Patient Education

At Kid Dental, we want our patients & their parents to actively participate in the child’s dental health. We take the time to time to listen to your concerns & explain different options, so you can make informed decisions about your child’s dental care & stay involved.

We encourage an open dialogue between our dental professionals, our patients & their parents or guardians. Like any health professionals, we are prone to doctor-speak, but we always try to speak plainly. If we ever say a word you don’t understand, please ask us to explain. We believe that the more our patients & their parents understand the child’s care, the healthier the child’s smile will be.

Here are some frequently asked questions about pediatric dental care. Please take a look & feel free to contact us if you want more information on any topic.

At what age should children first visit a dentist?

Children should see the dentist when their first tooth comes in or by age 1, whichever comes first. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be caring for your baby’s oral health before then. After feeding, you can clean your baby’s gums by rubbing them gently with a damp washcloth. For more advice about caring for your baby’s mouth, please feel free to ask us.

How often should I take my child to see the dentist?

Like adults, children should come in to see the dentist every six months! Oral health is affected by diet, habits & age, all of which change greatly as your child grows up. Coming in consistently for checkups & cleanings means that our dentists can catch any warning signs early on—not to alarm you, but lots of dental conditions don’t necessarily have obvious symptoms you can reliably spot yourself. Dentists have the expertise & advanced tools to properly examine your child’s oral health in a way that you just can’t do on your own.

Regular visits are your child’s best chance for keeping their breath fresh & their teeth strong, clean & white. Hygienists can remove stains & clean plaque that regular brushing & flossing can’t! Plus, regular visits can help your child get in the habit of visiting the dentist, & we’re always happy to give you & your child refresher training on caring for their oral hygiene at home.

How many times per day should my child brush & floss?

Children should brush twice a day & floss once, just like an adult. Not only does this keep their mouth healthy, it helps them get into the routine of good dental hygiene early. Most people brush once when they wake up & brush & floss before bed. While your child may not be on the same sleeping schedule as you, once they are able to brush & floss by themselves it’s a good idea to do it together. Many children are happy to develop good dental habits if their parents also practice them. We can demonstrate proper brushing & flossing technique during your appointment. Before your child can take charge of their own oral hygiene, you’ll have to brush & floss for them. We will be happy to teach you how to do this, too. Please ask us during your visit if you need help!

My child has very good dental care habits & brushes & flosses thoroughly every day. Should I still take them to see a hygienist for cleanings?

First, it’s great that your child is developing good oral hygiene habits. It can benefit their health throughout their lives if they keep it up. Second, yes! There is some stubborn tooth gunk that even the best brushing & flossing can’t get off. This is especially true of tartar, which is the hard substance plaque can turn into if it’s not cleaned off in time. Getting a professional scaling & polishing (the technical term for a teeth cleaning) by a hygienist can also improve the appearance of your child’s smile by removing stains, which is good for their self-esteem. Polished teeth are also smoother & harder for bacteria to stick to, which will make their at-home brushing & polishing efforts more effective.

What really are cavities & how can I help my child avoid them?

Kids are often taught that eating too much candy causes cavities, which can sometimes lead them to think that just sugar causes tooth decay. However, that’s actually an overly simple way of explaining the process. Sugar is more like the fuel for decay & it doesn’t just come from sweet foods. When your child eats, chemicals in their saliva breaks the food down into sugars. These sugars—plus the sugars that are naturally in fruit & foods sweetened with refined sugar or corn syrup—are then eaten by the bacteria in your child’s mouth, consuming the sugar & leaving a waste product in the form of acid. This acid is what eats holes in tooth enamel & the softer dentin layer underneath, causing cavities & tooth decay.

Because of this, it’s important to teach your child that it’s not only candy that causes cavities (though candy is still bad for their teeth). For the most part, maintaining healthy oral hygiene habits & keeping up with dentist visits should keep your child safe from cavities, but there may be supplemental options like sealants we’d be happy to discuss during appointments.

My child is nervous about visiting the dentist. What should I do?

Tell us! The last thing we want is for your child to be uncomfortable without us knowing. Being nervous at the dentist is not uncommon & we don’t want your child to feel embarrassed about it. Knowing about their nervousness helps us to properly prepare for their appointment. There are steps we can take to make them more comfortable during your visit. We can take things slower & explain more about what we’re doing at each step. We can work with them so they can tell us clearly when something is bothering them, or they need to take a break. Sedation is also an option in some cases & we’d be happy to discuss it.

One of the biggest ways we can help your child overcome their nervousness is by working through it as a team. We want our office to be a warm, welcoming & pleasant place for them. The easier & less intimidating we can make your child’s visit, the better we’ll be able to care for their oral health now & in the future. In some cases, children might take cues from their parents—if you’re nervous at the office, it might also make them nervous! So if there’s anything we can do to improve your & your child’s experiences, just ask. We promise you that you won’t be the first person to bring up these concerns & we want to make sure we help you prepare your child for a lifetime of oral health success.

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