Child Dental Care

How early is too early to begin caring for your child’s teeth? At Eisner Pediatric & Family Medical Center’s Dental Clinic, we want to see your infant as soon as the baby’s first tooth comes in. That’s right. Sure, your baby might have more gums than teeth right now, but caring for your baby’s whole mouth from the start is an important part of his or her future oral health. After that first visit, the dentist will want to see your baby every six months for the rest of his or her life.

What Happens at the Dentist’s Office?

That depends on your child’s age and specific oral care needs. Dentists examine, clean, treat, and teach - not necessarily in that order. If something needs attention, the dentist may recommend a treatment plan.

Dental Care for Infants

The dentist will ask you questions and then examine your baby’s mouth to diagnose any problems.

Examine: The dentist examines the tongue, the roof of the mouth, even the inside of your baby’s cheeks for signs of problems. To spot habits that could cause dental problems, your dentist asks questions about your baby’s eating habits. He might want to know:

  • What do you feed your baby?
  • Do you feed your baby right before bed?
  • Does your baby drink from a sippy cup?
  • Does your baby drink juice or sugary drinks? How often?
  • Does your baby sleep with a pacifier?
  • Does your baby suck her thumb?

Clean: The dentist looks for signs of any buildup of food, deposits, or stains and then gently scrubs your baby’s teeth to remove them.

Treat: The dentist may treat your baby’s teeth with fluoride if he thinks she is not getting enough in her diet or drinking water.

Teach: The dentist will teach you the right way to brush your baby’s teeth and take care of her gums. The dentist expects you to have questions, so don’t be shy. Ask about the things you don’t know or understand.

Dentistry for Children and Adolescents

Children who are older when they first see the dentist are often afraid. They may have heard stories from other children. At EPFMC, we have a lot of experience helping children relax in the dentist’s chair. We don’t believe in sedation for children. Instead, we use the Tell-Show-Do model to relieve their fear. We Tell them what we’re going to do. Then, we Show them. Now, they’re more relaxed, so we can Do what we need to do. (This works well with adults, too.)

As your children grow older, we continue to ask questions about their eating, flossing, and brushing habits. We also want to know about other activities that could endanger their beautiful smile — things like whether they play contact sports or smoke or chew tobacco. Eating disorders such as bulimia also damage teeth, so we ask when see a problem.

Children and teens need to see the dentists every 6 months for cleanings and an oral checkup. This gives the dentist the best opportunity to catch problems early. Cavities, for example, take time to develop. If we catch them early, they don’t have to turn into cavities. Your child doesn’t have to experience toothaches or lose teeth. These are problems that come about because a dentist wasn’t allowed to diagnose and treat them in their early stages.

If you would like to make a dental appointment for your child, call (213) 747-5542, ext. 3316.

Next: Learn about our orthodontic services.

More Kids’ Dentistry at EPFMC

Orthodontics for Children
Many children need braces as they grow older to protect their pretty smile. Learn more about the orthodontic services we offer.
Need Dental Coverage for Your Kids?
If you qualify, the state of California’s Medi-Cal program will cover your child’s dental care through the age of 5. Another program, PPP (Public-Private Partnership), covers patients under 21 if they qualify. Find out if your child qualifies for Medi-Cal or PPP free dental care.