FAQs - Children’s Dentistry
When should I first take my child to the dentist?
We recommend that you start regular dental exams and cleanings for your children at about 3 years of age. However, should you notice a dark shadow, brown spot or hole in a tooth, please make an appointment to bring them in sooner rather than later.
We understand that going to the dentist for the first time can be a scary proposition for some children. It's because of this and our commitment to children's dentistry that we begin the dental experience with a "fun visit" where we introduce your child to the AXIS Dental Group professionals in a casual manner. We provide a calm and relaxing playroom where children can enjoy reading, watching TV or playing video games while they become comfortable with their surroundings.
They receive a ride in the chair, their face and teeth are viewed on the television monitor and we also count their teeth. This gives us a feel for how comfortable your child will be for their first examination.
Some children may need a few "fun visits" before they’re ready for their first exam. This is completely normal and fine with us! If the dental hygienist or dentist feels your child is ready, we can book them in for a complete exam and cleaning.
It’s important to not push or pressure your child into coming to the dentist as this will likely cause them to have a bad experience. Their dental appointments should be viewed as a positive experience, not a scary one.
How should I prepare my child for his/her first visit?
Here are a few suggestions for preparing your child for their first dental visit:
- Role-play with them: Acting as the dentist, you could lay your son or daughter back and have them open wide to show you their teeth so you can check them over. This can then be followed by you showing your teeth to your child and letting them pretend to be the dentist.
- Discuss it with them: Chat with them about their first visit in a positive way. Never threaten or scare your child into seeing the dentist.
- Read books or watch videos: Show them their favorite characters going to the dentist and having a good experience. The more positive your outlook is, the less likely your child will be fearful at their initial visit.
How can I ensure my children have healthier teeth?
Sugar is the number one reason children get cavities. Many parents are aware of this but don't realize it’s the frequency of sugar intake that causes cavities, not the quantity. Every time your child eats or drinks anything with any amount of sugar in it, an “acid attack” occurs in their mouth that can last for up to 30 minutes.
During this acid attack, teeth become weakened. A large acid attack can result in the development of a cavity. For example, if your child had a box of ten small cookies and ate them all at once, he/she would have one acid attack for up to 30 minutes and the teeth would be strong enough to resist the acid.
But if your child ate those ten small cookies at ten different times throughout the day, they would have experienced a total of ten separate acid attacks of 30 minutes each for a total of 5 hours of acid eating away at the teeth. Their teeth wouldn’t be strong enough to resist this lengthy attack, therefore cavities develop.
As a parent, you already know your children like to eat frequently, which is necessary for them to get the nutrients and energy they require. It’s important to encourage them to eat and snack on foods that don’t cause cavities.
Snacks high in sugar or carbohydrates can cause cavities, especially if the teeth have frequent exposure for prolonged periods of time (e.g. sucking on candies/suckers, eating dried/sticky fruits or sipping on sugary drinks).
Encourage your children to eat or drink foods in between meals that don't contain sugar, and allow the sugar treats only at mealtimes when they can brush right afterwards. We can provide you with a list of safe snacks to choose from.
Also remember to never send your children to bed with a bottle of milk, juice or other sugary beverage. Otherwise they’re likely to get “Baby Bottle Syndrome”, which results in multiple cavities starting on the top front teeth and spreading throughout their mouth.
When should I start brushing my children’s teeth?
Good oral hygiene should start early and be encouraged and monitored regularly since it will help to create good habits. As soon as their teeth come through, they can be attacked by bacteria known as plaque, so cleaning even baby teeth is important. For infants, a damp cloth can be used to wipe their teeth clean.
Young children are not able to clean their own teeth. It falls to the parent or caregiver to do it for them when they are very young, and then to clean their teeth with them as children get older.
As your children get older, you can start them with a soft baby toothbrush. We encourage parents to brush their children's teeth until they are 6 years old (or longer if needed) as children are not very effective at brushing and removing all the plaque at a young age. Regular brushing after meals and especially before bedtime is essential to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Coaching your children as they brush their teeth is the beginning of good oral health that will last a lifetime!