Ask a Dentist

September 15, 2023

Q: Why Do I Need To Worry About My Kid’s Teeth When They’re Just Going To Fall Out?

a young girl is having her teeth looked at by a dentist wearing white gloves

Good oral health is important for all ages, starting when your child breaks their first tooth. The Canadian Dental Association recommends infants visit the dentist within 6 months after the eruption of their first tooth, or by their first birthday. Let’s explore why it’s beneficial to bring your child to the dentist sooner rather than later.

Why Childhood Dental Exams Are Important

When you visit the dentist regularly, your dentist will spot problems quickly before they develop into anything more serious. The same goes for your children — if they visit the dentist before there are any problems, the dentist is more likely to catch anything before they become painful problems.  

Here are some reasons why you should bring your child in for routine dental exams:  

  • To evaluate your cleaning technique. Your child’s dentist will be able to tell you how effectively you’re cleaning your child’s teeth at home and offer any tips for improvement (for both of you to have a fun and successful brushing experience).
  • To spot issues early. As mentioned, if you keep up with consistent checkups, your dentist can spot any potential issues and treat them promptly to keep your child’s oral health in great shape.  
  • To evaluate tooth growth and progression. Your child’s dentist will check to ensure your child’s teeth are coming in properly. They’ll take X-rays to look for any decay in between the teeth and look for crooked or crowded teeth. Consistent checkups give your dentist the opportunity to prevent these problems before they get out of hand.  
  • To teach your child about oral health. By taking your child to the dentist and speaking to them about why it’s important to keep their teeth and gums clean, you’ll be ingraining positive oral health habits in their lives. Starting these habits at a young age will help your child have strong oral health for years to come.

The First Visit: A Comprehensive Child Exam

When you bring your child to Dental Image Therapy Centres for the first time, they’ll get a Comprehensive Exam at their first visit. Comprehensive exams are used to get a full look at their oral health, which includes looking at their face, neck and throat, as well as inside their mouth at their teeth, gums and tongue. We continue to do thorough checkups every six months, to ensure we’re getting a good look regularly as they grow.

For their first visit, plan to arrive at least 15 minutes early so you can fill out any forms, and so your child can acclimate to their new surroundings and settle in.  

When you arrive at the clinic, we’ll get you to complete a medical history form for your child to indicate any medical conditions or anything else your dentist should know about.  

What you can expect the Comprehensive Exam to cover:  

  • We’ll go over the medical history form so you have the chance to discuss your child’s medical history and your child’s prescriptions, over the counter medication your child takes, any vitamins or supplements, as well as their pediatrician’s contact information.  
  • Before the examination, you can discuss any of your child’s previous dental history, including any injuries that they may have had, as well as any concerns, if you have them.
  • Typically, the exam will begin with the dentist assessing the outside of your child’s mouth to evaluate the oral and facial development of their temporomandibular joints.  
  • The dentist will then look inside the mouth for tooth decay, keeping an eye out for any sores and bumps inside the tongue, cheeks and roof of mouth.
  • If the dentist spots any stains or deposits on your child’s teeth, they may scrub the tooth gently with a wet toothbrush or cloth.
  • If your child seems to be at risk for cavities, your dentist may apply a topical fluoride for extra protection.  
  • Your dentist may ask to take X-rays or photographs to have a closer look at your child’s gums or teeth. Additionally, if required, they may refer you to another specialist, like an orthodontist.  

After the exam, your dentist will discuss home dental care practices and ways to teach your child about the importance of dental care. You may also discuss your child's use of pacifiers, thumb sucking and their eating or drinking habits, as well as how that may impact your child’s teeth. Feel free to ask questions or raise concerns throughout the appointment. Your child’s dentist is there to make sure you and your child understands what is going on and ensuring you’re comfortable.

And if you’re afraid of or anxious when seeing the dentist, your children will pick up on it (before and during the appointment). So don’t hide or trick your kids when visiting the dentist. It’s important to tell your child about their dental appointments in a positive manner. This will help with your fears and give them a higher chance of having a good experience at the dentist.  

If you, or your children, are feeling anxious, let us know! We can book an appointment to allow children to get used to visiting us, being in the dental chair, and ask any questions you or they may have. It’s a stress-free way to get that first (or second) dental visit started. Our child-friendly dentists are conveniently located in St. Vital Centre and Garden City Shopping Centre, book your family’s next dental appointment today and let’s get started in giving them a great head-start in good oral hygiene.

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Maybe it's time for your and your family's regular checkup and cleaning, you have a toothache or you need to get your treatment plan going - whatever the reason, we're here to help you get your confident smile. Whether you're a new patient or a returning friend, we can't wait to see you at your next appointment at either of our Winnipeg clinics!

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