With a little planning, your child’s first dental visit should be an enjoyable experience for both you and your toddler. A child’s first visit to the dentist should occur when the first baby teeth appear, or by their first birthday, as recommended by both the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
The best way to ensure your child has a positive first experience is to begin playing dentist with your child several weeks before your child’s visit. Teach your child that the dentist helps them take good care of their teeth. As you play dentist, explain that the dentist will count their teeth, tickling them with a tooth brush. Explain that they will see the dentist and hygienist both wearing a mask and gloves in order to protect them from germs and keep them healthy. As you play dentist, have your child lay back in your lap, mimicking the experience in a dental chair. Tell them that the dentist will talk to them and explain everything beforehand.
In addition to playing dentist, another excellent way to introduce the experience of a dental visit is by reading a book such as the Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist. As you prepare your child for their first visit, keep in mind that your child will pick up on how you feel about your own experiences at the dentist. Parental views toward the dentist play a significant role in how children view the dentist.
At Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph, we have started thousands of children off on the right path to a lifetime of good oral health. Our office is modern, clean and child focused. We understand children, and their parents, and are passionate about making the first dental appointment (and everyone after) a positive and enjoyable experience. Our mission is to establish a dental home for your child, an ongoing relationship between our pediatric dentist and your child, allowing care to be delivered in a comprehensive, continuously accessible, coordinated and family-centered way. If you have any questions don’t hesitate to call our office, we are always happy to discuss your concerns.
The first time you hear a grating sound coming from your toddler’s mouth it can be quite startling. Don’t be alarmed. Teeth grinding, also known as Bruxism, is reasonably common in young children and is rarely a cause for concern. As adults we may be more inclined to grind our teeth during times of stress, like those felt during a national pandemic, this is not the case for a toddler’s grinding.
“We get a lot of calls to the office from parents worried about their children grinding their teeth,” says Dr. Mannella, of Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph. “We like to check a child’s mouth to make sure there are no underlying problems but the reality is that most kids just grow out of it without doing any harm to their teeth.”
According to Dr. Mannella, approximately 15% of all toddlers will grind their teeth. “Usually it first begins when a child’s upper and lower teeth cut through the gums. Sometimes it can occur because the upper and lower jaws are growing at a different rate, sometimes it is a means for a toddler to self soothe when teething, or even from the pain of an ear infection. And some kids just grind their teeth simply because they’ve figured out how to do it and they are curious about the sound they’ve learned to make.”
Because the enamel on baby teeth is thinner, excessive grinding can erode the enamel if a child is still grinding their teeth by the age of four or five. When physical reasons for grinding are ruled out sometimes grinding can be a reaction to stress or anxiety, such as a new sibling, a change in daycare, or the start of a new school year.
Around one-third of children with bruxism will still be grinding their teeth as adults. Grinding and teeth clenching as an adult can lead to some pretty severe jaw pain and headaches, so it’s worth keeping tabs on this habit as your child gets older.
If you have concerns about your child’s tooth grinding, or any questions about your child’s oral health, Dr. Mannella and his team at Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph are always happy to discuss any issues that matter to you. You can reach their office at 973-989-7970 or check out the Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph website at https://pediatric-dental.com/ You can also follow the practice on Facebook and Instagram for the upcoming family events.
In our office we see far too many children with damage to teeth that could have been prevented by wearing a mouth guard.
Children who don’t wear mouth guards playing sports are 60 times more likely to harm their teeth. These injuries often result in permanent damage even after medical intervention. Yet, most parents will admit that their children do not wear a mouth guard during organized sports. While some sports like football and field hockey require kids to wear a mouth guard, many sports such as baseball, soccer and basketball do not.
As you ready your children for spring sports, please keep in mind that mouth guards have been proven to dramatically decrease the risk of oral injuries and they are also one of the least expensive pieces of protective sports equipment available. Not only do mouthguards save teeth, they help protect jaws and can also prevent traumatic injuries such as concussions.
The most effective mouth guard should be comfortable, covering the teeth and depending on the patient’s bite, also the gums. It should also be durable, easily cleaned, and not restrict speech or breathing. We believe if you start your child out wearing a mouthguard while they are young it will be a natural routine to always reach for a mouthguard when suiting up for play or practice.
At Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph, Dr. Mannella, Dr. Marybeth and Dr. Russo are happy to recommend the best option of dental protection for your child. Our mission in caring for your children’s dental health goes beyond simply reminding them to brush and floss regularly. By discussing the various types of mouthguards available, from those custom-made in our office, to ready-to-wear ones available at any sporting goods store, you can make an informed decision on how to best protect your child.
It is important to remember damaged teeth do not grow back. Our motto at Pediatric Dental Associates of Randolph is “We make smiles happen”. Protect that perfect smile – always insist that your child wear a mouthguard.
Please call our office at 973-989-7970 for an appointment to discuss the use of mouthguards or any concerns you have about your children’s dental and oral health.