What is Pediatric Dentistry?
Pediatric Dentistry is a specialty recognized by the American Dental Association. Pediatric dentistry has its own professional organization, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry ensures that all board certified pediatric dentists are highly qualified in their specialty. A pediatric dentist is a specialist in the field of dentistry dealing particularly with the oral healthcare of children, from infancy through the teenage years. Pediatric dentists complete two to three years of additional specialized training (after the required four years of dental school) to prepare them for treating a wide variety of children’s dental problems. They are also trained and qualified to care for patients with medical, physical, or mental disabilities.
What you can expect your first time with us.
At your child’s first appointment, we will examine their teeth and gums, evaluate their growth and development for orthodontic needs, take any necessary radiographs (x-rays), if age appropriate, and teach you how to care for your child’s teeth and gums to ensure a healthy future. We want you to take advantage of the opportunity to discuss with us the best ways to help your child develop good dental habits. You and your child will benefit from your child learning the importance of a healthy smile early in life, so they can enjoy healthy teeth and gums as adults. Encourage your child to have a good attitude towards dental care. Take the time to help your child develop good dental habits such as proper brushing, regular dental visits, routine flossing, and a good diet.
Try not to over inform your child before their first visit. We love to introduce our office in a kid friendly way. We have developed a very fun atmosphere through our years of experience. Stay positive to help ensure your child views their dental visits as a positive opportunity to stay healthy! Remember children are very perceptive when their parents are concerned and they can sense when their parent is nervous.
AT WHAT AGE SHOULD DENTAL VISITS BEGIN?
“First visit by first birthday” sums it up best. In order to begin a thorough prevention program, the American Dental Association and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends your child visit a pediatric dentist when the first tooth comes in, usually between six and twelve months of age. Children with healthy teeth are better able to eat, to grow, to speak more clearly, and to smile with confidence.
FIRST APPOINTMENT PREPARATION
How can parents make the initial dental appointment easier for the child?
Know that we are here to help and introduce your child to the first of a lifetime of dental visits. Through our years of experience, we have learned the best ways to introduce the office and make your child feel comfortable. Most children are apprehensive about their first visit, this is very natural. Stay positive about their visit to help your child develop a positive outlook. Although we like to do all the explaining, and don’t want you to over-inform your child before their first visit, we like you to explain this is part of growing up and keeping their teeth bright and healthy. Try to avoid your own past stories and using negative words like “hurt”, “drill”, “pull”, “shot/needle”. We have developed our own language that is kid friendly and informative for them at their level. Rest assured that we understand most young children are apprehensive and our goal is to conquer that apprehension with a gentle, loving touch so they can grow to enjoy their visits.
Should parents stay with their child through the dental visit?
We treat all children on a case by case basis. Parents are always allowed in the operatory at the initial visit. After this visit, the doctor and/or staff will make a recommendation based on your child on what would be the best manner to proceed in the future. Young children often need the parent present, but as they grow and become more comfortable with the staff, they often do better without a parent. School age children like the independence and praise they get for behaving wonderfully.
If a child is apprehensive and the parent being present is not of any help, Dr. Kricket will determine the best way to help him/her throughout the treatment phase. Trust that we will find the best way to help your child through their dental treatment and may recommend nitrous oxide (laughing gas), sedation, or, if needed, performing the procedure in a hospital operating room while the child sleeps. Feel comfortable discussing any special needs or requests you may have.
Behavior management for each child is determined on an individual basis; what works for one child may not work for another. Know that in all cases, our priority is to complete the treatment goals of each patient in the safest, most effective, and positive environment possible with the parent involved in the decision making.
Does my child need orthodontics (braces)?
Your child’s orthodontic needs can be evaluated at a very young age. Understand that by diagnosing a bite problem at an early age there are more options for treatment. From birth to age six, your child’s bite is evaluated at every checkup. At age 6 to 7, when permanent teeth begin to appear, orthodontic x-rays may be suggested. During the transitional years (ages 6-12), we will routinely evaluate your child’s facial growth and bite. Often, controlling the available space as well as the sequence and timing of tooth eruption will help to give your child’s mouth a best chance for getting all the permanent teeth to align favorably. We may suggest an appliance to aid in the transitional growth of your child and to eliminate or decrease the likely hood of future orthodontic needs. If more comprehensive orthodontic treatment is needed, we may refer your child to an orthodontist
To receive maximum benefits from flossing, use the following proper technique:
Starting with about 18 inches of floss, wind most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two of floss to work with
Holding the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up-and-down between your teeth
Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure you go beneath the gumline. Never snap or force the floss, as this may cut or bruise delicate gum tissue
Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth
To remove the floss, use the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and away from the teeth
Brush at least twice a day.
Hold the toothbrush sideways against your teeth with some of the bristles touching your gums
Tilt the brush so the bristles are pointing at your gum line
Move the brush back and forth, using short strokes. The tips of the bristles should stay in one place, but the head of the brush should wiggle back and forth. You also can make tiny circles with the brush. This allows the bristles to slide gently under the gum. Do this for about 20 strokes or 20 circles. In healthy gums, this type of brushing should cause no pain. If it hurts, brush more gently
Roll or flick the brush so that the bristles move out from under the gum toward the biting edge of the tooth. This helps move the plaque out from under the gum line
Repeat for every tooth, on the insides and outsides
On the insides of your front teeth, it can be hard to hold the brush sideways. So hold it vertically instead. Use the same gentle back-and-forth or circular brushing action. Finish with a roll or flick of the brush toward the biting edge
To clean the biting or chewing surfaces of the teeth, hold the brush so the bristles are straight down on those surfaces
Gently move the brush back and forth or in tiny circles to clean the entire surface. Move to a new tooth or area until all teeth are cleaned
Rinse with water
You can clear even more bacteria out of your mouth by brushing your tongue. Brush firmly but gently from back to front. Do not go so far back in your mouth that you gag, rinse again