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What to Expect

The first dental visit should occur shortly after the first tooth erupts and no later than the child’s first birthday. Beginning tooth and mouth examinations early may lead to detection of early stages of tooth decay that can be easily treated. At the first visit we will present:

  • A program of preventive home care including brushing, flossing, diet and the importance of fluorides.
  • A caries risk assessment.
  • Information about Early Childhood Caries, which may be due to inappropriate nursing habits or inappropriate use of sippy cups.
  • The latest facts about finger, thumb and pacifier habits.
  • What you need to know about preventing injuries to the mouth and teeth.
  • Information on growth and development.

Q: What happens in a dental check-up?

The pediatric dentist will review your child's medical and dental history. He will gently examine your child's teeth, oral tissues, and jaws. The teeth may be cleaned and polished, followed by the application of a fluoride solution. The pediatric dentist won't talk just to you about dental health; he or she will talk to your child with easily understandable words, pictures, and ideas.

Q: How often should a child see the dentist?

A dental check-up is recommended at least twice a year for most children. Some children need more frequent dental visits because of increased risk of tooth decay, unusual growth patterns or poor oral hygiene. The pediatric dentist will let you know the best appointment schedule for your child.

Q: Why visit the dentist twice a year when my child has never had a cavity?

Regular dental visits help your child stay cavity-free. Teeth cleanings remove debris that build up on the teeth, irritate the gums and cause decay. Fluoride treatments renew the fluoride content in the enamel, strengthening teeth and preventing cavities. Hygiene instructions improve your child's brushing and flossing, leading to cleaner teeth and healthier gums.

Tooth decay isn't the only reason for a dental visit. The pediatric dentist provides an ongoing assessment of changes in your child's oral health. For example, your child may need additional fluoride, dietary changes, or sealants for ideal dental health. The pediatric dentist may identify orthodontic problems and suggest treatment to guide the teeth as they emerge in the mouth.

Q: Will X-rays be taken at every appointment?

No. Pediatric dentists, acting in accord with guidelines from the Canadian Dental Association, recommend X-rays only when necessary to protect your child's dental health. For example, X-rays maybe needed to diagnose tooth decay or abnormalities. Or, they may be required for orthodontic treatment.

Q: How can I help my child enjoy good dental health?

The following steps will help your child be part of the cavity-free generation:

  • Beware of frequent snacking
  • Brush effectively twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss once a day
  • Have sealants applied when appropriate
  • Seek regular dental check-ups
  • Assure proper fluoride through drinking water, fluoride products or fluoride supplements