The Importance of Pediatric Dental Care
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AADP) recommends that children see a dentist as soon as their baby teeth start to erupt. Children who start visiting the dentist sooner have better dental hygiene habits as adults and feel more comfortable in the dentist’s chair.
Regular dental care will also help promote the healthy development of a child’s permanent teeth. Losing baby teeth too early can cause their permanent teeth to erupt improperly. Parents need to treat baby teeth with as much care as adult teeth, which is why dental appointments are so important.
We know that as a parent, you have specific concerns about your child’s dental health. At Mid-Valley Dental Care, we’re happy to address these concerns. We’ll give you specific instructions on how to address your child’s unique oral hygiene needs.
The Tell-Show-Do Method
Lessons on proper oral hygiene shouldn’t stop at the dentists’ office. Children learn by example, so the tell-show-do method will help you teach your child the importance and techniques behind proper dental care.
Tell: In simple terms, describe brushing and flossing to your child, as well as how long and how often they need to do it. Explain to your child how this will help keep their teeth healthy and why healthy teeth are important. Let them ask questions and keep the conversation positive.
Show: Show them how to brush and floss. Feel free to make a game out of it. You might try describing brushing and flossing as a game to chase “sugar bugs” out of their mouth.
Do: Help them complete their hygiene routine themselves and be sure to reward them afterward. Most kids will need help taking care of their teeth until they’re around five to eight years old. Stick to a regular routine to encourage their understanding that dental hygiene is essential.
Preparing For The First Visit
If you’re a parent looking to soothe your child before their first visit to the dentist, here are a few tips:
- Stay positive
- Bring along a favorite toy for them to play with
- Read books and watch videos about their favorite characters visiting the dentist
- Play lighthearted games about going to the dentist
- Remind them that it’s not scary and the dentist is their friend
The First Visit
The first visit to the dentist’s office can be scary for a child. Luckily, we’re prepared to help ease their fears. During their first visit, we’ll do our best to establish ourselves as a safe, comfortable place for your child.
There are four steps involved in the first visit:
First: We’ll get to know you and your child and observe how your child responds to a dental setting.
Second: We’ll look inside your child’s mouth to see if there are any issues.
Third: If we determine that it’s necessary and your child is comfortable enough, we’ll perform a dental cleaning.
Fourth:, If we detect any oral problems like cavities, we’ll discuss your child’s treatment and schedule a follow-up visit.
Frequently Asked Questions
There are a few tips we suggest when it comes to preventing your child from developing cavities, such as:
- Limit sugar and starches in their diet
- Have them follow a set dental hygiene routine
- Introduce sippy cups for drinking around age one
- Consider dental sealants for added protection
When cleaning your infant’s teeth, it’s important to be gentle. There are specially designed toothbrushes made for infants with smaller heads and softer bristles. Brush your infant’s teeth once a day, preferably before bedtime.
There are a variety of reasons why your child visiting a pediatric dentist is beneficial, including:
- Pediatric dentists specialize in children’s dental hygiene, so they’re more familiar with the dental issues that commonly affect children.
- A pediatric dentist is equipped with child friendly tools which will make the experience more comfortable for them.
- Pediatric dentists often have the experience necessary to ease children’s fears about dentistry.
Your child should see a dentist once every six months. If they’re prone to dental issues, additional visits may be required. We’ll always let you know the oral health status of your child to ensure they get properly taken care of.
Jumpstart Your Child’s Dental Health Journey!
A good way to establish healthy dental habits in children is to build and maintain a comfortable relationship with a pediatric dentist. Drs. Terence and Casey Lau are here to start the process of building that relationship and instilling those habits in your child.
For more information on our pediatric dentistry at Mid-Valley Dental Care and to make your child’s appointment with Drs. Terence and Casey Lau, contact our Northridge office at (818) 886-3500.