Importance of Children's

Regular Dental Visits

 

By Dr. Shimi

Question:

"I think my children (aged 2, 8 and 12) generally have good teeth. When I look in their mouth I don't seem to see any cavities, and they brush pretty well. I know that their baby teeth will be lost over time and replaced by adult teeth. Is it important for them to visit the dentist during these ages? -A.J.

 

Answer:

Thank you for your question. Although certainly most of our patients bring their children in for regular dental hygiene visits and examination by the dentist, there are some families that seem to think that unless there's something wrong and the child is in pain, or the tooth has an obvious hole in it, that there is not as much of a need to pay attention to baby teeth.

 

However, it is very important that children throughout their development for a variety of reasons maintain regular visits. I will partially summarize why these visits are essential.

 

We try to encourage parents to bring in their little ones in around the age of 2 for a very informal screening by the dentist. This visit is completed while the child is on the mother's lap, and does not take more than a couple of minutes. The primary goal is to look for any warning signs of tooth decay that can often be rapid and very destructive if high sugar drinks are consumed. Often parents don't know how to take care of their child's teeth in the early months and years because they simply have not been shown how.

 

Beyond that we generally start seeing patients as young as 4 for regular polishing sessions with the dental hygienist, have x-rays taken to detect any decay in between the teeth that again can grow very rapidly if undiagnosed. I've seen many cases in which visually the teeth look white and unaffected by decay, while the x-ray reveals huge problems in the form of cavities in between the teeth that then necessitate many appointments to restore and prevent painful toothaches for the child.

 

Another important value in these visits is that the children are shown proper oral hygiene instructions, which are reviewed and reinforced at every visit. This sets the stage for good habits to be instilled for a lifetime of good oral care.

 

Children are evaluated for orthodontic issues during these visits. Some problems are best corrected early on which saves longer treatment time in the future. Also many poor oral habits such as extended pacifier use, thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, etc. can have negative long-term effects if ignored.

 

We often find that the children quite enjoy their dental examination and hygiene appointments. When regular visits are maintained all negative findings are small and can be dealt with very easily which makes it easier for the dentist, the patient and the parents.

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Dr. Shimi maintains a general dentistry practice in Richmond Hill with a strong emphasis on Cosmetic Dentistry, Implant Dentistry, Invisalign and All on 4. Yonge Smiles Dental centre serves clients from Richmond Hill, Oak Ridges, Aurora, Stouffville, Vaughan, Thornhill, and surrounding areas.