Dentistry for Children

Your child’s first visit

The first “regular” dental visit should be just after your child’s third birthday. The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. We want the visit to be a pleasant experience for your child. We may ask you to sit in the dental chair and hold your child during the examination, if that is what makes your child most comfortable.

We will gently examine your child’s teeth and gums. We will clean your child’s teeth and apply topical fluoride to help protect the teeth against decay. We will make sure your child is receiving adequate fluoride at home. Most important of all, we will review with you how to clean and care for your child’s teeth.

Dr. Kochan is a mom who has 2 children of her own, and she loves kids. Our office has a special playroom where children can play with toys, color, watch a DVD, or play Nintendo while they wait for their appointment. Some parents have trouble getting their children to leave!

What should I tell my child about the first dental visit?

We are asked this question many times. We suggest you prepare your child the same way you would before their first haircut or trip to the shoe store. If you are already a patient, we suggest bringing your child with you on one of your dental hygiene visits so they can see the office, and watch you in the dental chair.

Here are some “First Visit” tips:

  • Take your child for a “preview” of the office.
  • Read books with them about going to the dentist.
  • Review with them what the dentist will be doing at the time of the first visit.
  • Speak positively about your own dental experiences.

Tell your child that during his/her first visit Dr. Kochan will:

  • Count his/her teeth.
  • Polish his/her teeth with a special toothbrush.
  • Paint “magic foam” (fluoride) on his/her teeth to make them strong.
  • Give him/her a prize when your all finished with the visit
  • Take his/her picture for the Picture Board in the playroom.

What about preventative care?

Tooth decay and children no longer have to go hand in hand. At our office we are most concerned with all aspects of preventive care. We use the latest in dental sealant technology to protect your child’s teeth. Dental sealants area type of plastic that is bonded to the chewing surfaces of decay-prone permanent (adult) molar teeth. This is just one of the ways we will set the foundation for your child’s lifetime of good oral health.

Cavity prevention

Most of the time cavities are due to a diet high in sugary foods and a lack of brushing. Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help. The longer it takes your child to eat their sugary snack, suck on a lollipop, or chew a piece of sugar gum, the longer the residue stays on their teeth, the greater the chances of getting cavities.

Every time someone eats or drinks, an acid reaction occurs inside their mouth as the bacteria digests the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time the acid environment can destroy the tooth structure, eventually leading to cavities. Candy, sugar gum, “Fruit Roll-Up” type snacks, dried fruit (raisins),sports drinks (like Gatorade), fruit juices (like apple and orange juice), all contain a lot of sugar and are a frequent cause of decay.

Consistency of a person’s saliva also makes a difference; thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food more quickly. When a person eats diets high in carbohydrates and sugars they tend to have thicker saliva, which in turn allows more of the acid-producing bacteria that can cause cavities.

Tips for cavity prevention

  • Limit frequency of snacks and drinks high in sugar.
  • Encourage brushing twice a day.
  • Watch what your child drinks. Water is the healthiest drink!
  • Avoid giving your child sticky foods.
  • Choose nutritious snacks.

The first baby teeth that come into the mouth are the two bottom front teeth. You will notice this when your baby is about 6-8 months old. Next to follow will be the 4 upper front teeth and the remainder of your baby’s teeth will appear periodically. They will usually appear in pairs along the sides of the jaw until the child is about 2 1/2 years old.

At around 2 1/2 years old your child should have all 20 teeth. Between the ages of 5 and 6 the first permanent teeth will begin to erupt. Some of the permanent teeth replace baby teeth and some don’t. Don’t worry if some teeth are a few months early or late as all children are different.

Baby teeth are important as they not only hold space for permanent teeth but they are important to chewing, biting, speech and appearance. For this reason it is important to maintain a healthy diet and daily hygiene.