Your first visit is an opportunity for all of us to become acquainted. Therefore, extra time is allotted to answer your questions and to become friends with your child. Establishing a positive and comfortable relationship is key to continuing successful care.
Most first visits include a thorough cleaning and radiographs, if indicated. However, your child's medical history, past dental history, emotional comfort level, and chief concerns all influence the steps of a first visit. Please bring your completed medical history with you at your first visit.
Normally the first tooth erupts between ages six to twelve months. Gums may be sore or tender and your child may sometimes be irritable, until the age of three, due to the eruption of the baby teeth. Rubbing sore gums gently with a clean finger, the back of a cold spoon or a cold, wet cloth helps soothe the gums. Teething rings work well, but avoid teething biscuits--they contain sugar that is not good for baby teeth.
While your baby is teething, it is important to monitor the teeth for signs of cavities. Examine the teeth, especially on the inside or the tongue side every two weeks for dull spots (whiter than the tooth surface) or lines. A bottle containing anything other than water and left in an infant's mouth while sleeping can cause cavities. This happens because sugar in the liquid mixes with bacteria in dental plaque, forming acids that attack the teeth for about 30 minutes. When awake, saliva carries away the liquid. During sleep, the saliva flow significantly decreases and liquids pool around the child's teeth for long periods, covering the teeth in acids.
Primary teeth (baby teeth) are vital to development of the jaws and for guiding the permanent (secondary) teeth into place when they replace the primary teeth around age six.
Since primary teeth guide the permanent teeth into place, infants with missing primary teeth, or infants who prematurely lose primary teeth may require a space maintainer, a device used to hold the natural space open. Without a maintainer, the teeth can tilt toward the empty space and cause permanent teeth to come in crooked. Missing teeth should always be mentioned to your family dentist. The way your child cares for his/her primary teeth plays a critical role in how he/she treats the permanent teeth. Children and adults are equally susceptible to plaque and gum problems--hence the need for regular care and dental checkups.