7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
SATURDAY (By Appointment)
Both the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommend that a child’s first dental visit should happen around or just before their first birthday.
At Lifetime Family Dental, we have an established process for Raleigh’s littlest patients during their first visit. Treatment is not a primary aim during this first visit, and for that reason it typically takes less time than the average adult appointment. Instead, we begin with you and your child in the dental chair together, child on lap, familiarizing him or her with the doctor, the room, and the instruments. Interestingly, an adult would expect a child to be afraid, but if you treat the visit in the same way that you would a trip to any store or business, they tend to react accordingly. Especially if they are starting young. When your child gets a little older, you will likely be waiting in the reception area so that the trust is firmly established between them and the doctor.
Focus on the future, not usually present problems
Dr. Gudger is experienced in tenderly examining your child’s teeth and gums. If he feels x-rays are necessary to scan for potential decay and review the progress of his permanent teeth, they may be performed. Depending on the condition of the teeth, a cleaning or topical fluoride application may also occur. But the largest dangers for oral health in children come from a lack of preventative care which causes cavities, decay, and serious problems later in life. The primary aim of the visit is for the parents, providing guidance and instructions to ensure a lifetime of dental health.
Establishing Preventative Care at Home
To fight tooth decay and cavities in children, attention must start during infancy. Most parents are unaware of the enormous importance of early preventative care. Bottle mouth is a condition where the sugars or acids from milk or juice left on the teeth after feeding remain long enough to erode the enamel creating discoloration, pitting, and a pocked appearance. In severe cases, a child’s teeth must be removed to prevent bottle mouth from affecting the permanent teeth. Unfortunately, that is only one example of a serious condition that can develop if a parent is not vigilant in their child’s oral hygiene habits.
A parent must use a washcloth after feeding when the child is an infant, use an infant toothbrush when teeth first appear, add fluoride toothpaste as they grow older, and begin flossing as soon as their teeth are touching. Sugary foods, juices, and candy should be limited or eliminated from their diet, with immediate brushing afterward if they are ingested. And introducing regular exposure to fluoride is especially important because it hardens the tooth enamel which protects the teeth from cavities.
The Promise of Dental Sealants
Dr. Gudger goes the extra mile when he is working with a child’s dental health. We recommend using the latest in dental sealant technology to further protect your child’s oral health. Dental sealants are revolutionary for pediatric dentistry because this thin plastic resin creates a protective coating in the hard to reach crevices. It is applied primarily to the back teeth where most of the chewing is done. It prevents bacteria, acids, or sugars from settling in to create cavities or wearing away the enamel to cause decay. It has changed everything for pediatric dentistry, and there is now hope in the field that the kinds of decay and cavities in young children that are currently prevalent enough to be called an epidemic will decrease significantly.
Dr. Gudger is specialized not only in the gentle art of pediatric examinations and procedures, but also in the latest in technological advancements like dental sealants, to ensure that your children begin their lives with the best possible oral health and maintain it for years to come. If you live in the Raleigh, Durham, Cary, or surrounding Triangle, call today to set up an appointment for your child.