When you go to your first dentist appointment with your toddler, you may be surprised if we start to do a cleaning. While this doesn’t happen on every child’s first visit, it may be done on some. The reasons for this can vary and will only occur if there are already signs of decay or your child has tartar and plaque buildup that will lead to decay of the teeth. While some do not worry about baby teeth, they can really affect how the adult teeth emerge. Here is what to expect on your child’s first dental cleaning.
Before the Dentist Visit
Before you head out to see us for that first dental visit and cleaning, you need to prepare your child. Talk to them about how important good dental health can be and make it a fun day for them. Tell them that they can pick out a new toothbrush or find a fun flavored toothpaste. If they are too young, talk soothingly to them. You should also prepare yourself to answer questions from us about your personal feelings about dentistry and about your child’s habits, such as thumb sucking. Try to relax if you have a fear of the dentist, because this fear can project onto the child.
During the Visit
During this visit you need to let us know if they are fearful or defiant as a trait, so that we are able to combat this. Depending on your child’s age, there could be any number of attachment issues and developmental actions that will interfere with the visit. We try to keep these to a minimum. Since we generally suggest this first issue comes by the first year of life, there can be a wide variance to what age is seen during this first visit. Many parents wait until a toothache to be seen while others are more vigilant to their child’s dental health. We’ll examine the teeth, gums, jaw and the bite. If we see any stains, tartar, or plaque buildup at this first visit we will also do a cleaning. We will also show the proper way to clean and floss. We will also schedule a second visit, usually about six months after the first to reassess how things are progressing in the teeth emergence.
Home Treatment for Oral Health
- If you have a toddler, clean the teeth with a damp cloth. After teeth begin to emerge you should do this often.
- By two years of age you should use a soft toothbrush and a pea-sized volume of toothpaste to brush their teeth. Make sure they are old enough to spit out the toothpaste prior to doing this. To prevent problems, never give a child a bottle of milk, sweet liquids, or juice at night time. This pools around the teeth causing a rapid increase in decay.
- By six years of age, your child should be able to brush their own teeth. Supervise this of course and up the brushing to twice a day. By this stage, lower the amount of sugar that you’re giving the child. Don’t use sweetened drinks like cola and juices, let them drink more water.
Keep in mind that there are children’s mouth rinses now on the market that come in good tasting flavors like bubblegum. This promotes good oral health while giving them a flavor that won’t be “yucky”. Incorporating children’s mouth rinses are another good way to get the mouth in good oral health and it will hit places that your child may have missed while they brushed. Some of these even are designed to “show” the particulates washing down the drain as they spit. This is another good way for them to see that what they are doing is actually “doing” something and not just for the sake of Mom and Dad telling them to do it.
Dr. Erickson and the folks at Erickson Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics are pleased to be considered for your child’s important first dental cleaning and exam. You can call us at either location at Colorado Springs at (719) 602-4001 or at Monument at (719) 373-1805 to schedule an appointment or to talk with us about your child’s dental health.