Your Child’s Oral Health
Health Canada, the Canadian Dental Association, and the Canadian Pediatric Society are all recommending that children visit their dentist by the time they reach one year of age.
If your child is younger than 18 months, we will ask his caregiver to lay him or her on their lap with the child’s head closest the doctor or hygienist. We will then check the child’s mouth for the eruption of teeth as well as any signs of decay (sometimes caused by milk bottle feeding or other acidic drinks). Time will be spent explaining to the child’s caregiver the best way to care for the child’s erupting teeth and both the good and bad things to watch for.
For children older than 18 months, we will give the child a “ride in the chair”, ask them to help count their teeth and perhaps even scale or polish their teeth, depending on the age of the child and the condition of their teeth.
After a child’s dental visit, regardless of whether it is the first dental visit, children may choose from a variety of prizes to take home. We have a large selection of parent resources available should you have any questions about brushing, orthodontics (braces), specialist referrals to a children’s dentist (pedadontist) or fluoride.
What can parents do to help their child understand the appointment?
It is best to be honest with your child but to avoid words like “needle”, “frozen”, or “scared”. In our experience, parents who tell their children that the procedure will not “hurt” do little to lessen their anxiety prior to an appointment.
Our dentists are always interested in looking after children in our office and we routinely successfully take care of fillings that need to be done. However, sometimes children are anxious and no amount of conversation will convince them that treatment in necessary. In these cases, we may suggest the use of nitrous (laughing gas) or in the case of a child with a lot of decay and high anxiety; we will refer them to a specialist (pediatric dentist). Dr. Weinberger from London is both an orthodontist and a pediatric dentist. He visits our office once a month and can provide consults in our office on Saturdays. He will then complete treatment for children in his London office.
What if your child needs a filling?
Sometimes, despite proper brushing and a good diet, children develop cavities. It is important to remember that this may not be the fault of the parent or child. In our practice we have seen many families with children who have similar brushing habits and diets; yet one child develops decay constantly and his or her sibling never needs to come back for restorative work. The fact is that some people have different amounts of bacteria in their mouths’, which can lead to decay. We can test for certain levels and types of bacteria. These tests help parents, their children, and our team to explain why decay may be taking place and what we can do to prevent decay depending on the type of bacteria that is being produced.
Bribery is not an effective method of convincing children that they require dental work. If your child needs to have a filling, we will explain on their level, what is going to take place in order that they understand the procedure as it progresses. We will give them numbing gel, and then we will place sleepy juice in their mouths so that the tooth can go to sleep. Next they will hear the water washing the bacteria away, and after that they will hear the bumpy drill. Then their appointment will be finished! Parents are welcome to remain with their child during the treatment but it is important that they allow the conversation to take place between the dentist and their child in order that the doctor can build a trusting relationship with the patient.