Healthy Smiles Start at Birth
The newborn oral cavity is sterile at birth, but it is quickly transformed into a place where bacteria flourish. Bacteria love wet, warm, dark areas, and that’s just what your baby’s mouth provides. Use a cool, damp, soft cloth to wipe your infant’s gums and inner cheeks once a day. This will help remove some of the bacteria that can lead to oral health issues.
When your baby’s first tooth erupts, schedule a visit with Dr. Kimmy and start brushing that little tooth twice a day. Use a baby-sized toothbrush and clean water. Never allow your baby to fall asleep with a bottle, unless the bottle contains pure water – no sugars. Because teeth don’t shed like skin does, bacteria remain in place unless we physically remove them. They secrete acid and can create a hole, or cavity that will not naturally heal. Bacteria also contribute to gum disease, a chronic infection of gum tissue that’s known as gingivitis in the early stage.
Children should visit the dentist soon after the first tooth erupts or before their first birthday. However, if your child is older and has never visited the dentist, he or she should come in as soon as possible for a first visit with Dr. Kimmy.
Preparing for a Positive Dental Appointment
You can prepare your child for the first dental visit, and subsequent visits, by using positive words and a happy face when talking about the appointment. Never threaten your child with dentistry, meaning do not say, “If you eat too many cookies, Dr. Kimmy will give you a shot/drill on your teeth/make you cry.” In fact, never say the words drill, shot, pain, cry, or similar negative phrases when discussing dental health issues with your child. Creating fear of the dentist never ends well for child or parent.
Instead, prepare your little one for a dental visit by reading children’s books, such as Elmo Visits the Dentist or Dora Goes to the Dentist. Elementary school-aged kids may like to visit www.mouthhealthykids.com to play games, print activity sheets, and watch videos about dental visits. The main point is: Keep It Positive!
The Day of the Visit
Using age-appropriate examination techniques, our team will make you and your child feel right at home. Our philosophy for all dental visits is tell, show, do. This means, we’ll tell you what we’re going to do, then show you, then actually do it. When you and your child have a good understanding of what to expect, there will be no surprises, so you can enjoy peace of mind. Relax, you’re in good hands with Dr. Kimmy!
A Baby’s Dental Visit
For a baby or toddler’s first visit, the doctor will let the child “go for a ride” in the dental chair, meet Mr. Bumpy and Mr. Thirsty (dental exam equipment), and take a quick, yet thorough look inside your little one’s mouth. You and Dr. Kimmy will sit upright in the dental chair, as if it’s a bench. Your child’s head will be in Dr. Kimmy’s lap, and she’ll examine his or her mouth.
The point of the first visit is to help you and your child become comfortable in the dental office, dental chair, and with our team members. We’ll laugh and have a good time, and we’ll also talk with you about diet, nutrition, home care and habits. If you have any questions or concerns, Dr. Kimmy will certainly address them during your visit. Should you think of a question once you return home, just email her. In addition, the doctor will let you know if she finds any dental issues that need to be addressed.
A Preschool/Elementary Child’s Dental Visit
Preschool and school-aged kids need a fun dental visit, too, but they don’t appreciate being treated like a baby. Most children under age 7, or so, crave some independence, under the care and protection of Mom or Dad. Dr. Kimmy knows how to earn the respect and trust of young school children, while also teaching them important tips for brushing, flossing, and healthy living. Around age five, children begin losing primary teeth and developing permanent teeth, which could last throughout life if they’re cared for properly. As your child’s dentist, Dr. Kimmy will develop a relationship with your family so that you can turn to her now and in the future.
The Adolescent/Teen Dental Appointment
Adolescents and teenagers are completely different animals! They are precious and special in their own right, and Dr. Kimmy has a gift for communicating with this impressionable age group. She makes them feel independent and respected by explaining her findings and suggested treatment plan to both parents and kids. Don’t think that because your child has reached middle school or high school, he or she will no longer need your influence in matters of dental care. On the contrary, hormones significantly influence oral health, and busy kids and teens tend to neglect good home care habits. Dr. Kimmy will equip you with the tools and skills your children need to be encouraged and properly guided on the path to lifelong, excellent oral health.