Introducing “Ask Dr. Bobbi!”
At Camp Smile, we believe there are no bad questions. As our influence grows, we want to share our experience, insight and wisdom regarding pediatric dentistry. To submit questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or use the hashtag #AskDrBobbi on Instagram or Facebook!
Welcome to our inaugural, “Ask Dr. Bobbi,” Dr. Bobbi! First question…
Q: When should a child first see a dentist?
A: I hear this question every week! Children should have their first dental visit by the age of one or within six months of the eruption of the first tooth. Unfortunately, there are some health professionals still recommending that children have their first dental visit around the age of three. That’s old news — we know that seeing the dentist at an early age helps to establish healthy habits and contributes to the prevention of dental caries (cavities), which is the most common, chronic disease of childhood.
Q: What would a first visit look like for an infant?
A: A large portion of a first visit for an infant or young child is dedicated to parent and caregiver education. This includes instruction and counseling on oral hygiene, diet, and habit (i.e., pacifier, thumb, bottle) cessation. The exam is typically completed in a knee-to-knee position with parent assistance and a lighted mirror. We examine the tongue and intra-and peri-oral anatomy, assess frenal attachments, and check for clefting of the palate. Of course, we look at the teeth and make sure there are no signs of breakdown or cavities. The entire visit usually takes around 40-60 minutes. Click here to watch the infant knee-to-knee video on our website.
Q: What would a first visit look like for older children and adolescents?
A: We still dedicate much of the first visit to patient, parent, and caregiver education. We want even our youngest patients to feel like they are invested in and equipped to take care of their own oral health; however, we recognize and remind parents that children still need help brushing and flossing their teeth. Additionally, we introduce radiographs (as indicated) in addition to a full cleaning. We work to establish a positive dental outlook for each patient at every visit!
Q: Why should a child see a pediatric dentist?
A: Anatomically and psychologically, children are not just “mini-adults.” We have additional training and expertise to manage infants and children, whom we see significantly more than most general practice providers. Pediatric dentists have at least two to three years of additional residency education to handle the nuances that may come along the way. Pediatric dentists are the “pediatricians of the oral cavity.” We don’t like to put “Band-Aids” on dental problems — we like to address decay and growth and development concerns comprehensively.
Baby teeth are different than permanent teeth, and we understand that and know how to treat them predictably. Additionally, we have various options for completing treatment, including nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) or general anesthesia.
Q: Spring is officially here, and summer is just around the corner. What are you looking forward to doing when the weather gets nicer?
A: I am looking forward to getting out and about, being active with my kiddos: walks, runs, water skiing, and all those sorts of things. I like to get out there and play a little catch too. I can throw a mean spiral, but I can also throw you out at second!
Oh — and Licks Unlimited in Excelsior! I haven’t had my chocolate-dipped sugar cone with sprinkles and coffee ice cream since last fall.