We recommend that the first dental visit be initiated around the age of 3. It is designed to familiarize the child with the dental environment and to lower any anxiety that they might have in regards to dental treatment. The first visit consists of a chair ride, and interactive play with the different instruments, such as Mr. Slurpy, The Bumblebee, and The Laser Man. We will count their teeth and if the child allows it we will perform a polish. We will discuss and illustrate correct oral hygiene techniques in conjunction with proper diet, and we will identify any possible dental problems at this visit. At the end the child leaves with a tooth brush, tooth paste and floss, and let’s not forget about the toy from the toy-chest.
Early childhood visits will be scheduled after to maintain the good experience and also to monitor the quality of their oral hygiene and ensure the absence of dental disease. We recommend that dental radiographs to be taken only when the back teeth have come together to make sure that there are no cavities starting there. The frequency of the recall visits will be determined according to the child's ability to maintain a good oral hygiene and absence of any disease.
The deciduous dentition is very important. It sets the stage for the adult dentition. It is very important to maintain the health of those baby teeth until the adult teeth are ready to replace them. When a baby tooth is lost prematurely there is a strong chance that the teeth will shift and the space for the adult tooth will be lost leading to crowding or even blockage of the eruption. In those instances a space maintainer is indicated to preserve the space for the adult tooth.
Proper development of the facial bone structure and tooth eruption pattern will be assessed. In some cases, when we notice a variation from the normal development we will recommend starting the orthodontic treatment as early as age seven. It is an interceptive type of treatment that will attempt to correct the development of the face with optimum aesthetic and functional results.
This is the time when our “little ones” become young adults and try to define themselves. Hormones are having a blast! Everything changes. Diet and oral hygiene can also change, so great care should be taken to keep these “rebels” on track. Regular preventative appointments are essential. This is also the time when the majority of orthodontic treatments are performed.
Now that we as adults have our full complement of teeth the focus changes to maintaining good oral hygiene and of course, to aesthetic procedures. For those of us that missed braces as teens there is another chance to straighten our teeth with Invisalign. If the shape, size or shade of their teeth are not optimum there is the option of bonding or veneering the teeth. The caries risk is low for the majority of adults and most of the problems seem to target the inter-proximal areas. We tend to do a great job brushing our teeth but most of us are less compliant with flossing, hence the higher incidence of caries in between the teeth. During the adult stage we will see the first signs of periodontal disease or gum disease. It is paramount that we maintain good care of the gums, preserving the bone that surrounds the teeth and ensuring a long term retention of the dentition..
At this stage the focus shifts towards retaining the adult dentition as much as possible. Extra care should be taken for those who start medication for different general health issues that can affect the quantity and quality of the salivary flow and immune system. Saliva is very important not just for eating but also for maintaining healthy oral tissues and preventing tooth decay. It is normal during the aging process for the gums to retract slowly which then exposes the root structure. This can cause increased sensitivity and higher risk for root decay. We recommend more frequent cleaning visits, plenty of liquids and in some advanced instances the use of a saliva substitute like Biotene. Desensitizing and fluoridated agents play a role in fighting the sensitivity and increasing the resistance of tooth decay.