Q. When should I schedule my child's first visit to the dentist?
Ans. As soon as the first tooth erupts in the child’s mouth. American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that a child is seen by 6 months after his/her first tooth erupts or by the age of 1 year, which ever is first.
Q. What happens during my child's first visit to the dentist?
Ans. The first visit is usually short and simple. The dentist focuses on getting to know the child and giving some basic information about dental care. He will check the teeth for health and answer your questions.
Q. How can I prepare the child for his first dental appointment?
Ans. By maintaining a positive attitude! Never show your own apprehensions. The child can be shown pictures of the dental office and staff on the website, if possible.
Q. How often should my child visit the dentist?
Ans. Usually check ups should be done every six months. Depending on circumstances the dentist may recommend more frequent visits.
Q. Baby teeth are not permanent; why do they need special care?
Ans. Although they do not last as long as permanent teeth, your child's first teeth play an important role in his development. These milk teeth help your little one speak, smile and chew. They hold space in the jaw for permanent teeth. If your child looses tooth too early due to decay, the near by teeth may encroach on that space resulting in misplaced permanent teeth.
Q. What's the best way to clean my baby's teeth?
Ans. Even before your baby's first tooth appears, clean his gums after feedings with a damp soft wash cloth. As soon as his first tooth appears, start using tooth brush with soft bristles and a small head.
Q. At what age it is appropriate to use tooth paste to clean the child's teeth?
Ans. When your child has few teeth, start using tooth paste on a toothbrush. Choose tooth paste without flouride for children under the age of two. At age two, flouride tooth paste should be used. Flouride helps strengthen the teeth and prevent cavities. Use only a PEA SIZE amount so that if ingested there will be no harm. You should brush the child's teeth for him until he is ready to take on that responsibility by himself, which usually happens by the age of six.
Q. Are cavities caused by worms?
Ans. No, they are caused by bacteria. Bacteria when they come in contact with sugary food left behind after eating, produce acids. Acids attack enamel and create holes in the teeth, which we call cavities.
Q. How can I help my child avoid cavities?
Ans. Be sure your child brushes his teeth twice daily with flouride tooth paste.
Avoid sugary food and drinks, limit snacking and maintain a healthy diet.
Undertake regular visits to the dentist.
Q. Can thumb sucking be normal?
Ans. Yes, it is normal upto the age of four.
Q. What is normal thumb sucking behaviour?
Ans. Majority of children suck a thumb or a finger from a very young age; most even start inside the womb. Sucking is a natural reflex for an infant. It serves an important purpose. Sucking provides a sense of security and contentment for a child. It can be relaxing, which is why many children suck their thumbs as they fall asleep.
Most children stop thumb sucking on their own between the ages of two & four. They simply grow out of the habit that is no longer useful to them.
Q. What should I do if my child sucks his thumb after the age of four?
Ans. If a child continues sucking after the age of four or after the permanent teeth erupt, see your dentist for breaking the thumb sucking habit.
Q. How can I help my child quit thumb sucking?
Ans. Always be supportive and positive, instead of punishing your child for thumb sucking, do praise when he/she doesn't suck.
Put a band-aid on his thumb or socks over his hand at night.
Start a progress chart and let him put a sticker everyday that he doesn't suck his thumb. If he makes it through a week without sucking, let him choose a prize (trip to zoo, a new toy etc). If he makes through a month, reward him with something great (new video game etc); by then the habit will be over.
If your child sucks when he is anxious, work on decreasing his anxiety rather than focusing on the thumb sucking.
Take notes of the times your child tends to suck and create diversions during this time.
Explain clearly what might happen if he keeps sucking his thumb.
Q. Does my child need dental sealants?
Ans. Sealants cover pits and fissures on the showing surface of the teeth that are difficult to maintain clean and therefore are susceptible to decay. Sealants are recommended as a safe & simple way to help your child avoid cavities, especially on molars.
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