It’s a sad truth, but many of the anxieties some adults experience leading up to a visit to the dentist are founded in a less than positive visit to the dentist as a child. As a parent, you want to do everything you can to protect your child’s wellbeing – and that includes both their mental health and their dental health. In order to forge a strong relationship with your dentist and minimize any stress related to future dental visits, your friends at Gentry Dentistry of Suwanee have compiled a list of five important things to know about your child’s relationship with their dentist.
Partner with a Family Dentist Who Specializes in Pediatric Dentistry
Much like becoming a Kindergarten Teacher or Pediatrician, it’s a true calling to serve as a Pediatric Dentist. It takes a special breed of dentist and supporting staff to extend the level of care, patience, compassion and encouragement required by our youngest patients. Gentry Dentistry of Suwanee has often earned accolades as the best pediatric dentist in Suwanee for our treatment of every pint-sized patient who sits in our chair. As a family dentist that treats multiple generations of local families, we strive to partner with parents from the start to forge a lasting relationship with the children we serve to alleviate stress and build a firm foundation for a lifetime of good oral health. We begin with a “happy visit” when patients as young as three can come meet the dentists and hygienists – making them feel comfortable before their first cleaning and examination. In addition to a friendly staff and warm and welcoming environment, that shiny new toothbrush and visit to the “Treasure Box” at the end of each visit go a long way in alleviating any fears during future visits. They might not get that level of special treatment if visiting a general dentist.
When to Take Your Child to the Dentist for the First Time
While some pediatric dentists will accept patients as young as one, unless there is a cause for concern, Gentry Dentistry of Suwanee believes three is the ideal age to begin visits to the dentist. By age three, many of their primary – or “baby” – teeth will have emerged. This is also a great time to reinforce oral health education – teaching them how to properly brush and floss, as well as the reasons why. If we spot any potential issues with their baby teeth, we may recommend pediatric sealants as a preventative measure. These are easily applied and will safeguard your child’s mouth from decay, preventing the need to drill due to cavities – which can be a scary (albeit sometimes necessary) exercise for some young patients.
Don’t Neglect Those Baby Teeth
While you may elect to wait until your children are in preschool to schedule a visit to the dentist, great oral health begins early and at home. Those primary teeth will begin to emerge as early as six to ten months – typically beginning with those super cute lower central incisors and followed shortly thereafter by their equally adorable upper central incisors. Unless they’re late bloomers, by 33-36 months, they should have a full set of 20 baby teeth – including those four central incisors, four lateral incisors, four cuspids (aka canines), four first molars and four second molars. You can begin brushing those primary teeth when they are babies – using only a light smear of pediatric toothpaste and continue when they are toddlers – bumping up to a pea-sized dollop of fluoride toothpaste. Make sure to tell them not to swallow their toothpaste, and endeavor to make brushing fun with a cool toothbrush and/or the singing of the ABC song to demonstrate how long it takes to properly brush their teeth (with the exception of those very young ones who still only have a handful of teeth in their mouth).
Tooth Decay is the Most Frequently Occurring Disease During Childhood in the United States
In addition to teaching your little ones about the benefits of brushing, it’s important to explain the dangers of too much sugar. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that more than 50% of children between the ages of 6 and 8 have acquired at least one cavity in their baby teeth. Unfortunately, those statistics remain the same among pre-teens and teenagers, with more than half having at least one cavity in their permanent teeth. That’s why it’s so important to begin oral health education and reinforce healthy practices from a young age. Sugary drinks and candy are often the culprits, so try your best to minimize their exposure by opting for “no sugar added” beverages and snacks when possible. With a major uptick in early childhood caries – aka “baby bottle tooth decay” – parents should avoid the habit of putting their baby or toddler to bed with a bottle or sippy cup unless it’s only filled with fluoridated water. Breastmilk and formula could potentially expose them to bacterial acid throughout the night. If you do occasionally opt to make a run to the local ice cream parlor, get your child in the habit of brushing their teeth as soon as possible after they’ve finished their treat.
How Often to Brush and Floss
Everyone from children to adults should brush their teeth at least two times a day – once in the morning and once before bedtime, although brushing after every meal is ideal. Be sure to use a right-sized toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to help ward off tooth decay. The American Association of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that parents oversee their child’s practice of brushing up to age 10 to ensure that they’re not only doing it but that they’re doing it properly. Begin flossing your child’s teeth once you notice at least two teeth are touching. Everyone should floss at least one time a day.
If you are in search of an excellent family dentist in Suwanee to serve your needs and the oral health of your children, look no further than Gentry Dentistry! We are currently accepting new patients. Simply call our office at 770-945-5850 or fill out our online appointment form to schedule an appointment for yourself and/or your children. We look forward to meeting you!