It is highly desirable to psychologically prepare a child for a visit to the dentist. The first impression is extremely important and it is a determinant of a child’s future attitude towards dentists, oral hygiene and medical care in general. The first meeting with a dentist will influence his/her behavior in the dental environment, thus creating a positive relationship should start before the visit.
It is desirable to give a child some information about the procedure he/she is going to have. It is a widespread practice to show photos of a dentist and dental office beforehand to help adapt to the new environment. For the same purpose, an introductory visit can be organized to make a child familiar with the dental office, communicate with a dentist and observe the working process, without having any treatment. After a child is adapted to the situation he/she will be more likely to be ready to start the treatment.
For children, it is very important to be encouraged and supported by parents and dental care professionals during the procedure. To stimulate their positive behavior, we use promotional gifts as a reward. We praise them and show appreciation for their achievement and good attitude. The reward is given immediately and chosen considering the child’s preferences.
Being part of a decision-making process makes a child more confident and trusting. After listening to the doctor’s explanation carefully, they make a treatment plan together with parents and a child.
In some cases, a multidisciplinary team approach might be needed. The team comprised of parents, educators, psychologists, child behavior specialists, different dental professionals can define a child’s needs and behavior in advance. The team plans and discusses a patient's first visit, involves a child in different entertaining activities, etc.
Developing good hygiene habits timely is the basics of dental disease prevention in children. It is very important to: teach correct brushing techniques, monitor teeth, and jaw development, use additional oral care products (dental floss, mouthwash, etc.), have a balanced diet, choose correct fluoridation methods. Each of them requires parents’ involvement. They are highly responsible for fulfilling the dentist’s recommendations. To keep a child motivated, dentists and parents should share the same approach and co-operate.
The very first visit to a dentist is recommended as soon as the first tooth erupts. The dentist will provide the information about toothbrushes and toothpaste suitable for this age and give all the necessary recommendations. First molars are the first permanent teeth. As they are often considered as primary teeth, less care is taken to keep them healthy. As a result, at the age of 9-10, they may be damaged and need some kind of treatment.
Sealing fissures is a widely used and very effective procedure for a child. A tooth sealant is a liquid-like material that is placed into grooves and pits on the tooth chewing surface. It can be used for both primary and permanent teeth. They protect teeth up to 2-3 years from pathogenic bacteria causing caries.
Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often referred to as Baby Bottle Caries. It is usually developed at the age of 3. The cavities are typically localized at the cervical area of upper frontal teeth. The reason is frequent bottle feeding at night using milk and sweet drinks.
Another common condition is a white stain on the enamel surface. It may be localized in the visible part of the enamel as well as in the contact area between teeth. The “white stain” is an early stage of caries disease as it represents decalcified enamel tissue.