The AAPD states that your child should see a dentist by their first year or the appearance of their first tooth. We encourage you to talk to Dr. Sahar Yaftaly if you have concerns about your child’s teeth or want to learn how to give your children’s teeth the care they need. A child’s oral health needs to be safeguarded before the first tooth appears, and teaching children solid oral hygiene habits will result in healthier, stronger teeth in later years.
Preventative Care for Children
Dr. Yaftaly will see your child when they are two years old, but she will always welcome a discussion about a child’s oral hygiene. You may be concerned about how to care for your baby’s gums and their first teeth and developing good dietary habits so that your child’s teeth remain healthy and strong.
Caring for a child’s primary teeth is of vital importance as tooth decay in primary teeth can lead to additional dental problems in the future. Teaching your child good oral hygiene practices will instill them with the need to care for their teeth to ensure their good health. As you show your child how to brush and floss their teeth, rinse and spit, and look for any signs of decay or damage, you will give them a model to follow as they grow up and develop permanent teeth.
While your child is still small, you can bring them to meet Dr. Yaftaly and our staff when you come in for your own cleaning and check-up appointments. They can get to know us and become familiar with the office so that they won’t be afraid or anxious about coming to the dentist. We want our littlest patients to look forward to seeing us, and we have a toy box and play area with books and toys for them. You can also express any concerns to Dr. Yaftaly about your child’s teeth and gums and discuss everything from extended bottle and pacifier use to thumb-sucking.
Your Child’s First Examination
At two years old, your child is ready for their first full dental examination. Dr. Yaftaly will take digital x-rays to check that the teeth are developing as they should, look for any signs of cavities or gum disease, and look for any problems that might require a visit to an orthodontist.
By this age, children should be able to brush on their own but still require supervision to make sure they don’t swallow toothpaste or floss. You should schedule regular dental cleanings, as it is hard for children to reach every tooth surface while brushing, and plaque can build up swiftly. Dr. Yaftaly will use an electric toothbrush and special toothpaste for very small children, or ultrasonic instruments on older ones, to remove tartar buildup. To keep your child relaxed and calm, we offer headphones so that they can undergo the procedure while listening to music or a movie.
Preventive Dental Treatments
Studies have shown that drinking fluoridated water prevents more cavities than drinking non-fluoridated water. With many families preferring to drink bottled or distilled water over tap, children may not get enough fluoride to protect their teeth. Because it is crucial to protect your child’s primary and permanent teeth, Dr. Yaftaly will discuss using topical fluoride varnish as a way to offer that protection. Fluoride varnish is applied to your child’s teeth with a small brush, and hardens once it comes in contact with saliva so your child won’t be able to lick it off. The varnish can be applied 2 to 4 times per year, or each time your child comes in for a cleaning or check-up.
Dr. Yaftaly may also recommend a dental sealant. A sealant is a thin layer of plastic painted onto your child’s teeth after a cleaning and cured so that it protects the teeth, particularly the chewing surfaces on back teeth, from food and plaque. With the proper oral hygiene care, sealants can last for years, offering a safeguard during your child’s most cavity-prone years.
Let us know when you are ready to bring your child to our office to meet Dr. Yaftaly. We look forward to taking care of your child’s teeth and all their dental needs.