We welcome children at Main Street Family Dental. A child’s early experiences with dentistry can be critical to a lifetime of good care. We believe that visits to the dentist should not only be a regular part of a child’s dental health, but fun too! With a parent’s help we can make it a pleasant experience that the child will remember fondly.
We normally like to start seeing little ones at about age 2, unless obvious signs of tooth decay or other dental problems are noticed earlier.
The first visit is usually an exam, and an opportunity to get acquainted. We vary the amount of treatment based on the child’s personality and abilities. With regular dental care, children can grow up to be enthusiastic dental patients, having and maintaining teeth that would make any parent proud.
HOW TO PREPARE YOUR CHILD FOR THE DENTIST
Always speak positively about going to the dentist. Don’t transfer your fears or anxieties about dental care to your children.
Tell your child that the dentist is going to check their teeth just like a physician checks out the rest of their body.
Tell your child that we will be counting their teeth and then polishing them so they are shiny and clean.
Encourage them that “big kids” go to the dentist. Most children are eager to impress you with the next step in their maturity or independence.
It is a good thing if a younger child can watch an older sibling or parent at the dentist for a recall exam, if they exhibit cooperative and positive behaviours.
Unless there is an emergency, we do not do any treatment other than a cleaning at the initial examination so reassure your child that this appointment is just to “look around”.
If your child does require follow-up treatment there are a few things you can do to help it go smoothly:
- Please DO NOT talk about needles, drills or pain. Young children are very impressionable and anything you say, even as a joke can create anxiety that is very difficult to undo.
- We have many methods to introduce the unpleasant aspects of dentistry. Children are incredibly tolerant of dental procedures if they are not nervous at the outset.
- We use the tell-show-do method to explain to children what we are doing as we do it. This satisfies their natural curiosity and allows them to feel a sense of responsibility and pride in the success of the procedure.
- We rarely use terms like needle, drill etc. We have kid-friendly terminology to explain the procedures.
We allow parents to stay in the operatory while we work if they are helpful and supportive. If you know you will not be comfortable watching due to your own nervousness, or that your child likes to feel independent, please feel free to wait in the waiting area. We do ask that if you are going to watch that you allow us to work without interference, commentary or distraction to the child. Of course we welcome your questions and strive to make you comfortable with the planned procedures.
SOME TIPS FOR CARING FOR YOUR CHILD’S TEETH
Start caring for your child’s teeth as soon as they are visible in the mouth.
- Clean your baby’s teeth with a moist washcloth after every feeding
Tooth paste with fluoride is not recommended for kids under 6. Children’s toothpaste without fluoride is available commercially and is appropriate for young children who do not spit out the paste reliably.
Help your child to brush twice daily. Little hands have trouble getting everywhere with a toothbrush, so your help in brushing is very important. This also gets children accustomed to someone working in their mouths.
Help your child to floss. This establishes routine and is important for preventing decay between the teeth. Try having the child lie on the couch or bed at first for easy access for flossing.
Get your child in the habit of going to bed with clean teeth.
Never let your child go to bed with a bottle that contains anything other than water!
Avoid the use of “sippy cups” filled with anything other than water. Children that have free access to juice or milk all day long in a sippy cup have more trouble with decay.
Limit snacks that contain high sugar items – this includes crackers and cereal too, that are given constantly throughout the day. Dried fruits are yummy but very sticky and can be a culprit in decay even if a diet is low in refined sugar.
Most of all make dental care fun! Reward positive behaviour with praise!