When Should your Child Start Seeing the Dentist?
By Amy Morgan
Your young family is growing. Just as you make sure your children have proper medical care for their developing bodies, dental care for their newly emerging teeth is just as important. Even toddlers need to see a dentist regularly to maintain good oral health.
7to7 Dental & Orthodontics takes care to make visits for your youngest family members pleasant experiences that set them up for happy future returns. Registered dental hygienist Mandy Dennis who hires and trains 7to7 Dental’s staff even wrote a book for parents to demystify an upcoming dental visit for their child. I Spy with My Little Eye … at the Dentist captures what children see from their perspective as they come to the office (7to7 Dental starts “happy visits” at two). The book describes how children climb into the chair, clip on the “superhero” cape, and use the “super straw” to suction water out of their hand.
Hygienists like Mandy provide hands-on care and cleaning but also educate parents how to prevent problems like tooth decay. Parents should begin by wiping their toddlers’ new teeth with a damp washcloth or baby-sized toothbrush with soft bristles. Mandy advises using fluoride toothpaste, but only a small amount – not a full strip recommended for an adult. Just a rice-sized dab will do, as very small children are likely to swallow the toothpaste rather than spit.
Parents also should start flossing children’s teeth when the back molars erupt. Practice makes perfect to avoid being bitten. Mandy suggests trying plastic floss sticks to make the task easier. Mandy cautions parents against serving children a sippy cup full of sugary drinks or juice, which can really contribute to tooth decay problems. Provide water during the day, and never leave your child with a sippy cup or bottle full of milk or juice at naptime or overnight.
Once children develop their first permanent teeth, known as the six-year molars, 7to7 Dental recommends sealing the crevices and lines on the teeth’s biting surfaces that can trap food and bacteria. Kids ages six to 11 without sealants have almost triple the number of first-molar cavities as kids with sealants, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Schedule dental visits every six months unless your dentist suggests otherwise. In some cases, the professionals might want to see a child with high risk for dental disease more frequently to stave off problems with extra cleanings or more frequent fluoride treatments.
The team at 7to7 Dental realizes people lead busy lives and getting the family to the dentist is not always convenient. Their location at the corner of Stone Oak Parkway and Evans Road includes 12 chairs so multiple family members can receive dental care at the same time. The professionals at 7to7 Dental & Orthodontics care about your oral health and are available 7 a.m.- 7 p.m., seven days a week, for dentistry for the whole family and emergencies. 7to7 Dental is a local business, grown in 15 years from the practice of one dentist and six staff. Co-Owners Tiffany Winburn, D.M.D, and Justin Coke and many of the 262 staff members live in Stone Oak with their families and are part of the community.