Kathy Kastberg has been a Dental Hygienist for over 20 years, working for the last several years at Masci & Hale Advanced Aesthetic & Restorative Dentistry in Walden, NY
Good dental hygiene can avert problems later in life including digestive troubles from not chewing food properly. Begin at age three or once the child has all 20 baby teeth. Prior to their first visit it would be ideal to watch an older sibling or parent have a dental visit.
Parents should be prepared to wait in the waiting room for most of the session, which they are often reluctant to do. However, if there is a parent in the room, it often interferes with communication between the patient and the staff. Siblings can be in the room for emotional support. Staff carefully chooses their wording to be positive, a parent may say “it’s not going to hurt” planting the idea of “hurt”, while staff might say “this is going to tickle” which sets a different mood. Also, kids are often better behaved outside of their parents’ care.
Teeth are counted and xrays are not necessary until age 5. Flouride polish is used for cleaning as is a fluoride treatment. Supplimental fluoride sources are discussed as some communities have fluoridated water and some pediatricians prescribe fluoride fortified vitamin suppliments. There are two types of flouride, each performing a different funcion; 1) Ingested is beneficial for forming teeth, and 2) Topical fluoride, toothpaste or rinse for present teeth.
Do not use topical flouride such as “Act” until age 6, ingesting topic fluoride can cause stomach upset. Overall Flouride is very safe and effective, having prevented so much decay, the incident of cavities is greatly decreased since it’s use. Sealants are recommended at the time that 6 year molars come in behind the last baby tooth, traditionally during1st grade. A coating is placed on the pits and grooves of the biting surface. One concern parents express is the “sealing in” of existing bacteria, which is unwarranted. Bacteria is anaerobic and dies at the time the sealants are placed. This procedure has been in place for twenty years, but many parents are unfamiliar with it. Cost is approximately 30 per tooth for 4 six year molars and most are covered by insurance.. and it only takes 5 mins per tooth.
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