At Southwest Nebraska Dental Center, our team enjoys treating patients of all ages, but we especially love giving our youngest patients the healthy start they deserve to enjoy healthy, problem-free smiles.
As the mom of two young daughters, Dr. Kaitlin Haag understands the unique needs of children and that they need personalized attention. We can assure you that she will treat your child with the same care that she would want for her own family.
Oral Care in the First Months
We agree with the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry that you should bring your child for their first visit to our McCook, NE dental office around age one.
Parents often ask us why we need to see children so early, especially since baby (primary) teeth are temporary. However, these little teeth have a big job to do because they help your child learn to eat solid foods and develop proper speech patterns. Baby teeth also are a guide for permanent teeth that will follow and leave space for them to emerge in the correct position.
You may be surprised to learn that oral care for your child should begin in infancy by using a soft cloth or gauze to clean your baby’s gums gently. In the first few months, all your baby consumes is breast milk, formula, and water, and even though they are all healthy, formula and breast milk do contain natural sugars that can eventually lead to tooth decay.
Baby’s First Teeth
The first baby teeth start emerging at around six months, and it’s common for your little one to experience some discomfort. You may notice that they become fussy, chew on their toys, or drool more than usual. But don’t worry; this is normal, and there are a lot of teething toys available that can help comfort your child.
Baby’s First Dental Visit
We want your baby’s first visits to be calm and pleasant. Our goal is to help your child avoid a negative experience that is so often the cause of dental anxiety that lasts into adulthood.
Helping your child gain confidence by letting them get used to the process at their pace will go a long way when we need to start treating them. During the first visit to our McCook, NE dental office, we recommend that you hold your baby on your lap while Dr. Haag examines his or her mouth. Your little one will feel more secure, and we can look for any problems that we may need to address and make sure that their oral development is on target.
After the examination, Dr. Haag will be happy to give you directions for caring for your baby’s teeth, discuss their risk for developing tooth decay, and answer any questions you might have.
Oral Hygiene and Fluoride for Your Child
When your child's teeth baby teeth begin to come in, use a child-sized toothbrush with soft bristles to brush their teeth in the morning and before bedtime. If your son or daughter is under the age of three, use an amount of toothpaste no larger than a grain of rice. For children between the ages of three and six, we recommend using a pea-sized smear of toothpaste.
Fluoride is a mineral that helps make teeth stronger and protects them from decay, and Dr. Haag may recommend fluoride varnish for your child to help keep their teeth strong and healthy. We apply the fluoride directly onto the teeth, where it is slowly absorbed. Your child may eat and drink right away, but they should wait until the next morning to brush.
Your child will be able to brush by themselves when they have the skill to tie their shoes, usually around age six. However, you should still keep an eye on them to make sure they spend two minutes brushing and are not rushing through the routine.
If your child is resistant to brushing, please reach out to Dr. Haag for help, and she will show you a few techniques for getting their teeth brushed.
Can I Stay with My Child during Their Dental Visit?
Yes! We invite you to come back with your child for the cleaning or restorative appointments. It can be very comforting for your child to have you there, and it is also helpful for us to be able to answer any questions you have during treatment. Also, you can see how treatment is going so there is no question how your child is doing.
Words have power
The words we use can cause fear and anxiety or help give your child a positive experience. We take time to talk to your child before the procedure about what we will be doing, it helps to ease fears. We try to choose our words carefully. Here are some words we want to avoid and some we use instead:
Call to Schedule Your Child’s First Appointment
If you have questions about children’s dentistry in McCook, NE or you would like to schedule your little one’s first visit, please call Southwest Nebraska Dental Center at (308)-345-2273, and we will be happy to help you.
We will strive to make your child’s dental experience as positive as possible to help lead to a lifetime of healthy teeth! We even offer prizes, coloring pages, brushing charts, medals, and brushing animals to make your child’s time with us as fun as possible!