visit to the dentist enjoyable and positive. Your child should be informed of the visit and told that the dentist and their staff will explain all procedures and answer any questions. The less to-do concerning the visit, the better.
It is best if you refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as needle, pull, drill or hurt. Pediatric dental offices make a practice of using words that convey the same message, but are pleasant and non-frightening to the child.
Why Are The Primary Teeth So Important?
It is very important to maintain the health of the primary teeth. Neglected cavities can and frequently do lead to problems which affect developing permanent teeth. Primary teeth, or baby teeth are important for (1) proper chewing and eating, (2) providing space for the permanent teeth and guiding them into the correct position, and (3) permitting normal development of the jaw bones and muscles. Primary teeth also affect the development of speech and add to an attractive appearance. While the front 4 teeth last until 6-7 years of age, the back teeth (cuspids and molars) aren’t replaced until age 10-13.
Care of Your Child’s Teeth
Begin daily brushing as soon as the child’s first tooth erupts. A pea size amount of fluoride toothpaste can be used after the child is old enough not to swallow it. By age 4 or 5, children should be able to brush their own teeth twice a day with supervision until about age seven to make sure they are doing a thorough job. However, each child is different. Your dentist can help you determine whether the child has the skill level to brush properly.
Proper brushing removes plaque from the inner, outer and chewing surfaces. When teaching children to brush, place toothbrush at a 45 degree angle; start along gum line with a soft bristle brush in a gentle circular motion. Brush the outer surfaces of each tooth, upper and lower. Repeat the same method on the inside surfaces and chewing surfaces of all the teeth. Finish by brushing the tongue to help freshen breath and remove bacteria.
Pediactric dentistry is the branch of dentistry dealing with children from birth through adolescence. Pediatric Dentistry focuses intimately on pediatric/adolescent growth and development, disease causality and prevention, child psychology and management, and all aspects of the highly-specialized Pediatric restorative techniques and modalities.
Pediatric Dentists work toward the maintenance of primary teeth until they are naturally lost. This is due to the importance they serve in permitting children to chew properly and therefore maintain good nutrition, their role in speech development, and the maintenance of space for the eventual eruption of the permanent teeth. Because of their special interest and commitment Pediatric Dentists are able to provide the most up to date treatment options.
Children are not just small adults. The primary teeth are anatomically and physiologically different from adult teeth. Children are emotionally and intellectually different to adults. Young children, pre-teens and teenagers have different psychological needs and expectations therefore they need to be treated in a different manner.The early experiences that a child has in the dental chair will profoundly influence his future attitude towards his oral health in general and dental treatment in particular.
The Pediatric Dentist is aware of all these issues.
Pediactric dentist are trained to:
- Promote feelings of trust and confidence in the child patient.
- Help the child patient to feel good about visiting the dentist.
- Teach the child patient to care for his/her teeth.
- Detect and treat dental caries.
- Guide dental growth and development.
- Avoid future dental problems.
- Give the parents of nutrition education and counseling for the purposes of reducing caries in their children.
- Perform preventive dentistry in children.
- Perform dental treatments and preventive dentistry in teens and special needs patients.