One of the most gratifying aspects of “classic” dentistry is the opportunity to build close relationships with patients and their children and parents. Ideally, these relationships start at a young age. Many fears and phobias related to dental care start in early childhood. At Scola Family Dentistry, we want your child to become familiar and comfortable with visits when they are so young that they likely will not even remember that first appointment. That way, pediatric dentistry in Murrieta, CA, becomes just a “normal” part of life for them, like going to school and engaging in sports and other activities.
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry encourages parents and caregivers to bring children to their first visit either within six months of the first tooth erupting through the gums or by no later than his or her first birthday (whichever comes first).
Since those first visits optimistically occur at such young ages, they are very much about educating the caregiver on healthy habits and demonstrating good oral hygiene techniques. Likewise, Dr. Valerie Scola enjoys answering any questions you may have to support your child’s healthy oral development. During these formative years, proper development of the teeth, gums, jaws, and other oral structures plays a vital role in the overall development of your child.
While every child is special and unique, there are some things that we tend to discuss with many caregivers during those initial visits, including:
Even if your baby doesn’t have any teeth, it’s important to clean the inside of their mouth with soft, clean gauze or a damp washcloth. Be sure to do so after each feeding to prevent bacteria from flourishing, which can lead to decay among developing teeth and even the premature loss of baby teeth.
Just because baby (or primary) teeth ultimately fall out does not mean they are not important. Among other functions, they save space for your child’s permanent teeth. Without those baby teeth, adult teeth may not grow in correctly. We discuss ways to keep primary teeth strong and healthy before discussing space maintainers, though that option is available should a baby tooth fall out early.
Resist the temptation to “pacify” children with juices or other drinks and foods that are full of sugars. This habit is so problematic to young teeth that there is a name for it: Baby Bottle Decay. The condition refers to the habit of parents putting babies to bed with bottles full of sugary drinks, and the bacteria that produce decay thrive on those sugars.
As your child gets older and develops motor skills, joins sports and other activities, and is presented with new challenges to his or her happy, healthy smile, we at Scola Family Dentistry will be there every step of the way. When the time comes, we are glad to discuss ways to help children effectively brush and floss, and preventive services such as fluoride therapy, dental sealants, and interceptive orthodontics.