REINFORCING POSITIVE DENTAL EXPERIENCES FROM DAY ONE
AT WHAT AGE SHOULD MY CHILD SEE THE DENTIST FOR THE FIRST TIME?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry encourages the establishment of a dental home for all children by age one.
Why so early?
Cavities can occur as soon as teeth appear in the mouth. One of the risk factors for early childhood cavities is frequent and prolonged exposure of a baby’s teeth to liquids that contain sugar like milk, breastmilk, formula and fruit juice. Cavities can occur early when parents or caregivers put a baby to bed with a bottle with any beverage other than water or when a toddler is allowed to carry a sippy cup throughout the day. An early visit to the dentist helps provide routine dental care so that problems can be detected, treated early or even avoided completely.
WHAT WILL YOU DO DURING THIS FIRST VISIT?
During the first visit your baby will be curious about his surroundings. At our office, Dr. Santos-Cordero uses the lap-to-lap examination technique to evaluate all babies and some toddlers. The baby is placed on your lap with his head on the doctor’s lap. Your child will be able to see your face at all times and allows you to reassure him that everything will be ok.
I AM AFRAID THAT MY CHILD WILL BE TRAUMATIZED BY THIS EXPERIENCE. WHAT SHOULD I DO?
As parents we are often concerned about how our child will react to dental treatment. The truth is that no one knows how your child will react until we try it for the first time. Their initial reaction will most likely reflect your level of anxiety towards the visit. When parents are relaxed about the visit the child has the opportunity to experience it as something necessary and not a stressful event. Though we work diligently to help each new patient feel calm and relaxed, some babies may cry during their first few visits due to the unfamiliar sights and sounds. It has been our experience that most patients get used to routine care fairly quickly. The majority of our patients march confidently into the treatment room by age three.
LIP AND TONGUE-TIES MAY AFFECT NURSING
Does your baby take a long time to nurse? Is your baby falling asleep in the middle of breastfeeding but can’t be put down without waking up to demand the breast again? Is your baby losing weight instead of gaining weight? Are you convinced that your baby does not like breastfeeding? Have you had to switch to bottle feeding because your baby is having difficulties with nursing? If you have answered yes to any of the questions above, chances are that your baby may have an anatomical dysfunction that is interfering with proper feeding.
When a baby has problems to nurse, a tongue-tie or a lip-tie is often to blame. Tongue-ties occur in 3-4 % of infants and may prevent a baby from properly latching to a mother’s nipple or a bottle. If the tongue or the lip can’t support and seal the breast, the baby will not be able to sustain proper feeding.
This flawed function may result in:
- More frequent feedings
- Poor latching
- Difficulty breathing
- Reflux and/or frequent vomiting
- Gassy, colicky baby due to air swallowing during feeding
- Sleep deprivation
- Poor growth pattern
- Difficulty gaining weight
- Breast pain and cracked, sore or flattened nipples
- Reduced milk supply
The decision to treat a tie can only be achieved with an assessment process that includes an evaluation of the medical history, feeding history, symptoms and physical examination of the baby as well as an evaluation of the mother’s comfort. At our office, Dr. Santos-Cordero has been helping babies thrive at nursing by releasing lip and tongue-ties with a simple laser assisted oral surgery.
If you suspect your baby’s nursing problems might be related to a tight lip-tie or tongue-tie, call our office for a complimentary evaluation.