Your Child’s First Visit
It is recommended that your child visit the dentist for the first time around age two or three. Before this, do not hesitate to consult us if you feel the need. Whether it is following a trauma or an accident, or if you are concerned about your child’s oral health (mouth breathing, anterior open bite, tooth decay or extrinsic stains…), feel free to contact us. That being said, it is important to brush your child’s teeth as soon as they come out and to floss them as soon as they are close enough to one another.
At the first appointment, the dentist and dental hygienist will put your child at ease, examine and clean their teeth and review brushing and flossing techniques with you.
It is estimated that 50% of the general public is afraid of dentists. It is important for parents not to transmit this fear to their children. Information and a positive attitude will reassure your child and determine their attitude in the future. Your cooperation is important before, during and after your visit.
Before the Visit
- Several books tell the story of a character’s first visit to the dentist’s, so take the initiative of reading them to your child.
- Explain to your child what the dentist will do.
Go over the steps of the visit the day before the appointment.
- Never tell your child that they won’t feel any pain or discomfort during their dentist appointment.
During the Visit
- You may be asked to sit in the dentist’s chair and hold your child during the examination.
- If your child is older, you may be asked to return to the waiting room once the initial contact is made.
- Listen to the instructions and suggestions you are given on how to care for your child’s teeth.
- Keep a positive attitude about the appointment at all times.
- Ask for another appointment in six months.
After the Visit
- Make sure that your child brushes their teeth at least twice a day or after every meal.
- Floss their teeth once a day.
Monitor what your child eats and offer foods that have low sugar content.
- Up to the age of 10, make sure to brush your child’s teeth before bedtime.
If your child’s primary dentition begins and they seem in pain, you can:
- Rub their gums with your finger.
- Rub their gums with the back of a small, cold spoon.
If the pain persists, your dentist, pharmacist or doctor can recommend over-the-counter medication to soothe the pain.
Here’s what you shouldn’t do:
- Do NOT use pain medication that you rub on your child’s gums; they could swallow it.
- Do NOT give them teething biscuits. They can contain added or hidden sugar.
- Do NOT underestimate a fever. New teeth do NOT make babies sick or feverish. If your child’s body temperature fluctuates, consult your doctor.
The set of primary teeth – 20 in total—will have come out before your child reaches the age of two or three.
It is normal for babies to suck. That is how they relax and eat. By the time a child is two or three, they have less need to suck. If your child still likes to do so, it is better to give them a pacifier (soother) rather than let them suck their thumb.
Why? Because YOU can control when and how your child uses a pacifier, but not their thumb. Never put sugar, honey or corn syrup on a pacifier. This may cause cavities. It is best to get your child to stop sucking the pacifier BEFORE the age of three. Letting your child continue to suck their thumb or a pacifier AFTER their permanent teeth have come in could affect how their jaw grows and the position of their teeth.
Tooth Decay in Children
Breast milk, baby formula, cow’s milk and fruit juice ALL contain sugar.
Babies MAY develop cavities if they:
- Fall asleep while drinking a bottle of milk, formula or juice;
- Fall asleep at their mother’s breast with milk still in their mouth.
This type of cavity can occur up to the age of four. Once your child has teeth, check them every month. Look out for stains or dull white lines on the teeth along the gums. Also watch for discoloured (dark) teeth. If you see any of these signs, make an appointment with your dentist right away. Cavities in young children must be treated quickly, otherwise they could experience pain and develop an infection. If you give your child a bottle of milk, formula or juice at bedtime, stopping all at once WON’T be easy.
Here’s what to do:
- Put plain water in the bottle only.
- If your child refuses it, give them a clean soother, a stuffed toy or a blanket.
- If your child cries, don’t give up.
- Comfort them and try again.
If this doesn’t work, try watering down your child’s bottle over a week or two until there is only water left. If your child falls asleep while nursing, try to take them off the breast while they are still awake.
Fillings in Baby Teeth
Why fill a baby tooth that is going to fall out?
Some primary teeth will be in your child’s mouth until age 12. However, fillings are sometimes unavoidable before these teeth fall out. Broken and infected teeth can affect your child’s health and self-confidence. To fill the tooth, the dentist will remove the cavity with metal, plastic or another material. A filling may be an easy and inexpensive way to alleviate a problem that, if left untreated, could cause pain and require costly treatment. It can prevent the cavity from affecting the tooth any further.
If the tooth is not filled and the cavity grows, the tooth might have to be pulled. If that is the case, your child might need to wear a spacer to leave room for the permanent tooth to come in. When a baby tooth is missing, the teeth around it could move into the space and prevent the permanent tooth from growing.
Oral Health in Babies
Did you know?
It’s important to rub a wet cloth over your baby’s gums after every meal, even before their first teeth come out.
You should never put a baby to bed with a bottle of milk or juice, because they contain sugar.
Pregnancy gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums caused by hormonal changes. Everything returns to normal after giving birth.
To avoid that a child under three swallows too much fluoride, add an amount of toothpaste no greater than a grain of rice on their toothbrush.
Do you have more questions?