At Cameo Dental, we provide compassionate dental care for the whole family, including the littlest smiles! We love working with kids, and we believe in getting them off to a good start. Childhood dental visits are important for establishing lifelong dental habits that will ensure a happy and healthy smile for life.
At your child’s dental checkup, we will examine the teeth and gums, check their bite, and look for any potential problems with crowding, spacing, tooth eruption, jaw development, and oral tissues. We will also discuss good oral hygiene practices, oral habits (like thumb sucking, tooth grinding, or tongue thrusting), proper nutrition, and cavity prevention.
Scheduling That Works for Your Family
We know how difficult it can be to schedule dental appointments around school, sports, activities, and family vacations. This is why we arrange for families to book appointments together, allowing you to get in and out as fast as possible. We even offer evening appointments so that you don’t have to miss work.
When Should I Start Taking My Child to the Dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics all agree that children should be seen by a dentist when their first tooth erupts and no later than their first birthday. As soon as a tooth is exposed to the oral environment it is susceptible to dental decay, and early prevention is key to lifelong dental health.
Dental Anxiety in Children
We know how scary going to the dentist can be for your child, but you can rest assured that we do everything we can to keep their appointments enjoyable and positive. We strive to make every visit a fun one!
Please know that it is normal and age-appropriate for young children to whine, cry, fuss, and wiggle a bit at the dentist. We are used to working with children, and we will use special vocabulary and other techniques to make the appointment as pleasant as possible. We encourage laughing, silly stories, and lots of smiles. We use non-threatening language and avoid scary words like drill, needle, or shot. It helps if you do too!
We also have nitrous oxide sedation available in every room to help keep kids calm and comfortable during dental procedures. Nitrous oxide, sometimes known as “laughing gas”, is a safe and effective sedative gas that is mixed gently with oxygen. It is inhaled through a small mask that fits over your child’s nose. It is safe for even small children, and is eliminated from the body quickly after the gas is turned off.
They’re Just Baby Teeth, Won’t They Just Fall Out Anyway?
It is a common misconception that primary (“baby”) teeth don’t matter. They do matter – a lot! Just like you, your child uses his or her teeth to chew naturally, to speak clearly, and to smile big! Baby teeth have the additional important role of holding space and forming a path for the permanent teeth to erupt. Baby teeth fall out naturally when the permanent teeth are ready to take their place. However, if a baby tooth is lost too early due to severe decay or injury, it can prevent proper development of the jaw, muscles, and adult teeth. Some of your child’s baby teeth aren’t meant to fall out until they are 10-12 years old, so good habits are important from the start. Help your child clean their teeth every day to keep them free from cavity-causing food debris and bacteria. Children should also have regular dental checkups to ensure that their teeth stay healthy and are erupting and falling out on schedule. In the event that a baby tooth is lost prematurely, your dentist can recommend a space maintainer to aid in the proper development of the teeth and jaws.
What are Dental Sealants and How Do They Work?
We may recommend dental sealants for your child as their permanent teeth come in. Dental sealants are a special thin, protective coating placed on permanent teeth in order to help prevent tooth decay. Teeth have pits and fissures in their anatomy that can trap cavity-causing bacteria and food debris. According to the CDC, dental sealants can reduce the risk of decay by 80% in the back teeth.
Remember that dental sealants are not a substitute for brushing and flossing, they are simply an additional safety net to protect your child’s teeth from decay.
Is Thumb-Sucking or Pacifier Use Bad for My Baby?
Thumb-sucking and pacifier use is perfectly normal for a small child. However, if the behavior is prolonged it can affect your child’s tooth alignment, jaw development, and bite. If sucking behavior continues past the age of 3, consult with your dentist. Your dental team can help you to brainstorm strategies for breaking the habit. For some patients, a mouth appliance may be recommended.
How Do I Clean My Baby’s Teeth?
As soon as teeth erupt into your child’s mouth, they are at risk for decay. It is important to keep them clean and free from food debris and bacteria from the start.
Starting at birth, you can clean your child’s gums with a soft toothbrush or cloth and water. Once teeth start to appear, you may start brushing the teeth twice daily with fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate tooth brush. Use only a rice-sized amount or tiny smear of toothpaste for children under 2 years of age. For 2-5 year olds, a pea-sized amount of toothpaste can be used.
Don’t forget the floss! Children’s teeth can be flossed as soon as two of their teeth touch together. This is essential for removing plaque and food where a toothbrush can’t reach.
Remember that young children do not have the ability to brush their teeth effectively, and they will need assistance. Double check their work, make sure they get all the surfaces of their teeth, all the way to the back. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends watching or helping your child clean their teeth until they are at least 8 years old.