From tots to teens, it’s never too early to begin a lifetime of good oral health! At Novato Family Dental Care, we will treat your family like our family.
For your child’s first visit to the dentist, we recommend seeing them between the ages of 2 and 3 years old, when they can sit by themselves next to you for about 15 minutes.
Our goal is to give them a sense of accomplishment in a nurturing and caring environment.
First visits include an introduction to the Novato Family Dental Care office, and a ” show and tell” of how things work at the dentist. We try to make it as fun as possible! We take their picture, give them a “ride” on our chair, and let them hold the mirror to see their teeth.
We show your child the air and waterspout, and maybe let them squirt Mom or Dad! We teach them how to count their teeth and then guess how many teeth they have (if they are nervous, we may count their fingers to show how easy it is).
After we count their teeth, we talk about taking care of their teeth and answer your questions. We want your child to feel that they have done a great job on their first visit, and to earn their trust.
Over the next few visits we slowly introduce new things, and soon your child will be able to have a complete cleaning and enjoy their time at the dentist.
At Novato Family Dental Care, we hope to never have to deliver the news that your child has his first cavity. But if it is necessary, our goal is to stay positive and solution-oriented in our delivery.
We use the ” tell, show, do” method of preparing your child, giving them enough information to feel safe, but not too much information that they feel scared. Using phrases like “feel a pinch” and “scrub your tooth” to describe the procedure, we will show them everything we use except the needle so they know what is happening at each step.
In some cases we have found nitrous oxide to work very well in pediatric patents to reduce their dental anxiety, and have it available if needed.
Despite your best efforts, kids can get cavities — especially in baby teeth. Our suggestion is to enforce good home oral heath care and stay positive.
Your child may be anxious about visiting the dentist, and maybe you are as well. Through years of experience, we have found that staying positive and keeping information simple are effective ways to get you both in the door and on your way to a lifetime of good oral health.
While we always welcome parents to be with their children during procedures, in some situations we have found it better for parents not to be present. Either way, we do our very best to maintain the trust of you and your child, because we treat all of our patients like family.
Children 6 to 12 years of age
By this time your child will have some new permanent teeth and still some baby teeth. We begin to see many changes in your child’s mouth around the time their permanent molars come in — usually around 6 to 7 years of age.
To help prevent cavities before they start, we often recommend sealants at this age to protect areas of your child’s teeth that are susceptible to decay. We might also recommend fluoride treatments as another defense to cavity development.
This is also the best time period to evaluate your child for orthodontic treatment. Because every child’s mouth develops differently, our recommendation could come sooner, later, or perhaps not at all.
Sometimes early intervention is best to control how your child’s teeth come in, other times it is better to wait until most of the permanent teeth are in before beginning orthodontics.
Prior to turning 8 years old, you and your child should be working together on daily dental hygiene. Once they have reached that age, we like to see your child make a transition to independent oral care and make sure they have the skills and motivation to succeed at brushing and flossing.
The teen years
Between the ages of 12 and 18, we typically find increased risk of decay due to dietary and sometimes hormonal changes.
Unfortunately by now, junk foods, sugary sports and soft drinks have become a part of their diets. Flossing and brushing lose emphasis and taking care of their teeth is not foremost in many teens’ minds.
If your child plays sports, they may also need a sports guard to protect their teeth from injury. Novato Family Dental Care can make a custom guard for a stronger, more comfortable and better fit than any standard guard you would find at a sports store.
It is more important than ever to visit the dentist regularly to minimize problems and maintain your teen’s oral health.