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Children's Dentistry

Your Child’s First Visit


Our office, as well as The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and The American Dental Association (ADA) all recommend establishing a “Dental Home” for your child by one year of age. Children who have a dental home are more likely to receive appropriate preventive and routine oral health care. At this young age, problems can be detected, treated early, or avoided completely. More importantly, it can help establish a positive relationship between your child and the dentist. It is best if you refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as "needle", "pull", "drill", or "hurt". Valley View Dental makes a practice of using words that convey the same message but are pleasant and non-frightening to the child.


On your child’s first visit, we will perform a complete oral exam. Many times, we will clean the teeth, apply topical fluoride, and take X-rays that allow Dr. Irina to view the structure of the jaw, the position of any teeth that have not yet erupted, malformed roots, and tooth decay. The initial visit also involves getting your child’s medical history. When you share your child’s medical history, be sure to provide complete, up-to-date information. It is also important to inform us of any fears your child may have about dental treatment. The information collected in your first visit will help Dr. Irina select the safest and most effective method of treatment for your child. Regular dental checkups are essential for maintaining good oral health and we encourage them every six months. Regular checkups include a thorough cleaning, polishing, and an oral exam.


During the oral exam, the doctor checks the health of your child’s mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks, and tongue. At each visit, Dr. Irina will also check old fillings and restorations because constant pressure from chewing, grinding, or clenching can cause them to wear away, chip, or crack. Depending on your child’s age, X-rays may be taken to evaluate for hidden decay, position and location of the developing permanent teeth. She will also discuss potential problems such as nursing decay, pacifier and thumb-sucking habits. Dr. Irina and her staff will advise you on a program of preventive health care including brushing, flossing, proper nutrition, and the use of fluoride.


Reasons You Should Save Your Child’s Baby Teeth

Primary teeth serve several critical roles in a child's development:

  • They guide the proper eruption of permanent teeth, ensuring they emerge in the correct position.

  • They contribute to good nutrition by enabling proper chewing.

  • They are essential for normal speech development, influencing how certain sounds are made.


It's important to repair primary teeth for several reasons:

  • To prevent the pain and discomfort that can result from an abscess, which in severe cases may lead to hospitalization.

  • To protect the developing permanent teeth underneath from damage.

  • To prevent the premature loss of primary teeth, which can lead to the accidental removal of a developing permanent tooth bud.

  • To reduce the risk of high bacteria levels in the mouth, which can lead to lifelong dental issues.

  • To prevent decay in adjacent teeth caused by the spread of bacteria through saliva.


Moreover, the health and appearance of primary teeth play a significant role in shaping a child's mouth and influencing their self-esteem and confidence through their smile.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. When should my child first see a dentist?

A. Your child should visit a pediatric dentist when the first tooth comes in, usually between 6 and 12 months of age. This visit will establish a dental home for your child. Early examination and preventive care will protect your child’s smile now and in the future.


Q. What dental problems could a baby have?

A. The principal reason for initiating an early and comprehensive preventive dental program is to combat dental issues that can start at a young age. A big concern is Early Childhood Caries (formerly known as baby bottle tooth decay or nursing caries). Once a child’s diet includes anything besides breast milk, erupted teeth are at risk for decay. The earlier the dental visit, the better the chance of preventing dental problems. Children with healthy teeth chew food easily and smile with confidence. Start your child now on a lifetime of good dental habits.


Q. How can I prevent tooth decay from nursing or using a bottle?

A. At-will breastfeeding should be avoided after the first primary (baby) teeth begin to erupt and other sources of nutrition have been introduced. Children should not fall asleep with a bottle containing anything other than water. Drinking juice from a bottle should be avoided. Fruit juice should only be offered in a cup with meals or at snack time.


Q. When should bottle-feeding be stopped?

A. Children should be weaned from the bottle at 12-14 months of age.


Q. Should I worry about thumb and finger sucking?

A. Thumb sucking is perfectly normal for infants; many stop by age 2. Prolonged thumb sucking can create crooked teeth or bite problems. If the habit continues beyond age 3, a professional evaluation is recommended. Your pediatric dentist will be glad to suggest ways to address a prolonged thumb-sucking habit.


Q. When should I start cleaning my baby’s teeth?

A. The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. As soon as the teeth begin to appear, start brushing twice daily using fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriate-sized toothbrush. Use a "smear" of toothpaste to brush the teeth of a child less than 2 years of age. For the 2-5 year old, dispense a "pea-size" amount of toothpaste and perform or assist your child’s tooth brushing.


Q. Any advice on teething?

A. From six months to age 3, your child may have tender gums when teeth erupt. Many children like a clean teething ring, cool spoon, or cold wet washcloth. Some parents swear by a chilled ring; others simply rub the baby’s gums with a clean finger. At this young age, problems can be detected, treated early, or avoided completely. More importantly, it can help establish a positive relationship between your child and the dentist.

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Dr. Irina is a Certified First Dental Home Provider.


Book your child's first dental appointment with us!

Valley View Dental

Dr. Irina Hayrapetyan DDS FAGD & her staff are eager to welcome you to their friendly dental practice!

Our goal is to help you enjoy a healthy smile that you're proud to share with the world. Embark on a dental experience with us, where your comfort and well-being are our top priorities.
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