Children’s Dentistry – First dental visit
There seems to be a lot of confusion amongst parents, pediatricians, and dentists about children’s dentistry. Particularly about the correct timing for the first dental visit. Many “family” dentists may tell parents not to bring children for a dental exam before they have all their baby teeth (age two or three). Sometimes they even recommend to wait until age 6. The parent of a fearful or uncooperative child may be told “we have to wait until your child is old enough to sit still”. Jerusalem dentist, Dr. Ari Greenspan judges each case as per the needs of the child.
Dental Decay in the child
I feel that if a child does not go to bed with a bottle and if you are brushing their teeth, the first visit can be done btween 3-4 years assuming you see no questionable areas in the childs mouth.
At this examination visit proper children’s dentistry should record a thorough medical and dental history. Parents should be prepared to review the prenatal, perinatal, and postnatal period of their child’s development.
The Oral Exam
The oral examination at this early age is usually accomplished with the parent present in the office. It is most often only a visual exam. The child patient may be sitting in the parent’s lap with the head in the dentist’s lap (knee-to-knee position).
One important aspect of this children’s dentistry visit is to discuss the child’s risk of developing oral and dental disease. Based on this assessment the pediatric dentist will determine the appropriate recall interval for the next dental visit. In high risk cases this may be as early as three months. Dental decay in children can progress very rapidly.
The dentist will also evaluate the child’s oral and dental development. The common question about “how many teeth at what age ?” will be addressed. The children’s dentist will also evaluate the need for fluoride supplementation. It may be important to discuss non-nutritive habits (finger sucking, pacifier), injury prevention, oral hygiene, and effects of diet on the dentition.
If treatment is indicated the kids dentist should be prepared to provide therapy or he needs to refer the patient.
Sometimes severe early decay can happen and it is referred to as baby bottle decay syndrome.