How to Prepare Your Child for the Dentist

children's book about a visit to the family dentistOne of the best ways to make sure your child has a healthy smile for life is by establishing a dental home. That means creating a trusting relationship between your child & your family dentist & making sure visits to the dentist are fun & educational. As a parent or guardian, you can play a large part in making sure your child is happy & comfortable at the dentist. Here are a few ways how:

Take Your Child to Your Dental Appointments

If you are a new parent or the parent of a small child, talk to us about bringing your child along on your own teeth cleaning appointment. You can hold your child on your lap while we clean your teeth. We are a family dentist & welcome the opportunity to introduce your child to the world of dental care. Together, you, the dental hygienist & dentist will explain to your child what’s going on, so that the process of going to the dentist becomes familiar to the child before he or she starts going to his or her own dental appointments. Many children become anxious when presented with situations that are unfamiliar. Seeing you get your teeth cleaned will introduce the concept to the child so they are less likely to be afraid or upset when it’s their turn to see the dentist.

Read a Picture Book

Another great way to introduce children to the idea of visiting the family dentist is to read them a picture book about the topic. There are many great children’s books about visiting the dentist, so you can choose one that you think will appeal to your child. You and your child can re-read the book whenever they have a dental appointment coming up to remind them why going to the dentist is important & that it isn’t scary.

Here are a few great children’s books about the dentist:

children's book about going to the dentist  Just Going to the Dentist (Little Critter) by Mercer Mayer

kids book about visiting the dentist  ABC Dentist: Healthy Teeth from A to Z by Harriet Ziefert

children's book about visiting the dentist  Curious George Visits the Dentist by H. A. Rey

Cartoons & Children’s Shows

Many children’s programs have episodes that focus on trips to the family dentist. They usually address possible fears children might have within a story that the child can relate to. A good place to search for episodes of kids’ shows that feature a trip to the dentist is YouTube, or similar video-streaming services. You can also keep an eye out for dentist-themed episodes on TV make sure you & your child watch them together.

Here are a few episodes of children’s shows featuring the dentist that are currently available to watch online:

Dudley Visits the Dentist

The Berenstain Bears – Visit the Dentist

Dentist Video from Sesame Street

As a family dentist, we are alway happy to do whatever it takes to make sure your little one feels comfortable & welcome at our practice. If you have any concerns or questions about your child’s visits to the dentist, please don’t hesitate to ask us.

The Facts of Gum Disease

Discussion of facts of gum diseaseEveryone knows about cavities & how they affect your teeth and your oral health, but you never hear very much about gum disease. What is gum disease? How can you protect your gums and teeth from gum disease? And what causes it anyway?

The Facts of Gum Disease

Gum disease (officially called periodontal disease) is the infection of the gums. It is caused by bacteria getting under your gum tissue & eroding your gums & teeth. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to many health issues, including tooth loss, heart disease, stroke & diabetes.

Gingivitis is an early stage of gum disease that manifests as inflammation. Your gums might be swollen & red, & they might bleed when you brush your teeth or floss. Gingivitis can be treated by maintaining your oral health with regular brushing, flossing & visits to your dentist.

Periodontitis is a more serious form of gum disease that erodes the bone & tissues surrounding your teeth. If left untreated, periodontitis can cause you to lose your teeth!

Causes of Gum Disease

Gum disease occurs when plaque builds up on your teeth, so the best thing you can do to combat it is to clean your teeth regularly!

Gum disease is caused by a variety of factors & has been linked to illnesses that affect your immune system. You are at a higher risk for gum disease if you have cancer, diabetes & HIV, because your immune system can’t fight the bacterial infections that might lead to periodontal disease as well.

Smokers, pregnant women & people with high stress levels are also at risk, & some medications that cause dry mouth can put you at risk as well.

How to Treat Gum Disease

In its early stages, gum disease can be managed & prevented by regular brushing & flossing. Visiting your dentist for a professional cleaning goes a long way toward keeping your gums & teeth healthy as well! If your dentist sees signs of gum disease during your dental exam, they can do deep cleanings called scaling & root planing to remove plaque & tartar from your teeth & keep your gums healthy. If your gum disease is more serious, it might require surgeries, such as gum tissue or bone grafts.

How Do I Know If I Have Gum Disease?

If your gums bleed when your brush or floss, or if you notice your gums are red, swollen or painful, please tell us right away at your next appointment. But keep in mind that many people who have the early stages of gum disease experience no obvious symptoms or pain.

Please note that there is no cure for gum disease. Once you have gum disease it can be treated & managed, but not cured. This makes prevention & early detection of the disease vital to keeping your mouth as healthy as possible.

Dentists & hygienists are trained to detect the signs of gum disease. That’s why controlling gum disease through regular cleanings is such a good way to take care of your teeth—& your overall health!