About that first visit to the dentist

Visiting the dentist for the first time can be a little scary, for kids and parents. When you bring your child to Brident for the first time, your dentist will take a little extra time to introduce you to the office and your care team.

We’ll do a complete dental exam, including your child’s teeth, gums, and jaw. We’ll look for tooth decay, check the alignment of your child’s teeth and look for developmental issues in the structure of their jaws and mouth. Finally, we’ll determine if we need to clean their teeth, treat them with fluoride or apply a sealant to prevent cavities.

We’ll explain everything we’ve found, tell you how we plan to care for your child’s teeth and answer all of your questions before we proceed.  

We’ll send you home with healthy habits

Teaching children how to care for their teeth is one of the most important things dentists and parents can do. We’ll show your child the basics of brushing and send them home with a new toothbrush so you can practice together twice a day, and we’ll set a date for your 2nd checkup in six months.

How to raise healthy teeth, from birth to adolescence

Infants

Once you see that first tooth, it’s time to see the dentist. The dentist will check that first tooth, examine the structure of the jaw and check their general oral health, all while you hold your baby in the comfort of your lap. Your dentist may send you home with a super-soft baby tooth brush to get you and your baby started.

Happy baby tip: Schedule your visit after nap time and have a snack.

Toddler teeth

You child is going to sprout teeth, fast! Be sure to see us every six months as those baby teeth come in. We’ll teach your child how to brush their teeth and gradually add thing like toothpaste (non-fluoride to start) and flossing as they grow. With a little help from you, they’ll be tooth-care champs!

Now’s the time to build tooth-healthy eating habits, too.  Gummy sweet —even gummy vitamins and fruit chews — stick to baby teeth and cause cavities. Chips, sugary juices and soda can create decay, too. Snacking on fresh fruits and vegetables is better for your child’s teeth and general health.

Make the dentist fun! Playing dentist is a great way to help little ones learn about caring for their teeth and feel good about visiting the dentist. Doing a check up on a stuffed animal — or maybe dad is a great way to make dental care a fun part of every day.

Tooth decay has become the #1 childhood disease in the U.S.

Sugary drinks, gummy candies, even bottled water (it doesn't always have fluoride like tap water) are all probable causes. Cutting down on sweets, brushing, flossing and seeing the dentist, are the best way to prevent tooth decay.

Your dentist may treat your child’s teeth with a fluoride varnish to strengthen their enamel. Stronger enamel means those little choppers can resist the damage caused by the bacteria that feast on the sugars in our mouths.

Preschool dental care

By four or five, your child should have a full set of healthy baby teeth. As their motor skills get better, we’ll get teach them about healthy gums and show them how to floss.

Uh-oh… the kid has a cavity!

Dentists treat cavities in baby teeth exactly like adult cavities. It’s super-important to remove the decay and restoring the tooth with a filling.

Drilling and filling can be very scary for kids and parents. Remember, kids look to their parents for how to respond to things, so talk to child honestly and stay upbeat.

Talk to your dentist before the procedure so you and child are prepared. Your dentist may give your child laughing gas (nitrous oxide). It is ADA approved and is the safest method of sedation for a child. Laughing gas relaxes your child during the procedure.

 

Fix cavities in baby teeth? They just going to fall out anyway, right?

No! Healthy baby teeth help adult teeth grow straight and strong. Unhealthy baby teeth mean unhealthy gums and possibly, jaw bones. We don’t want those adult teeth growing in an unhealthy environment.

Pulling baby teeth early increases the chances that adult teeth will come in crooked or underneath each other. If you want your child to have healthy adult teeth, keep those baby teeth happy and healthy.

 

Caring for teeth in elementary school

First the tooth gets a little loose. Then it wiggles. Then, it’s out and big grown-up tooth pops up in its place. Your dentist will keep a close eye on how your child’s adult teeth grow and alignment because a straight, well-aligned bite is important for chewing, eating and speech.

 

Time for an orthodontic screening

Misaligned teeth can impact your child's speech, ability to chew and even the shape of their face as they grow. Correcting orthodontic problems early is less painful because your child is still growing, and their teeth and jaws are easier to move and reshape. Plus, fixing problems now can mean a lifetime of better health.

At Brident, Ortho screenings are always free — for kids and adults. The [BT1] orthodontist will examine your child’s jaw, bite and incoming grown-up teeth. Treatment could begin as early as seven or eight years old, but most kids don’t get braces until they are in their tweens or teens.


 [BT1]Does Brident offer free ortho exams?

To learn more visit Braces and Orthodontics

Middle school and teeth

All of your child’s adult teeth should be in, except for their wisdom teeth Visits will include adult-style cleaning to remove plaque and tartar, and your dentist will probably recommend applying sealants to their molars to prevent decay.

The days of helping them brush their teeth are long gone, so it’s important to make sure they take care of their teeth on their own. Brushing twice a day, flossing and eating fresh fruits and veggies are just as important now as they were at age 3.

Wisdom teeth

Most of us develop a third set of molars way at the back of our mouths. At first, they’ll only show up on an X-Ray. Later, it’s teething all over again as they force their way in. Unfortunately, a lot of mouths don’t have room for them, so they become impacted — which means they come in underneath other teeth. Ouch! 

If your child develops impacted wisdom teeth, your dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon, who will surgically extract them.

 

High School

How did that happen? Your little baby is almost an adult, which means their teeth face adult hazards. Sport-loving kids should wear bite guards, especially if they have braces. Be ready for teen experiments like pierced lips, cheeks and tongues. Having metal in your mouth can chip teeth and permanently damage gums.

And don’t forget the basics: brushing, flossing and check-ups every six months.

Is your child afraid of the dentist?

Don’t worry. Lots of gown ups are, too. We have lots of ways to help kids – and adults – enjoy their check-ups. Helping kids learn to love the dentist is one of our favorite things to do. Just tell us how your child feels before your next visit so we can prepare.

Read more about dental fears