Useful tips

A quick answer, based on the guidelines of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, is "First visit to the dentist by the first birthday". This may seem too early for some parents. However, research has shown that infants are at greater risk of developing caries, ie "holes in children's teeth".

More than 1 to 4 children in the USA have at least one decayed tooth by the age of four. Many children develop caries from the age of 2 years.

Thus, to prevent tooth decay, parents should be informed as soon as possible of their child's risk of developing tooth decay, as well as receive advice for the diet, oral hygiene and the use of fluoride to prevent tooth caries.

At the first visit of the child at the age of one year, the parents will be informed about:

- how to brush the child's teeth
- how to use fluoride properly
- how to avoid oral habits such as finger sucking
- ways to avoid dental and facial injuries
- the teeth eruption and the general development / formation of teeth and jaws
- relationship between diet and oral health
After the first visit, the dentist will recommend a re-examination schedule (ex every 3-6 months or once a year) depending on the child's needs.

Primary teeth help children chew and digest food and also help the proper development of the child's jaws and facial muscles. Children without primary teeth or children with damaged teeth have significant problems with their diet. In addition, healthy primary teeth contribute to the development and shaping of the jaws and keep the space so that the permanent teeth erupt in the right position. Children with unhealthy or premature tooth loss are more likely to have orthodontic problems in the future (ie to need braces) if appropriate measures are not taken to maintain space. In addition, children's teeth help orthophony, ie in the development of speech and the correct pronunciation of letters and words. Finally, healthy baby teeth offer a beautiful baby smile while the premature loss of baby teeth can affect the child's confidence throughout his life.

The local application of fluoride on the surface of the teeth in the dental clinic is a prevention method used for years by dentists and is very effective in preventing tooth decay. Fluoride is applied by the dentist in children’s teeth who have a moderate to increased risk of developing caries, usually after brushing-cleaning their teeth and lasts only a few minutes. Fluoride can be in the form of gel, foam or varnish. It is spread on the surface of the teeth either with a brush or applied to the teeth with the help of elastic dental plates that are held in the mouth of children for 4 minutes. After fluoride application, the child should not eat, drink or rinse for at least 30 minutes so that fluoride is absorbed by the tooth surfaces. It is a completely safe method as fluoride is applied only to the surface of the teeth and is not swallowed.

Caries is a dental disease caused by the frequent consumption of sugar from liquid foods such as fruit juices, milk, sugar water or by the increased frequency of meals during the day (more than 6 meals). Breastfed babies are at high risk of getting caries if they fall asleep and the milk remains on the teeth surfaces overnight. Bacteria in the mouth consume food sugar causing caries. If left untreated, decayed teeth can cause pain and make it difficult for children to chew. Finally, an inflammation (abscess) caused by a damaged baby tooth can spread to the rest of the child's body.

Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums caused by improper oral hygiene and therefore by the accumulation of bacteria and food (dental plaque) on the surface of the teeth and gums. Gingivitis is manifested by bleeding gums, while it occurs more often during adolescence and pregnancy because it is also affected by hormonal factors.

Please follow these tips to help your child relax before the dental checkup.

  • Start at an early age
    The earlier a child visits the dentist, the better. The child will know that there is a "dental home" for their needs, whether it is just a check-up or something urgent. By the eruption of the first tooth, it is useful for the parents to visit the dentist to be informed about the proper daily dental care of the child.
  • Hold a neutral attitude
    When preparing your child for their first visit, avoid too many descriptions and details. More details raise more questions and descriptions such as e.g. how a filling is made and can cause stress to the child. Keep a positive attitude but do not promise the child that everything will be perfect because if he/she happens to need an emergency treatment, he/she will not trust the dentist and the parent any more.
  • Pay attention to the phrases/words you use
    Do not use phrases such as "do not be afraid, it will not hurt" or words such as pain, injection, etc. because they create negative emotions. Let the dentist describe the various dental procedures in words that are appropriate for the child's age and maturity. All the parent needs to say is that ¨we will go to the dentist to count your teeth¨
  • Play the dentist at home
    Give the child a mirror, count his teeth and brush them, explaining that the dentist will do the same. Then tell the child to mimic the dentist himself with the patient as a doll or a toy animal. Special children's books can also be helpful prepare the children.
  • Do not tell children your own negative stories about the dentist and do not take the children with you to the adult dentist.
    Children feel the feelings of the parents and a parent who is afraid tends to communicate his fear and anxiety to his child. Adult dental clinics can give your child a negative impression as they are not so child friendly.
  • Get prepared for crying sometimes
    It is normal for very young children to cry, whine and not want to be examined by a stranger. Stay calm, encourage your child and follow the pediatric dentist's instructions. You may be asked to keep your distance from the child or to sit with him / her and hold his / her hands, protecting him / her from dangerous movements.
  • Do not give your child a gift after the dentist
    Giving your child a gift if he or she treats the dentist properly encourages him or her to think that something negative will happen in the dental practice that may make him or her cry. Also giving a sweet food is against what the dentist advises. Instead, reward the child for his or her good behavior and bravery at the end of the session.
  • Emphasize the importance of good oral hygiene. Teach your child that a visit to the dentist is a need and not a choice and that the dentist will take care of his teeth so that he is strong and able to eat and grow properly.

Emergencies

Monitor the traits of the toothache (when it occurs, how long it lasts, how it decreases or increases in intensity). If the child is suffering you can give him an analgesic like paracetamol syrup. Brush carefully the aching tooth / teeth to remove food debris. Contact and visit the pediatric dentist as soon as possible.

Collect the permanent tooth by holding it from its "white" part, not its root. If it is dirty, rinse it under running water and place/replant it immediately in the dental socket where it was and hold it firmly there until you go to the dentist. If you cannot replant it, put it in a glass of cold milk and go to the dentist as soon as possible.

Do not attempt to replace it. Contact your dentist to clinically inspect the injured area.

Contact your dentist immediately even if the child is not bothered. The dentist will make sure that the injured area is covered in the right way to maintain the vitality of the tooth.

Contact your dentist immediately. The tooth may need to be restored to its original position and immobilized. Do not try to do it yourself.

Go to the hospital immediately to investigate the injury/fracture. Then contact your dentist.