The majority of dental treatments are carried out to prevent or treat the two most common oral diseases which are dental caries (tooth decay) and periodontal disease (gum disease or pyorrhea). Common treatments involve the restoration of teeth as a treatment for dental caries (fillings), extraction or surgical removal of teeth which cannot be restored, scaling of teeth to treat periodontal problems and endodontic root canal treatment to treat abscessed teeth.
The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. This visit gives your child an opportunity to meet the dentist in a non-threatening and friendly way. Some dentists may ask the parent to sit in the dental chair and hold their child during the examination. The parent may also be asked to wait in the reception area during part of the visit so that a relationship can be built between your child and your dentist.
During the examination, your dentist will check all of your child's existing teeth for decay, examine your child's bite, and look for any potential problems with the gums, jaw, and oral tissues. If indicated, the dentist will clean any teeth and assess the need for fluoride. He or she will also educate parents about oral health care basics for children and discuss dental developmental issues and answer any questions.
Topics your dentist may discuss with you might include:
Good oral hygiene practices for your child's teeth and gums and cavity protection
Oral habits (thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, lip sucking)
Schedule of dental check up visits. Many dentists like to see children every 6 months to build up the child's comfort and confidence level in visiting the dentist, to monitor the development of the teeth, and promptly treat any developing problems.
It's important to know that the parent or legal guardian that accompanies the child for this first visit will be asked to complete medical and health information forms concerning the child. Come prepared with the necessary information.
There is no hard-and-fast rule for when to start getting dental x-rays. Some children who may be at higher risk for dental problems (for example, those prone to baby bottle tooth decay or those with cleft lip/palate) should have x-rays taken earlier than others. Usually, most children will have had x-rays taken by the age of 5 or 6. As children begin to get their adult teeth around the age of 6, x-rays play an important role in helping your dentist. X-rays allow your dentist to see if all of the adult teeth are growing in the jaw, to look for bite problems and to determine if teeth are clean and healthy.