National Oral Health Month – Getting Your Kids Excited about Teeth

Almost every day we see adult patients that are extremely scared of dentists, and most of the time it was due to a bad experience as a child. It is therefore our vision to make the dental experience as positive as possible for all the children we see.

We pride ourselves on being very child friendly at Corné Smith Dentistry! We love treating kids! So week four we want to focus not only on your children’s oral health but also why they have no reason to fear the dentist. If kids are not afraid of their dentist, they will have healthy oral habits.

A CHILD’S FIRST DENTAL VISIT

When should your child first see a dentist? Experts at the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) say the ideal time is six months after the first tooth erupts. In my experience, it is useful to only introduce children to the dental practice at this stage.

PROTECT YOUR CHILDREN’S TEETH AT HOME

Before teeth erupt, clean gums with a clean, damp cloth.

Brush teeth with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush. Introduce a pea-sized dab of fluoridated toothpaste after 2 years of age, once the child is old enough to spit out the toothpaste after brushing.

Prevent baby bottle tooth decay: Don’t give children a bottle of milk, juice or sweetened liquid at bedtime or when putting down to nap.

Limit the time your child has a bottle. Your child should empty a bottle in 5 to 6 minutes or less.

Help your child brush his or her own teeth until 6 years of age. Allow the child to watch you brush, and follow the same brushing pattern to minimize missed spots.

Avoid foods and treats that increase tooth decay: hard or sticky candies, fruit leather, and sweetened drinks and juice. Offer fruit rather than juice; the fibre in fruit tends to scrape the teeth clean, whereas juice just exposes the teeth to sugar.

AT WHAT AGE ARE KIDS OLD ENOUGH TO BRUSH THEIR OWN TEETH?

We advise parents to help with brushing up to the age of 7. Or at least help with the evening brushing, which is the most important. This will create the habit of good oral hygiene for the rest of their lives.

When visiting Corne Smith Dentistry, Newlands Cape Town, you can expect the following for your child:

  • We have a TV on the roof on top of the dental chair where kids can watch a DVD while treatment is done. This is an excellent distraction and also keeps their heads at the correct position for treatment.
  • A small intra oral camera is used to take a digital tour of your child’s mouth; we also connect this to the TV screen where they can see exactly what their teeth look like. It is a wonderful diagnostic tool, but also takes away the fear of not knowing what is done.
  • Every child is different, and therefore needs a different introduction to dentistry. Often we would encourage parents to sit on the chair first. This can allow for a very playful interaction when mom or dad is on the chair and your child assists the dentist while being introduced to all the equipment and instruments.
  • Enough time will be scheduled for check-ups and treatment. Especially on the first visit we often need more time to introduce your child to dentistry in a relaxing and friendly manner.

Treatments offered at Corné Smith Dentistry specifically for children:

  • Dental check-ups
  • Dental cleanings
  • Fissure sealants
  • Pulpotomies and pulpectomies ( Root canal treatment on baby teeth)
  • Extraction of baby teeth
  • Fillings specific for baby teeth
  • Dietary education
  • Orthodontic treatment
  • Early interceptive treatment preventing future orthodontic problems
  • Functional treatment for habits like thumb sucking

We will never force any child to have treatment that they are not ready for!

Ways to help ease their fears with these Tips:

  1. Talk about it.
    Read a book about going to the dentist, explain what to expect or tell your kids about your own positive experience. “Prepare them really well and then they’re going to be excited to go.”
  1. Make it fun.
    Bring a favorite book or toy for a sense of familiarity and comfort. If you make it a fun, happy experience it will likely translate to a positive visit and eliminate future dental fear, Dr. Corne Smith said.
  1. Be positive.
    Regardless of your own past experiences or how you feel about the dentist now, make it a positive time for your kids. Avoid talking about pain or discomfort and emphasize how healthy their teeth will be, for example.
  1. Drop in.
    Dr. Corne Smith recommends coming to the office in Cape Town, Claremont before your child’s appointment so he can meet the staff and the dentist so he can see that there’s nothing to be scared of.  

So bring your children to Corne Smith Dentistry, children’s dentist in Cape Town, because we love your children and their teeth and they will love us!

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