Our new patient experience for children involves an appointment that is between one to one and a half hours in length. As with our adult new patient exams, child new patient exams are highly individualized. We take the first few minutes of the appointment to discuss any concerns a child or parent may have. It also allows us to enquire about what types of experiences a child has had in the past.
After taking and discussing any diagnostic x-rays, we provide a full assessment for children. We are able to determine each child’s risk to cavities and place them on a risk management program that is specific to the level of risk we have identified. By introducing this concept, we hope to do everything in our ability to give each child and their parents the tools to keep the number of cavities as low as possible, hopefully none.
A second important concept we assess is growth and development. We provide information to help with the relationship of the teeth and monitor growth and development of the jaws. An early referral to an orthodontist is given if necessary.
Finally, we provide important information about gum disease and how they can be managed. While cleanings are performed on every patient, we assess the gums with the same diagnostic tool as adults starting in early adolescence. We establish a “check-up” interval that is specific to each person based on the needs of their gums. The needs of children and the associated recommendations of oral care techniques vary from those in adults. In our cleaning appointments, we provide valuable information on the current recommended techniques that are specific to children.
We are extremely excited of the recent introduction of an infant program within our office. The current recommendation for infants in Ontario is that they see a dentist by the time they get their first tooth or by the age of one (whichever comes first). Our exam for infants is primarily an education session for parents. We take the opportunity to explain cavity risk and what factors influence it. We identify whether or not each infant is at risk for developing cavities and provide essential strategies to reducing this risk. We also observe the current oral care for the infant and provide tips on technique that will allow effective plaque removal.
A second important concept we introduce is growth and development. Early identification of growth and development will allow us to predict future relationship of the teeth. Strategies and recommendations on how this can be influenced are given if necessary.
By introducing dentistry at the infant stage in life, we hope to provide the tools that can help children keep their teeth until they fall out naturally. This is critical for the development of speech, allowing the proper alignment of teeth and keeping children free of oral disease and pain. Our hope is that by starting in our infant program, we can introduce the philosophies that are used in our child and adult programs. Through this consistency, we hope to give each individual the best chance at remaining disease free and keeping their teeth for a lifetime.