You’re a great parent. You want your child to develop good health habits. That includes looking after the gift that nature only gives twice—their teeth. Baby teeth loosen to make way for the adult teeth that must last a lifetime. That journey begins with the help of a pediatric dentist, and the care can begin as soon as your toddler starts getting those first bottom teeth and continue through adolescence and teen years. Know what to expect on your child’s first visit.
Going to the Dentist Can Be a Scary Experience
In a previous blog we talked about the prevalence of odontophobia among adults. Children, too, can experience a fear of dentists. Multiple visits or traumatic experiences with childhood dental treatment can lead to a lifetime of avoidance of dental treatment. That avoidance can result in irretrievable loss of adult teeth through gum disease and other problems.
What You Can Expect During that First Visit to Your Pediatric Dentist at Ponte Vedra
Whether your child’s first visit to our pediatric dentist at Ponte Vedra Family Dentistry is to diagnose and treat a dental problem or simply to begin a regimen of preventative care, Dr. Lindsay Maples’ focus is to make your child comfortable and relaxed. What makes that possible is both her experience and her advanced training, including certification by the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry,
Here are the steps we will follow during your child’s first visit:
During the first visit, our team concentrates on just getting to know your child. This is an ideal opportunity to review with you, the parent, the basic requirements of dental care. If you have any questions about how to help with your child’s dental care and hygiene, the first visit would be a great time to ask.
We also give parents suggestions on how to supervise the child’s oral hygiene at home. Those suggestions include:
- Emphasizing through habit and example that good oral hygiene and healthy teeth are important in the prevention of cavities and tooth decay.
- Showing the proper brushing techniques and letting the child brush first, using an appropriately sized toothbrush.
- Establishing a regular brushing routine by brushing each other’s teeth or brushing together at the same time each day.
- Working on strategies to make oral health fun; for example, giving the child a personal toothbrush based on a favorite action or cartoon figure.
Next, our team does a thorough examination of your child’s teeth placement and dental health. If your child’s oral health is good, you should schedule regular checkup visits every six months.
Treating Pediatric Dental Problems
The first examination might disclose existing or potential problems. Those issues include detecting existing cavities or even problems caused by misaligned or crooked teeth.
Solutions could include pediatric tooth extraction for a severely decayed or damaged tooth, or removing a baby tooth to make room for the growth of permanent teeth. Also, teeth extraction could be a solution to make the space needed for orthodontic treatment.
Braces are orthodontic appliances that exert gentle pressure on the jaws and teeth to help move the teeth to a position that will result in healthy growth of the jaws and to retrain the child’s chewing muscles. Common orthodontic conditions develop during childhood and adolescence.
Treatment options include orthodontic appliances that are either fixed or removable. Pediatric appliances are fixed and are designed to hold open a space resulting from a premature loss of a baby tooth. They also include appliances to discourage tongue thrusting or thumb sucking.
Telltale signs your child needs braces include premature baby tooth loss, a noticeable misalignment of the jaw, or prolonged thumb or pacifier habit. If caught in time, and accompanied with long-term oral health care, braces can correct a host of childhood and lifelong dental problems.
The Bottom Line
Going to the dentist doesn’t have to be scary. Our goal at Ponte Vedra Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics is to give your child the age-appropriate dental care and treatment they need and start them on a lifelong plan of great dental health.