Your Childs First Visit

your childs first visit

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends your child’s first dental visit is by his/her first birthday. Though this may sound early, we can teach you proper pediatric oral hygiene techniques, ways to check for cavities, and how watch for developmental problems.

Your child’s first visit with our office is essentially an introduction to acquaint your child with their new dentist and our practice. Usually this first interaction includes the introduction of the child to Dr. Michelle Wilkerson (our pediatric dentist), her dental assistant and the instruments used to clean your child’s teeth. They will “take a ride” in our “elevator chair” while Dr. Wilkerson does a gentle, thorough examination, preforms a teeth cleaning, oral cancer screening, takes x-rays (if necessary) and concludes with a fluoride treatment. During this time, Dr. Wilkerson will also go over the proper brushing techniques and home care.

Patience and calm on the part of the parent and reassuring communication with your child are very important during the first visits to the dentist. Short, successive visits are meant to build the child’s trust in the dentist and the dental office, and can prove invaluable if your child needs to be treated later for any dental problem. Most of all, we want to make sure your child has positive experiences at our office and will be a regular visitor for years to come.

Your child won’t keep his or her first set of teeth forever, but that doesn’t mean those tiny pearly whites don’t need conscientious care. Maintaining your child’s dental health now will provide health benefits well into adulthood, as primary (baby) teeth serve some extremely important functions.

For one thing, primary teeth serve as guides for the eruption of permanent (adult) teeth, holding the space into which these new teeth will erupt. The crowns (tops) of the permanent teeth actually push against the roots of the baby teeth, causing them to resorb, or melt away. In this way, the adult teeth can take their proper place.

What’s more, your child’s primary teeth will be there for most of childhood, helping your child to bite, chew and speak. For the first six or so years, he or she will be relying on primary teeth exclusively to perform these important functions. Until around age 12, your child will have a mix of primary and permanent teeth. You will want to make sure those teeth stay healthy and are lost naturally — when it’s time.

Please give the office a call today to schedule your child’s first dental visit. We look forward to meeting you and your family!

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X-Rays.. Safer than they’ve ever been!

x-rays image

Dental professionals today are increasingly using digital dental radiographs (digital X-rays) to better detect, diagnose, treat, and monitor oral conditions and diseases. Digital radiographs are viewed instantly on a selected computer screen, manipulated to enhance contrast and detail, and transmitted electronically to specialists (if needed) without quality loss.

One of the biggest advantages of digital x-rays is early detection of dental concerns. Digital radiographs reveal small hidden areas of decay between teeth or below existing restorations (fillings), bone infections, gum (periodontal) disease, abscesses or cysts, developmental abnormalities and tumors that cannot be detected with only a visual dental examination. All of these findings can be detected and treated promptly with use of x-rays, in turn saving the patient time, money and discomfort.

There has been controversy and misunderstanding about the level of radiation that patients are exposed to in order to make these images. Cone beam digital images may be made in various sizes with the larger size images requiring more radiation than the smaller images. Digital dental radiographs require very minimal radiation.

As an example, observe the following data from Journal of the American Medical Association; Lancet; and the American College of Radiology (Quoted in TIME June 25, 2012)

One chest x-ray equals the following:

  • 1,400 dental radiographs (These are the small dental radiographs with which you are familiar. Cone beam requires several times more radiation, but it is still very small).
  • 240 five hour flights
  • 70,000 back scatter airport scans
  • 19 years of smoking a pack of cigarettes per day

Dental x-rays, in fact, are one of the lowest radiation dose studies performed. At your dental hygiene appointment, once a year the hygienist updates 4 bite wing x-rays, showing in between the teeth. These 4 radiographs are about 0.005 mSv (radiation released), which is less than one day of natural background radiation. It is also about the same amount of radiation exposure from a short airplane flight (1-2 hours).

Try not to worry so much about the radiation.

Trust your dental practitioner to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of providing a radiograph for you.