Canadian Dental Association recommends the assessment of infants, by a dentist, within 6 months of the eruption of the first tooth or by one year of age. At Valley Centre Dental Group, our goal is to have your child visit the dentist before there is a problem with his or her teeth. In most cases, a dental exam every six months will let us catch small problems early.
Here are 3 reasons to take your child for dental exams:
- You can find out if the cleaning you do at home is working.
- We can find problems right away and fix them.
- Your child can learn that going to the dentist helps prevent problems.
Once your child has permanent molars (around the age of six), we may suggest sealing them to protect them from cavities. A sealant is a kind of plastic that is put on the chewing surface of the molars. The plastic seals the tooth and makes it less likely to trap food and germs.
When your child goes for a dental exam, we can determine if crooked or crowded teeth may cause problems. In many cases, crooked teeth straighten out as the child’s jaw grows and the rest of the teeth come in.
If they do not straighten out, your child may have a bite problem (also known as malocclusion). This can cause problems with eating and with teeth cleaning. It can also affect your child’s looks and make him or her feel out of place.
We can suggest ways to treat this, or refer your child to an orthodontist. An orthodontist is a dental specialist with 2 to 3 years of extra university training in this area.
The dentist says my child needs a filling in a baby tooth. Since the tooth is going to fall out, why bother?
Some primary (or baby) teeth will be in your child’s mouth until age 12. The tooth that needs to be fixed may be one of those.
Broken teeth or teeth that are infected can hurt your child’s health and the way your child feels about him or herself.
To do a filling, the dentist removes the decay and “fills” the hole with metal, plastic or other material. A filling can be a cheap and easy way to fix a problem that could be painful and cost more later because it stops decay from spreading deeper into the tooth.
If a filling is not done and decay spreads, the tooth may need to be pulled out. If this happens, your child may need a space maintainer to hold space for the permanent tooth.
When a baby (or primary) tooth is missing, the teeth on each side may move into the space. They can block the permanent tooth from coming in. To hold the space, wet may put a plastic or metal space maintainer on the teeth on each side of the space, to keep the teeth from moving in.
If you have other questions about your child’s teeth and oral health, please check our Frequently Asked Dental Questions page or contact us directly. At our Lynn Valley office in North Vancouver we love to see your children and play with them. We even have a waiting room just for kids with toys, TV and Nintendo Wii. Every dentist chair has an overhead TV with cartoons and channels for your kids to make their first dental experiences as pleasant as possible!