1. When should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?
A child’s first dental examination should take place 6 months after the first tooth comes in or at the first birthday, whichever comes first.
- Age 1: First examination
- Age 2: Second examination
- Age 3: Examination PLUS first cleaning and fluoride treatment.
2. Is the first visit very important?
At the first dental appointment your child’s pediatric dentist will discuss diet, the use of fluorides and oral hygiene habits which will lead to the development of healthy teeth. Certain dental problems such as bottle decay are specific to children of this age group and can be prevented. An examination at approximately one year of age can detect these types of conditions and they may be treated. Early treatment can prevent more serious dental problems later.
3. How often should my child visit the dentist?
The Canadian Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry both recommend a dental check-up at least twice each year for most children. Your dentist will decide how often your child should be seen, as some children need more frequent visits due to increased risk of tooth decay, unusual growth patterns or poor oral hygiene. As a rule, a child should have a complete examination, cleaning and fluoride treatment every six months starting from three years of age.
4. Why are regular recall appointments necessary?
- To ensure that baby teeth are falling out at the right time and that permanent teeth are properly located in the jaw bone.
- To prevent various problems related to the development of a child’s jaw structure.
- To examine the eruption of permanent teeth, make sure that they are coming in properly, and to follow their progress in order to avoid complex orthodontic treatment.
- To benefit from preventive treatments such as fluoride and pit and fissure sealants.
- To detect decay in its early stages before it progresses and causes more serious dental problems.
- To show your child the importance of good dental hygiene and overall dental health.
5. Why are primary (baby) teeth important?
- Healthy primary teeth are important for children to chew food properly.
- Healthy primary teeth enable a child to speak clearly.
- Most importantly, baby teeth act as placeholders in the jaw for the proper development of the child’s permanent teeth.
6. What can I do as a parent at my child’s appointment?
Allow the dentist and his staff to explain and describe dental treatments to your child. A pediatric dentist and his team of trained staff members will use the terms and descriptions appropriate to your child’s age. As a parent you can simply tell your child that the dentist will count the teeth and possibly brush them.
If you accompany your child into the treatment room, be a silent partner. Let the dentist interact directly with your child.
Consider the dental appointment a Special Day. Remain calm and relaxed, before and during your child’s dental appointment. Research shows that if you are relaxed, your child will be cooperative and have a good dental experience. A positive attitude will result in a positive experience.
7. What dental services does RAMQ (Medicare) cover?
Medicare covers specific dental services for children 0-9 years of age. As of a child’stenth birthday, he/she is no longer covered for ANY dental treatment.
The following explains Medicare coverage for dental treatments in Quebec:
From 0-9 years of age, the following services ARE covered:
- Examinations (one in a twelve month period)
- Root canals
RAMQ does not cover PREVENTIVE services. The following are treatments NOT covered by Medicare
- Dental cleaning/polishing
- Fluoride treatments
- Pit and Fissure Sealants
8. What are pit and fissure sealants?
- A sealant is a resin material that is applied to the pits and fissures of back teeth.
- A sealant acts as a barrier, protecting the enamel from bacterial plaque in cavity prone areas.
- Children are much more susceptible to tooth decay than adults and should have their back teeth sealed as soon as the teeth grow in fully.
- Applying sealants is a quick, easy and painless procedure. They are painted on and bonded in place.