For your child’s first visit, it is important that your child becomes familiar and feels “at home” with our office environment and staff. We encourage you to bring your child in for a complimentary Happy Visit. Our happy visits are for kids who have never been to the dentist or who have developed a fear of the dentist. We have your child come into our office for a NO CHARGE visit. Once here, they can play in the playroom watching movies, playing the X-box or playing with the toys. In this atmosphere, they will be able to hear and see that the dental office is a safe place to be. They will get used to our staff and Dr. Victoria Nguyen, who are all new to them. Your child can sit in a dental chair and play in our treatment room and get used to our equipment. It is even fun to have their mom or dad sit in the chair while they play assistant. We encourage you to bring your child in for these happy visits as many times as it takes to make your child feel comfortable before we start any major dental work. One parent who had a child who had been traumatized brought her daughter in to play in the play room on four separate occasions until she was comfortable enough to sit in the dental chair and have her cavity filled.
We have a room just for kids. They can play with toys, watch a movie or play X-box. You can feel assured that your children are in a safe environment while you get your dental work done. It is a good idea to come early to your child’s appointment so they can play in the kid’s room, relax and get used to the dental environment before we start their dental treatment.
Sealants can help prevent cavities. Usually sealants are placed in the deep grooves of permanent molars of pediatric patients when the dental caries rate is high. There are some children where sealants are not indicated. Besides the benefits, there are some possible risks such as: if small caries below the surface that are not detectable visually or with X-rays are covered with a sealant, the caries will grow and become a large cavity or even a root canal problem. We prefer to leave this choice up to the parents.
With the high consumption of sodas by kids, many are getting cavities around existing fillings relatively soon after the placement of the filling. The combination of acid and sugar eats away at the enamel surrounding the filling causing decay underneath the filling.
Sodas are also causing new decay on teeth rapid enough that kids are getting new cavities in between visits to the dentist. Additional factors are home care (brushing and flossing) and the amount and type of dietary sugars.
A science experiment commonly done in schools is to drop a tooth into a cup of soda and watch it dissolve. Imagine what is being done to the teeth in the mouth and the fillings.
We recommend minimizing the intake of sodas. When drinking sodas, it is best to drink them rapidly. Slow sipping allows the acid and sugar to remain on the teeth longer causing more damage. It is also best to brush soon after drinking the soda or at least rinsing with water if brushing is not an option.
EARLY CHILDHOOD CARIES – ECC
ECC, also known as baby bottle tooth decay or nursing caries, is the presence of moderate to severe decay in infants and young children. The cause is usually giving the child bottles and sippy cups with liquids containing some form of sugar—milk, sodas, juice. It can also be caused by breast feeding frequently during the night where the child’s teeth are not brushed afterwards. The sugars from the milk sit on the baby’s teeth until morning while bacteria work at creating decay. Another contributor is sugar in oral medications, parents that add honey to the pacifier and added sugar in most processed foods.
Nutrition is a complicated matter these days with most children eating foods high in sugar and fermentable carbohydrates. Fermentable carbohydrates (such as cereals, granola bars or raisins), will provide sugar for the bacteria in the mouth to produce acid, which removes minerals from the tooth enamel resulting in decay. It is best, also, to avoid food products where sugar is the first or second ingredient. While it is okay to occasionally eat these types of foods, having your child snack on them throughout the day without brushing will cause tooth decay. The most important factor is to brush well and floss after eating or drinking any food products.
It is advisable to check your child’s teeth on a daily basis. Simply pull their lips away from their teeth and check for decay. Most often it will be present at the gumline or biting surface (check the front and back). It will show up as chalky white spots or brown spots.
Xylitol is a naturally-occurring sugar substitute which has properties that can reduce dental decay. Look for Xylitol gum for you and your children to chew. Some other prevention measures would be:
- Brush your child’s teeth, gums and tongue twice a day-once at bedtime with a fluoride toothpaste.
- At the evening brushing, have your child brush with a fluoride toothpaste and spit out the excess paste without rinsing. This will leave fluoride on overnight and act as a fluoride treatment.
- Avoid sugary snacks without brushing after each snack.
- Brush after giving your child oral medication with sugar as an ingredient.
- Don’t give your child a sippy cup or bottle with sugars in it.
- Don’t give your child a sugared pacifier.
- Practice good oral health yourself.
- Feed your child and yourself a proper diet.
- Visit your dentist twice a year, more often if your child is at high risk for cavities.
- Chew Xylitol gum if high risk.
For more information log onto www.first5oralhealth.org.
We offer a NO CHARGE infant visit with a trained dental assistant. This is not an exam by the dentist, but an educational visit on infant dental care. Call today for an appointment and to receive your information filled infant packet.
Begin cleaning the baby’s mouth with a clean damp washcloth or an infant gum “tender.” Avoid putting your baby to bed with a bottle or sippy cup that contains milk, formula, juice, soda or other sweetened liquid. Only water should be put in a bottle or cup if your child cannot fall asleep without it. While your baby is breastfeeding, wipe the teeth with a damp washcloth as soon as he or she falls asleep and stops sucking.
As soon as your child’s first tooth comes in, start to brush twice a day. Use soft-bristled baby brushes with water. When your child can spit, you can begin using a fluoride toothpaste. Swallowing fluoride can give some children a stomach ache. Also ask your pediatrician about fluoride supplements.