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There are a few pertinent points that should be addressed at your child’s early dental appointments. These are:
1) Your child’s bite: The permanent teeth follow the pattern of the primary (baby) teeth. If the primary (baby) teeth are crowded and out of alignment, it is likely that the secondary (adult) teeth will be as well. This is because the adult teeth tend to follow the same pattern as the primary ones. So if the primary teeth are crowded and misaligned, it’s likely the adult ones will be as well.
2) Spacing between teeth: It is common and desirable to see spacing between the primary teeth…..these are called Baumes Spaces. Baumes spaces are necessary because when the permanent teeth come into the mouth, they are wider and need these spaces to accommodate them. When there is no spacing between the primary teeth, one can expect the adult teeth to be crowded when they erupt into the mouth.
When there is no spacing between the primary teeth, the child’s teeth look nice esthetically and the parents are usually quite happy with the way their child’s teeth look….however, in these situations when the adult teeth erupt into the mouth, they will usually be crowded….So the ‘look’ of the primary teeth (with the spacing), is actually what we want to see. I Hope I explained this concept properly and you (the reader) understand it.
3) Proper Oral Hygiene Technique: It’s best for the adult to do the night time cleaning of their child’s teeth because usually young children do not clean their teeth properly……they generally tend to bite on the toothbrush instead of actually brushing their teeth.
Preparing the child for the visit:
Keep it simple: Do not over explain before the visit. The less information you give, the better. If you, the adult is nervous about the visit, try to keep it to yourself…. you do not want to transfer these feelings over to your child…. Just tell them you are going to the dentist. In addition, it is best for the parent to not discuss any unpleasant experiences that they may have had at the dentist…..it’ll just make the child anxious.
Should the parent come in while the child is being seen?
Your child’s first checkup will probably just be a quick examination of their teeth and maybe a light cleaning. It may be beneficial for the parent to come in because if we instruct the child how to brush their teeth it’s advantageous for the parent to see this…..as mentioned previously, we encourage the parent to do the night time cleaning.
We often ask the child’s parent/caregiver to wait in the waiting room after settling their child into the treatment room. This enables us to communicate one-on-one with the child and build a relationship with them.
More often than not, the child’s behavior is much better when the parent waits in the waiting room.
Then after the treatment, we bring the parent back into the treatment room to discuss the state of their child’s mouth.
In the next blog, we continue our discussion of your child’s dental health……until then.
Dr. Robert Axelrad, Brampton Dentist