Children’s Dental Treatments: Making Dental Visits Easy for Your Child
During each visit, our staff spends a great deal of time explaining to your child what can be expected during the treatment. This is done in a very positive way to help the child feel comfortable, and to give him or her some control over what will be happening. You can help us make this next visit a successful and positive experience by working with us to accomplish this goal.
Why Are Baby Teeth Important?
- Your child’s baby teeth are important. Children need strong, healthy teeth to chew their food, speak and have a good-looking smile.
- Baby teeth also help to keep a space in the jaw for the adult teeth. If a baby tooth is lost too early, the teeth beside it may drift into the empty space. When it’s time for the adult teeth to come in, there may not be enough room, causing the teeth to be crooked or crowded.
- Severe infection in the baby tooth can also damage the shape and color of the adult tooth that is forming just below the baby tooth.
Children’s Dental Care
- Children can start to get cavities as soon as the first teeth emerge. It is very important that the first dental visit is pleasant, not anxiety-producing. Going to see the dentist only when the child has problems, does not allow this as the child will then associate the dental clinic with fear and pain. This makes any further dental treatment difficult.
- Cavities in milk teeth need to be filled to relieve pain and to allow the child to eat, talk and smile confidently.
- Children can have crooked teeth or a bad bite. The sooner these are discovered, the better the chances of successful treatment.
- Parents might not be able to recognize early dental problems.
- Your dentist can prevent the problems rather than spend time correcting them. Advice on nutrition and home dental care can also be provided.
How Do I Prepare My Child for His Dental Visit
- Play “dentist”. Count your child’s teeth as you shine a light on them. Then switch roles and let your child play dentist.
- Read to your child a book about going to the dentist for the first time. Before the appointment, tell the dentist about your child, including any special needs or medical problems like allergies or heart conditions.
- Make the appointment on a day and time when the child is not tired. Be low-key. Treat the visit as routine. Answer questions the child poses honestly but not too specifically.
- Let the dentist decide whether you should stay in the room with your child. Some children respond better without their parents present.
- Avoid using bribery and threats in an attempt to encourage good behavior. Especially refrain from threatening the child with a dental visit when he refuses to brush his teeth or misbehaves.
- Try not to be anxious about the visit. Don’t communicate your own fears to the child. Avoid saying negative words like pain, jab, pull, or drill.
- Don’t expect perfect behavior. Your child may be shy or fearful and misbehave. If your child throws a tantrum, be firm. With a child over 3 years old, the dentist may want to handle the situation without your presence in the surgery.
- Don’t make the dentist the villain. Dental care is something you want for your child.
Ask Your Dentist about Sealants
Sealants are special plastic coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth, where cavities usually begin. Applied by a dental professional, sealants form a barrier that keeps food and bacteria out of tiny grooves on the tooth enamel, places where toothbrush can’t reach.
What Can the Parent Do?
Inspect your child’s teeth regularly for white, yellow, or brown spots, which can be signs of decay. Also, if your child has a toothache or feels pain when eating hot, cold, or sweet foods, a cavity could be the cause.