At Dr. Clanton’s office, we happily welcome your children into our practice! Dr. Clanton and his dental team focus and place a lot of emphasis on a “positive first visit” for your child. We employ several techniques to insure a fun and enjoyable experience, as well as striving to help your child develop a trusting relationship with our staff. Our office wants our young patients to be open to receiving good preventive care and learning about proper home care of their teeth. This will help set the foundation for your child’s lifetime of good oral health.
Most children’s first “regular” dental visit should be just after their third birthday. This visit is usually brief and involves very little treatment. We may ask the parent to sit in the dental chair and hold their child during the examination. Parents may also be asked to wait in the reception area during part of the visit so that a relationship can be built between your child and our dental team.
During this first visit we will gently examine your child’s teeth and gums. X-rays may be taken to check for decay and evaluate the development of permanent teeth under the gums. Our hygienist may clean your child’s teeth and apply topical fluoride to help protect against decay if indicated. Most important of all, we will review how to properly clean and care for your child’s teeth at home.
What should I tell my child about the first dental visit?
Our office is asked this question frequently. We suggest you prepare your child the same way you would before their first haircut or trip to the shoe store.
Here are some “first visit” tips:
- Bring your child for a “preview” of our office
- Read books with them about going to the dentist
- Review with them what will take place during the first visit
- Speak positively about your own dental experiences
During your child’s first visit our dental team will:
- Examine your child’s mouth, teeth, and gums
- Evaluate for adverse habits like thumb sucking
- Check to see if fluoride treatment is needed
- Instruct you and your child about proper cleaning of teeth and gums
- Recommend a schedule for regular dental visits
What about preventive care?
Tooth decay and children no longer have to go hand-in-hand. At Dr. Clanton’s office we are most concerned with all aspects of preventive care. We use the latest in sealant technology to protect your child’s teeth. Sealants are resin materials that are bonded to the chewing surfaces of decay prone back teeth. Our office also provides fluoride varnish treatments when age appropriate and when indicated to help strengthen the enamel of teeth. We provide individualized oral hygiene instruction based on the needs of each patient helping to set the foundation for your child’s oral health habits.
Most of the time cavities are due to a diet high in sugary foods and a lack of brushing. Limiting sugar intake and brushing regularly, of course, can help. The longer it takes your child to chew their foods, the longer the residue stays on their teeth and the greater the chances of getting cavities.
Each time after eating, an acid reaction occurs inside a person’s mouth as the bacteria present digests the sugars in the food residue. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time the acid environment can destroy or weaken the enamel structure of the tooth, eventually leading to cavities.
Consistency of a person’s saliva also makes a difference. Thinner saliva breaks up and washes away food more quickly. When a person eats a diet high in carbohydrates and sugars, they tend to have thicker saliva that contains more acid-producing bacteria that can cause cavities.
Tips for cavity prevention:
- Limit frequency of meals and snacks
- Encourage brushing, flossing, and rinsing
- Watch what you drink
- Avoid sticky foods
- Make treats a part of mealtime
- Choose nutritious snacks
- Avoid milk or juice drinks prior to bedtime
- Seek regular preventive dental care
Strong, healthy teeth help your child chew food easily, speak clearly, and feel good about his or her appearance. Proper home care instruction along with parent/patient education in nutrition is presented at preventive care visits. Dr. Clanton and his dental team strongly believe that the earlier the dental visit, the better chance we have in detecting and preventing dental problems for your child.
Please call our office at 423-929-7146 or contact us online if you have any questions or concerns regarding children’s dental care.