Unfortunately, too many adults hold memories of unpleasant childhood dental experiences, but it doesn’t have to be that way. At Northport Family Dental, we want your child to be comfortable and actually look forward to their visits with us. Less stress all around is always a good thing.
Our emphasis is on prevention. We encourage good habits and teach your child age-specific techniques. Dr. Jeffrey Rubin, Dr. Olivia Quinn, and everyone else on our team takes time to explain and involve your child in being responsible for their dental health. The goal behind everything we do is to make your child’s visit with us an enjoyable experience.
Some children still do get cavities, and all restorations at our office are tooth colored and placed as uneventfully as possible. Often, we’ll play an episode from their favorite television show while we’re working. Parents are welcome, even encouraged, to keep their child company during their visit. Your support can be very helpful and reassuring at times.
To get your child accustomed to the new environment of a dental office, we encourage you to bring your younger children with you to your checkup and cleaning. Kids pick up a lot by observing, so these visits help your child become familiar with the environment, the staff, and the sounds. Most importantly, we want to convey the idea that dental visits can be non-threatening and fun. It’s always special when they choose, on their own initiative, to take that first ride in the chair because they’re ready to. Sometimes, if an older sibling is a patient, your younger child will benefit from tagging along. They can watch a fun instructional video and discover where the Prize Box hides.
Pre-Natal: During pregnancy, supportive soft tissues in the mouth are more prone to inflammation. We recommend you see us for professional cleanings every 2 to 4 months, where normally 6 months between cleaning visits is adequate.
Age 0-2: Discussions with parents usually revolve around teething, care of baby’s first teeth, and proper fluoride supplement dosages. Although we don’t feel it’s necessary for you to have an appointment with your child in the office at this time, we encourage you to come to us with ANY concern you have. One typical problem, Nursing Bottle Mouth Syndrome, can be avoided by not leaving the bottle in the mouth while the baby is sleeping. It is the prolonged time of contact that causes significant damage to the teeth.
Age 2-4: We firmly believe that, at this age, continued use of fluoride supplements in addition to the multi-vitamin that your child is presently taking, will help form stronger permanent teeth that are more resistant to developing decay. Between the ages of two and four, introduction to the dental office environment by accompanying a parent or sibling is helpful in setting the stage for their big day.
Age 4-6: The official “First Visit to the Dentist” usually occurs around age four. At this age, we can help most children have an enjoyable and cooperative dental experience. We recommend twice-yearly visits to check for signs of decay, note excessive wear from grinding, and discuss any other issues pertaining to your child’s oral health, growth, and development. One of our hygienists will clean your child’s teeth, along with a possible application of fluoride. Proper age-appropriate home care techniques are taught and reviewed.
Age 6-8: As your child’s teeth develop, you may notice two rows of teeth on the bottom, where baby teeth haven’t fallen out and new teeth are growing in behind. This usually resolves itself, but we’ll evaluate this at your child’s regularly scheduled checkup visit. Sealants (protective coatings) are sometimes placed on the permanent molars to prevent decay. Laser frenectomy may be recommended if a “tongue tie” limits proper speech.
Age 8-12: The most important evaluations at this age are of facial growth and how the transition from baby teeth to adult teeth is progressing. Early recognition of a mismatch in jaw size may indicate a need for early orthodontic intervention. This early phase of orthodontic treatment guides future growth and in some cases, helps us avoid a second phase of treatment altogether. If additional treatment is required, having the jaws aligned properly allows for a more stable and predictable outcome.
This is also the age where most children have their first dental x-ray. A panoramic extraoral film may be recommended to evaluate the position of new teeth that are expected to erupt between ages 9 and 11. We’ll continue to reinforce age appropriate home care techniques, and fluoride supplements will be phased out since the outer enamel of the developing teeth has already formed.
Age 12-16: If no prior history, bitewing x-rays will be taken to check for cavities forming between teeth. Our digital x-rays ensure that we’re using the least exposure possible. Home care becomes a major focus during this period of adolescence. The connection between individual effort and the condition of the teeth is reinforced.
Age 16 and Up: At this age we start evaluating and managing the growth and development of wisdom teeth. Encouragement is given and personal responsibility is expected. If all of our efforts over time have been as consistent as we believe them to be, a certain level of trust and respect has been earned up to this point. As your child transitions toward later adolescence, this goodwill hopefully translates into responsible actions because they know they are being told the truth and are being treated as adults.
If you’d like to get your child’s oral heath off to the very best start possible, please contact Northport Family Dental. Together we’ll work toward helping your child enjoy a lifetime of healthy smiles.