Robert D. Elliott, DMD, MS
Julie R. Molina, DDS, MS
Pediatric Dental Specialists
Dr. Robert D. Elliott, DMD, MS, PA
Dr. Julie R. Molina, DDS, MS, PA
We would like to thank you for the opportunity to provide dental care for your child. We recognize that this may be a new experience for your child. This booklet offers information about early dental health for your infant and toddler. Please take time to read it carefully.
CONGRATULATIONS ON BRINGING YOUR CHILD TO THE DENTIST!
Your child should start seeing a dentist when the first tooth appears or no later than his/her first birthday. Why so early? This appointment gives us the opportunity to discuss diet/nutrition, proper oral hygiene care, take an adequate systemic fluoride history (city water versus well water) and prevent any dental problems that can occur. Primary teeth are important! It’s true that they will fall out. Parents have to understand that baby teeth should remain in place until they are naturally lost. Baby teeth act as guides for the adult teeth. They have nerves just like the adult teeth. If decay is allowed to progress rapidly, kids will feel pain or discomfort just like the adult teeth. The general guideline is that front baby teeth fall out around age six, and primary molars (back teeth) usually fall out around age twelve. Healthy teeth allow children to chew food more easily, learn to speak clearly, and smile with confidence. During your first visit, you and your child will get to meet Drs. Elliott, Molina and their caring TEAM. We encourage your child to explore their new dental environment! We invite you to be an active part of your child’s dental health. Please do not be upset if your child cries. Children are often afraid of anything new and different, and crying is a normal reaction to that fear. We ask that parents assume the role of a silent observer. Drs. Elliott, and Molina have found that your presence is greatly enhanced if you play a passive role. If more than one person is speaking to the child, they may become confused and overwhelmed. Cooperation and trust must be established directly between Drs. Elliott, Molina, the dental TEAM and your child – not through the parent repeating everything. We tell children in simple terms what is going to be done. ie: an exam becomes “looking and counting your teeth”. A cleaning becomes “brush and tickle your teeth”. We encourage parents to use these terms when talking to their child about their dental experiences.
PREVENTION FOR CHILDREN INCLUDES:
Drs. Elliott and Molina encourage a balanced diet to help your child’s teeth and gums develop properly. A diet high in sugar and starches (including carbohydrates!) may place your child at risk for tooth decay. These foods are safer for teeth if they are eaten with a meal and not as a snack. Sticky foods, such as fruit roll ups, raisins and gummy bears, tend to stick on the teeth and are not easily washed away by saliva, water or other drink. These sticky foods have more potential to cause cavities. Don’t put your child to sleep with a bottle of milk, formula, juice, or sweetened liquid, or without brushing their teeth! Any un-swallowed liquid in the mouth supports bacteria that produce acids and attack the teeth. Putting your infant to bed with nothing more than a bottle of water will protect him/her from severe tooth decay.
FLOSSING AND BRUSHING
Your child should brush after breakfast and in the evening prior to going to bed. Flossing is critical where teeth make contact with other teeth (the bristles of the toothbrush cannot reach these areas). As a parent, you must floss these area.
ORAL HABITS – THUMBS, FINGERS AND PACIFIERS
It is normal for babies and young children to suck on fingers, pacifiers or objects. It provides security. For young babies, it’s a way to make contact with and learn about the world. Most children stop their habit on their own between one and two years of age. No harm is done to their teeth or jaws. Some children who retain a habit past three years old may result with upper front teeth that tilt out and lower front teeth that tip inwards. The key time to stop with the habit is by age three (ideally age two). In some cases children need the help of their parents and their pediatric dentist to help them stop. The last resort is for their pediatric dentist to fabricate a mouth appliance that blocks the sucking habit. The thumb, finger and pacifier all affect the teeth essentially in the same way. The pacifier habit is often easiest to break (utilize the “trim back” technique).
DENTAL PROBLEMS FOR CHILDREN:
Early childhood caries (also known as baby bottle decay or nursing caries) -To prevent tooth decay from a bottle or nursing, encourage your child to drink from a cup as they approach their first birthday. Children should not fall asleep with a bottle. Night-time breast feeding should be avoided after the first baby tooth begins to erupt (breast milk is very high in sugar). Drinking juice from a bottle will also cause decay. Note that “watering juice down” does not decrease the risk for decay. Bottle-feeding should be weaned at 12- 14 months of age. Dental check-ups should be at least twice a year for most children. Some children need more frequent dental visits because of increased risk of tooth decay due to poor oral hygiene. During the check up, Drs. Elliott and Molina will review your child’s medical and dental history. He will gently examine your child’s teeth and oral tissues. Their teeth will be cleaned by removing debris from both the teeth and gums. Fluoride will be applied to the teeth to renew the fluoride content in the enamel, thus strengthening the teeth and preventing cavities. Hygiene instructions will improve your child’s brushing and flossing. X-rays are only taken when necessary to protect your child’s dental health. Drs. Elliott, Molina and their TEAM will discuss the need for x-rays with you before any are taken. Parents usually request that we speak to their child about “letting mom or dad help with their flossing and brushing at home.” Hearing this directly from our office works well for most kids.
HELP YOUR CHILD ENJOY GOOD DENTAL HEALTH:
•Brush twice a day…
- with a non-fluoride toothpaste (if they can’t spit it all,out)
- with a fluoride toothpaste (once they can spit it out adequately).
•Floss at night prior to bedtime (where there are contacts between teeth).
•Limit frequent snacking throughout the day.
•Assure proper fluoride in drinking water and ask Drs. Elliott and Molina for supplements if needed (private well water or filtered water).
•Continue with regular dental check-ups.
•Have sealants applied when deemed appropriate by Drs. Elliott and Molina.
A DENTAL HOME
Your child needs to start developing a relationship with their dentist at a young age. They need to see how fun a kids dental office can be and allows them to get familiar with the office staff. Kids develop trust with consistency. The goal is to start them early in order to develop a relationship in which they progress from an exam to a cleaning to sealants and any restorative treatment that needs to be done. Kids usually don’t do well if their first visit to the dentist is at age four with cavities. They tend to get overwhelmed with new noises, vibrations, and of course local anesthesia.
The initial visit is informative for the parent. Parent(s) develop an individualized preventative program with Drs. Elliott, Molina and their TEAM. Questions will be answered about diet, brushing, flossing and any habits your child may have. As the kids get older, parents will be informed about growth and development. Referrals may be given to other dental specialists, such as orthodontists, due to crowding. Last but not least, parents will be able to contact Drs. Elliott and Molina for any emergency dental trauma. Believe it or not, the kids we care for love coming to the dentist to see us! Their perceptions of dentistry are much different than their parents. Our pediatric dental office is a warm, friendly and caring environment, making the first visit to the dentist more appealing. We often give family tours so everyone can see what a pediatric dental office looks like. We’ve had parenting groups come and spend a half hour getting dental hygiene education from our staff.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Our mission is to provide specialized and comprehensive care for infants, children, and adolescents in a friendly, safe, and state-of-the-art environment with a focus on prevention and education for the families. Dr. Elliott, Dr. Molina, and our TEAM are here to positively change this generation’s view of going to the dentist, one child at a time.
"You all are the best! Our girls have been fortunate to have been cared for by the entire team and we will miss seeing you.
We hope that our grandchildren will be able to be patients
(when the time comes!) Thanks to everyone!"
Courtney B. said about Vanessa – “She was wonderful when cleaning my daughter’s teeth – “drawing letters, etc.”
She had tons of tricks – my daughter didn’t even know she had anything done.”