Dr. Irina is a Certified First Dental Home Provider
Your Child’s Visit - YOUR INFANT VISIT
Our office, as well as The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and The American Dental Association (ADA) all recommend establishing a “Dental Home” for your child by one year of age. Children who have a dental home are more likely to receive appropriate preventive and routine oral health care. At this young age problems can be detected, treated early, or avoided completely. More importantly, it can help establish a positive relationship between your child and the dentist.
It is best if you refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as needle, pull, drill or hurt. The office makes a practice of using words that convey the same message, but are pleasant and non-frightening to the child.
On your child’s first visit, we usually perform a complete oral exam. Many times we will clean the teeth, apply topical fluoride and may take x-rays that allow the doctor to view the structure of the jaw, the position of any teeth that have not yet erupted, malformed roots, and tooth decay.
The initial visit also involves getting your child’s medical history. When you share your child’s medical history with the doctor, be sure to provide complete, up-to-date information. It is also important to inform the dentist of any fears your child may have about dental treatment. The information collected in your first visit will help the dentist select the safest and most effective method of treatment for your child.
Checkup appointments typically take 30 to 45 minutes. Patients are seen by appointment only. We make every effort to be on time for our patients, and ask that you extend the same courtesy to us. If you cannot keep an appointment, please notify us 48 hours before your appointment via phone or email. After hours you can always leave a message on our general mailbox.
Regular dental checkups are essential to maintaining good oral health. We encourage regular checkups at least every six months. Seeing the dentist twice a year is recommended because your dentist can examine your child's teeth and gums, checking for decay and other problems or abnormalities in the mouth. The dentist will also check your child's bite, proper alignment of jaws, and spacing for permanent teeth.
Regular checkups include a thorough cleaning, polishing, and an oral exam by the doctor. During the oral exam, the doctor checks the health of your child’s mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks, and tongue. At each visit, the doctor also checks old fillings and restorations because constant pressure from chewing, grinding, or clenching can cause them to wear away, chip, or crack.
Depending on your child’s age, X-rays may be taken to evaluate for hidden decay, position and location of the developing permanent teeth. We will also discuss potential problems such as nursing decay, pacifier and thumb-sucking habits. Dr. Irina and his staff will advise you on a program of preventive health care including brushing, flossing, proper nutrition, and the use of fluoride.
Ten Reasons You Should Save Your Child’s Baby Teeth (Primary Teeth)
When I present a treatment plan to parents about their child’s dental condition the parents often ask me “ Why should we do this? These baby teeth are going to fall out anyway!” These are reasons I give why their children’s baby teeth are worth saving:
- These teeth are important because they help guide proper eruption of permanent teeth.
- They help maintain good nutrition with proper chewing.
- They permit normal speech development.
- They need to be repaired to avoid the pain and suffering your child can experience from an abscess that can lead to possible hospitalization.
- To avoid damage to the developing permanent teeth.
- To avoid inadvertent extraction of a permanent tooth bud with early extraction of permanent teeth.
- Avoid high bacteria counts from occurring that can create possible lifetime problems.
- Avoid decay of teeth next to the damaged tooth by direct spread of decay to the other teeth by bacteria shed into the saliva.
- Provide information to the shape of the mouth.
- Your child’s smile affects their sense of self-esteem and confidence.
Dental Care for Your Baby
Q. When should my child first see a dentist?
"First visit by first birthday" sums it up. Your child should visit a pediatric dentist when the first tooth comes in, usually between 6 and 12 months of age. This visit will establish a dental home for your child. Early examination and preventive care will protect your child’s smile now and in the future.
Q. Why so early? What dental problems could a baby have?
The most important reason is to begin a thorough prevention program. Dental problems can begin early. A big concern is Early Childhood Caries (formerly known as baby bottle tooth decay or nursing caries). Once a child’s diet includes anything besides breast-milk, erupted teeth are at risk for decay. The earlier the dental visit, the better the chance of preventing dental problems. Children with healthy teeth chew food easily and smile with confidence. Start your child now on a lifetime of good dental habits.
Q. How can I prevent tooth decay from nursing or using a bottle?
At-will breast-feeding should be avoided after the first primary (baby) teeth begin to erupt and other sources of nutrition have been introduced. Children should not fall asleep with a bottle containing anything other than water. Drinking juice from a bottle should be avoided. Fruit juice should only be offered in a cup with meals or at snack time.
Q. When should bottle-feeding be stopped?
Children should be weaned from the bottle at 12-14 months of age.
Q. Should I worry about thumb and finger sucking?
Thumb sucking is perfectly normal for infants; many stop by age 2. Prolonged thumb sucking can create crooked teeth or bite problems. If the habit continues beyond age 3, a professional evaluation is recommended. Your pediatric dentist will be glad to suggest ways to address a prolonged thumb sucking habit.
Q. When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?
The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. Use a "smear" of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child less than 2 years of age. For the 2-5 year old, dispense a "pea-size" amount of toothpaste and perform or assist your child’s tooth brushing. Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively.
Q. Any advice on teething?
From six months to age 3, your child may have tender gums when teeth erupt. Many children like a clean teething ring, cool spoon or cold wet washcloth. Some parents swear by a chilled ring; others simply rub the baby’s gums with a clean finger.
At this young age problems can be detected, treated early, or avoided completely. More importantly, it can help establish a positive relationship between your child and the dentist.
Dr. Irina and her staff are dedicated to keep his patients free of dental disease by creating a lifetime of positive dental habits. She looks forward to meeting all her patients and their families.