Meramec Family Dentistry

PEDIATRIC DENTISTRY IN ARNOLD, MO

YOUR CHILD’S FIRST VISIT

Your child’s first dental appointment should be shortly after his/her first birthday. This dental visit is usually short and does not entail much treatment. You may be asked to sit and hold your child in the dental chair during the exam. We may also ask you to wait in the reception area for a short period so Dr. Mandefro can establish a relationship with your child.

During your child’s dental appointment, we will gently check the teeth and gums and may take x-rays to look for decay and to track the permanent teeth. We may clean the teeth and apply a topical fluoride to help protect the teeth from decay. We may ask if your child receives fluoride at home. Most importantly, we will discuss the proper care of your child’s teeth.

WHAT SHOULD I DO TO PREPARE MY CHILD FOR THE FIRST DENTAL VISIT?

This is a common question. Prepare your child for a dentist appointment just as you would for their first haircut or trip to the shoe store.

HERE ARE SOME “FIRST VISIT” TIPS:

  • Bring your child in to “preview” the office.
  • Read children’s books with your child about going to the dentist.
  • Talk with your child about the dentist and what may occur during the appointment.
  • Speak positively about your own dental experiences.
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During your child’s first visit, the pediatric dentist will:

  • Examine your child’s teeth, gums, and mouth.
  • Check for and assess habits such as thumb-sucking or pacifier use.
  • Ask about fluoride usage to determine if your child needs it.
  • Educate and guide you through proper cleaning of your child’s teeth and gums.
  • Recommend a regular schedule for dental appointments.

WHAT ABOUT PREVENTATIVE CARE?

Tooth decay is common in children, but it doesn’t have to be. At Meramec Family Dentistry, we are highly focused on all aspects of preventive care. 

We use advanced dental sealant technology to seal out decay and protect your child’s decay-prone teeth. Dental sealants involve applying a special material that bonds to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. 

Using sealants is one of the many ways we will establish the foundation of good dental care for your child.

cavity prevention

Oftentimes, cavities in children are due to sugary foods and a lack of, or poor, toothbrushing. Minimizing sugar intake and regular brushing help reduce decay. Avoid foods that are excessively chewy. The longer it takes to chew food, the longer the particles stay on the teeth and increase the chances of cavities.

Eating causes an acid reaction in the mouth as bacteria digests the sugars. This reaction takes about 20 minutes. During this time, the acidic environment can eat away at and destroy the tooth structure. Eventually, this causes cavities.

Did you know that the consistency of your saliva also makes a difference in decay and cavities? Thin saliva breaks up and washes food away quickly. Thicker saliva allows more acid-producing bacteria which cause cavities. This is often found in patients who consume foods high in carbohydrates and sugars.

Tips for cavity prevention

  • Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
  • Encourage brushing, flossing and rinsing.
  • Watch what your child drinks.
  • Avoid giving your child sticky foods.
  • Make treats part of meals.
  • Choose nutritious snacks.

The two front bottom teeth are often the first baby teeth to erupt. They usually appear between 6 and 8 months of age. Next, the four upper front teeth erupt. The remaining baby teeth will appear periodically in pairs along the sides of the jaw until the child is about 2 1/2 years old.

By 2.5 years old, your child should have 20 teeth. Between 5 and 6 years old, your child may begin to lose teeth and gain their first permanent teeth. Every child is different so don’t worry if some teeth come in early or late.

Baby teeth are placeholders for the permanent teeth. However, they are also important for chewing, biting, speech and appearance. It is crucial to maintain a healthy diet and good oral health habits.

Get your child off on the right foot with great dental care! For pediatric dentistry in Arnold, MO, contact Meramec Family Dentistry. Dr. Mandefro offers comprehensive dental services for patients of all ages.

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