Calgary Children's Dentist
Come Celebrate Your Child’s First Dental Visit With Us
Children's Dentist Calgary
At Alpine Dental, we recognize that your child's first dental visit is exciting. We think it is exciting too and want to celebrate the occasion with you. We will make the experience as fun as possible and still achieve all the necessary goals for a dental visit.
The Canadian Dental Association recommends that all children see the dentist within six months of when their first tooth comes in, or before the age of one. After this, all children should see their dentist every 6 months for preventive care and to catch problems early, as problems with baby teeth can progress quickly.
During Your Child's First Visit, Dr. Brescia will:
- Have a first look at your child's teeth to screen for cavities, infections, and any other potential problems
- Talk about oral hygiene habits and techniques
- Discuss diet and impact on dental health
- Discuss tooth brushing and flossing tips
- Discuss causes and solutions for tooth decay
- When appropriate, we will clean your child’s teeth and assess the best age to start fluoride treatments
- Assess when the first x-rays should be taken
- Screen for bite problems needing a referral to an orthodontist
It is important for all parents to understand their children’s baby teeth. Parents should be aware that teeth can get cavities as soon as they appear in the mouth, as early as one year old. Baby teeth need to be protected with proper tooth brushing, cleanings, fluoride when appropriate, and by avoiding decay from sugar - just as adult teeth need to be protected. Teeth with cavities must be fixed to stop the decay from spreading. If the decay gets worse, the tooth may abscess, affecting your child’s overall health and the tooth will need to be extracted. Even though these teeth are not permanent, they are very important for long term dental health because they hold space in the mouth for adult teeth, and are intended to remain until permanent teeth are ready to take their place. Early dental care will ensure these teeth are not lost too early.
Risks of Losing Baby Teeth Early Include:
- Movement of other teeth in the mouth
- Loss of space, leading to crowding of the adult teeth
- Bite problems
- Poor aesthetics
Dr. Brescia’s Top Dental Tips For Parents
Tip #1: Kids should see the dentist for the first time before the age of one.
The Canadian Dental Association recommends that every child see a dentist by age 1 or within 6 months of the first tooth erupting. We chose this p as number one because it is the most commonly asked question of dentists by new parents. In our opinion, it's never too early to bring your child in and let them begin getting comfortable. We also place a strong emphasis on preventative care, avoiding future problems.
Tip #2: Start brushing teeth as soon as they appear in the mouth.
Even before teeth erupt, you can wipe the gums with a soft wash cloth. Once teeth are present, use a child-sized toothbrush with soft bristles twice a day. We find that brushing with the child laying down on the floor seems to work best for most people. The most important brushing is the one right before bed, so that sugars and bacteria don't sit on the teeth all night. We do not recommend children's power toothbrushes available in most stores. The brush heads are much too large for young kids and we find they do not do an adequate job. Floss any teeth that are touching.
Tip #3: If your baby sleeps with a bottle or a zippy cup, fill it with water only.
Falling asleep with milk in the mouth is the number one cause of cavities in children.
Tip #4: Baby teeth need to be cared for just as adult teeth do.
Parents should be aware that teeth can get cavities as soon as they appear in the mouth, as early as one year old. Teeth with cavities must be fixed. If the decay gets worse, the tooth may abscess, affecting your child's overall health and the tooth will need to be extracted. Even though these teeth are not permanent, they are very important for long term dental health because they hold space in the mouth for adult teeth, and are intended to remain until permanent teeth are ready to take their place. Early dental care will ensure these teeth are not lost too early.
Tip #5: Don't “prepare” your child or “practice” for their first dental visit.
A first dental visit is meant to be easy and fun. There is no need to practice opening wide. Don't tell your child not to worry and don't tell them it won't hurt (it won't). We strive to make a child's first dental appointment fun, educational and something to celebrate. It's all about a positive experience to develop comfort and trust. Making a big deal about an upcoming appointment can lead to anxiety and an expectation that something really scary is about to happen.
Tip #6: Fluoride prevents cavities.
Start using fluoride toothpaste at age 3, or when a child is able to spit well. Use an amount of toothpaste, smaller than a pea, and make sure your child spits it out after brushing. Ingesting too much fluoride can lead to a condition called fluorosis, in which the developing adult teeth can become permanently discoloured. Fluoride free toothpaste is available at most stores and can be used to make the experience a little more fun and interesting for younger children. We will determine the best time to start in-office fluoride applications.
Tip #7: Kids should not brush independently until around the age eight and need help flossing until the age of 10.
An appropriate target age for brushing independently is around age 8. Children who want to start brushing on their own should be encouraged to do so, but generally most kids don't do a good job until they are much older, so need a parent's help still. Most kids can't floss properly without the help of a parent until around age 10.
Tip #8: Sealants for kids helps prevent cavities in the pits of molars.
We frequently seal first (6-year) and second (12-year) molars to prevent the often-deep pits and fissures from harbouring cavity-causing bacteria. We typically roughen the surface of the pits and grooves and paint a thin layer of sealer into the groove to protect the tooth. This won't stop a cavity already there, but it does a lot to prevent one from forming.
Tip #9: Cheese doesn't cause cavities.
As a mother herself, this is Dr. Brescia's favourite bit of advice. How often have you brushed your child's teeth, gotten them all settled in bed and then had them start crying and saying they are hungry? You can give your child a piece of cheese and not have to brush all over again!! Cheese doesn't contain sugar that causes cavities. Harder cheeses like Cheddar, Swiss, Mozzarella, and Monterey Jack also stimulate the salivary glands to clear the mouth of debris and protect teeth from acids that weaken them. This means cheese disrupts the development of cavities, especially when eaten as a snack or at the end of a meal.
Tip #10: Keep up with regular preventative hygiene and dental exams.
Dr. Brescia recommends that both kids and adults see a dentist for a regular checkup every six months. We want to prevent oral disease from ever occurring. When problems do develop, we want to catch them early when they are easier to fix. Your dentist is there not only to help with children and tooth decay, a typical appointment also involves preventive cleaning, fluoride application, discussing good oral health habits and helping kids get comfortable with regular dental care.