Baby teeth do matter
Why is it important to look after baby teeth?
It is a common misconception that baby teeth are not as important because they will eventually fall out and be replaced with a set of adult teeth.
Decay in baby can lead to pain and infection which can result in difficult eating, sleeping and concentrating. Infection in children’s teeth can sometimes lead to defects in the developing adult teeth. Did you know that the number one reason for a hospital admission for a general anaesthetic procedure in children in the UK is for the removal of infected and decayed teeth?
One before One
These early visits are important for several reasons:
To acclimatise your child to the dental environment: When your child attends from a young age, when treatment is not needed, they can get used to regular appointments and get used to sitting in the dental chair, and having their teeth checked and counted.
Preventative advice: we all know prevention is better than the cure so the best time to learn good oral habits is as early as possible.
Baby teeth normally come through around 6-7 months of age, and we recommend making an appointment with your dentist as soon as the first teeth start coming through. It doesn't matter if the teeth come through a few months later or even early, but make sure they have at least one appointment before their first birthday. Although most babies will not have any dental issues at this age, this first visit is important to acclimatise them to the dental environment. A new environment can be a bit stressful for anyone, so it is a good idea to come when they are not having any problems, so that they have a positive association with coming to the dentist. It is also a good idea to get them used to coming regularly.
What happens at your baby's first dental visit?
Your baby will meet the dentist and dental team who will all be so excited to have a cute visitor. We will introduce them to the dental chair and hopefully get them sitting on the dental chair and have a little ride. If they are a little nervous they can sit on mum or dad's knee.
We like to put on your child’s favourite tv show, and give them lots of praise and reassurance so they can have a positive first experience and teach them that going to the dentist is fun.
We may introduce various dental instruments to your child such as the dental mirror and let them hold or play with it, and depending on cooperation we will try to count the teeth and examine them. Don't worry if your child is a little nervous and refuses to open, these things happen. The more times they come to the dentist and have a happy positive experience, the more comfortable they will become and better their cooperation will be. It can help if they have an older sibling who they can go first to demonstrate what happens.
It is also important for parents to ensure this appointment is positive and stress-free for the child, with gentle encouragement and by not using any negative or "scary" words. If a parent suffers from dental phobia, try not to project those negative feelings and fears onto your child, which could impact how they feel about going to the dentist. Some patients have an unexplained fear of the dentist despite never personally having had any bad experiences. Many tell us their parents own fear and experiences have caused them to develop irritational fear and anxiety. Dental anxieties can negatively impact on their dental health long term, as people with dental phobias tend not to visit the dentist regularly, only attending when in pain, which will further negatively reinforce their perception of dentistry.
Another benefit of this first visit to get tailored dental advice for your child. We will ask you questions about your current routine and if there is anything that you are struggling with, and we can give you advice on how to improve things or how to make things easier.
What are the top tips to look after baby teeth?
Prevention is always better than the cure, and the best time to learn good oral health habits is as early as possible
Ensure brushing is part of the daily routine every night and every morning. Babies love routine, and this way they can get used to the habit of cleaning their teeth, for example every night after bath-time.
Use a fluoride toothpaste with at least 1000ppm fluoride as soon as the first baby tooth starts coming through.
Use only a smear of toothpaste on your finger or a baby toothbrush. A silicone finger brush is a great alternative if your baby will not let you use a brush.
To book an appointment to check your child's teeth call 0161 327 2878