Pediatric dentists promote the dental health of children as well as serving as an educational resource to provide parents with a program of preventative home care, a risk assessment of tooth decay, and information on finger, thumb, and pacifier habits, plus advice on preventing injuries to the mouth and teeth of children, diet counseling, and information on growth and development.

It is generally recommended that the first dental visit should occur within six months after the first tooth comes in (around 8 to 12 months), or by the child’s first birthday.  This helps the pediatric dentist to establish a positive relationship with the child.  They have training in ways to make a child feel comfortable.  A pleasant beginning makes for a rewarding child-dentist relationship.  You can help by being positive when talking to your child about seeing the dentist, perhaps read books with them about going to the dentist.  Children are not born with fears: they are acquired, so please let your pediatric dentist explain the procedures to your child.

The first dental visit is usually short and involves very little treatment. This visit gives your child an opportunity to meet the dentist in a non-threatening and friendly way.  During your child’s first visit the dentist will examine their mouth, teeth and gums to:

  • Make sure all teeth are healthy.
  • Evaluate adverse habits like thumb sucking.
  • To see if crooked or crowded teeth may cause problems.
  • Evaluate fluoride needs.
  • Teach you about cleaning their teeth and gums, and cavity prevention.
  • Suggest a schedule for regular dental visits.

Cavities are most often due to a diet high in sugary foods, combined with a lack of brushing. When we eat, an acid reaction occurs inside their mouth as the bacteria digests the sugars. This reaction lasts approximately 20 minutes. During this time the acid environment can begin to destroy the tooth enamel, eventually leading to cavities, and the longer the residue stays on the teeth, the greater the chances of getting cavities.  These are some tips for cavity prevention:

  • Limit frequency of meals and snacks.
  • Encourage brushing, flossing and rinsing.
  • Limit sugary drinks (some fruit juice contains as much sugar as soda).
  • Avoid giving your child sticky foods.
  • Make treats part of meals.
  • Choose nutritious snacks.

Baby teeth are important:  besides maintaining space for permanent teeth to come in properly, they are essential for chewing, biting, speech and appearance. Children that have their first dental visit by age one are less likely to have future tooth decay.

If you are interested in pediatric exam in Costa Rica, fill out the “Find a Dentist” form on this page.  One of our patient advocates will reply to your needs.