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O It’s Your Smile Your Child’s Teeth By Dr. Jernell Escobar Dr. Escobar has been practicing dentistry in the Bay Area since 2006. She took over Dr. Palmerlee’s practice when he retired in 2012. She is passionate about providing exceptional oral health care in a patient centered environment. Dr. Escobar participates in continuing education seminars with other leading clinicians in exploring new and innovative methods and materials for restoring smiles. 22 ne of the most frequently asked questions by parents in my practice is, “When should I take my child to the dentist?” In this article, we will address when to initiate dental care for your child and discuss milestones in your child’s treatment. The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that a child’s first trip to the dentist should occur shortly after the appearance of their first tooth and no later than their first birthday. Often, the follow up question is, “why would I take my child to the dentist at such a young age?” The first visit to the dental office does not involve cleaning the child’s teeth. It is important to introduce your child to their new “dental home” to familiarize them with the environment. The appointment begins with a brief check of the oral cavity. This exam can tell the dentist a lot about a child’s development and health. It is possible to observe chromosomal abnormalities and health problems that can manifest themselves in the teeth and gums. Second, it is especially important for first-time parents to become educated about how to take care of the teeth of the newest members of their family. The dentist can give guidelines as well as cleaning demonstrations so that you can provide the best home care for your child. In addition, the dentist can give some practical advice that could potentially prevent costly and painful dental procedures. One example of this is the prevention of “baby bottle rot.” Many parents find that a great way to pacify a child is to send them to bed with a bottle of milk. Over time, this graduates to juice and in some circumstances soda. The constant contact of sweet liquid on the teeth can lead to rampant tooth decay. During the first visit, the dentist will also make a recommendation as to how frequent subsequent dental visits should occur. Pediatric dental visits are also an important time to talk about other topics such as fluoridation. Fluoride can be a touchy subject for some. However, if it is your intention to give your child fluoride, then the time frame as well as the dosage is important. Frequently, the pediatrician prescribes oral fluoride in conjunction with a multivitamin. However, there are things to consider that the pediatrician m ^H܂X^HZH[X[ ]\[\ܝ[]\Z[H]\܈[\[\œXZ][[H[ܚYHHZ\][X\[]\\H[Y]X ۘH\™]\Z[][ۈ\XYKHܜXYB[H\ܚXY \\\H[\ܝ[X]\H]X[ܚYH[H[]\[\Y] HHHHHHHBPT TS MBH^Z[\ۙH[[\[8&\[[\H[HZ\\[[X[[˂\[\]Y[[YBYX\وYK]\\] H[\š[XYH\Y]Hو[[Y[˜[\]Z\Y[]H[[ٙXKB[[Y[][ۈ\Y\YH]\[Y\[H[[\H[\YYœ^H][HYH^HܚˈBܘ[^[HۙXY]HX[[[BH[YH]Y][HYH\B\ܙ\[[[]\X\][\H[\ݙ[Y[ \[HYHو]KH[\[X[Y[][\[]HZ\\]و[[Y[ܘ\ˈH\HقHY[ܘ\\ٛ \ H[\\ܙY[[܈]]Y\[[X[ۈ]X^HH][[]\H\XB\[[^[Z[][ۋ\\\XX[BYHو]]Y\]ܚY[]H[]Y[Y] Xۙ H[\\X[܂H\[H[[ۚ]܈H][ BY[وH[Z[Y[Y] ]\š[\ܝ[Y[YHۙ[][؛[\X\Z\[Y] ][H[[\[\[HX]HX][\X][H\Z\܈\XH\HY] Y[\[\\]Z\YY[ܘ\[܂\[YH[YK^HZ[H]HY\YYH[و[[][XH܈[X[ۋ]Y[HY\و^[ZY [\[\Z[HYHوZ\XBY][HY[Y]\HY[[XZH[\X\[K\\HܝXX[[YH][X]HH[Z[][ۈقHY[Y][H\Z[]Bܝ۝X][X][ۋ]\[\ܝ[X]\HYH[\[HYXY[ X\Hܝ۝X[\[[ۈ[YX[]Y[HY\\ܜXB]\HX[\[ۋ[\[\[YKH\Y[[\]HYH[Y]ˈ]\[ [\[\X^H[ž[HX]X[[H[YH\X\›وH[\ˈ\\ۙHXB][\\\]\H\وܛX[[]^H[][[HBX[][][[\]YK\[[][Hۜ]و]]Y\[HY] [ۘ\[ۋ]\ܝXX[][\[8&\\[[^\Y[\H]]H\[\[X]K]\[\ܝ[][\[][H\[[][ۜ\][\[Z[H[\]][H\H\œZYܝ\[\[HZ[Z][\[[][[[[Y]B[H]\KZ^K