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Your First Visit To THE SMILE CENTRE

When should my child first see a dentist, and why?

The ideal time is at approximately one year of age. This is an ideal time for the dentist to carefully examine the development of your child's mouth. Because dental problems often start early, the sooner the visit the better. To safeguard against problems such as baby bottle tooth decay, teething irritations, gum disease, and prolonged thumb-sucking, the dentist can provide or recommend special preventive care.

How do I prepare my child and myself for the visit?

Before the visit, ask the dentist about the procedures of the first appointment so there are no surprises. plan a course of action for either reaction your child may exhibit- cooperative or non-cooperative.  Very young children may be fussy and not sit still.  Talk to your child about what to expect, and build excitement as well as understanding about the upcoming visit.  Bring with you to the appointment any records of your child's complete medical history.

What will happen on the first visit?

WELCOME! Come In! Have a seat!

This is probably your first visit to a holistic dentist, so let's talk in some detail.

The first thing you need to know is that I am not primarily interested in your dental concern! Wait! Don't get upset. Of course I care that you have a toothache or that your gums are bleeding when you brush your teeth... After all I am a dentist. But I also know that I cannot separate your dental concern from the rest of your body or for that matter your general health. So, I will take a look at both your medical and dental history-hence we have some pretty long forms to fill out–Sorry.

After you have watched a short (5 minutes) educational film on dental health, we take your blood pressure from your left and right arm, and, if needed, a blood sugar and saliva test. After I have reviewed your medical history and have discussed your dental concerns, I will do an external exam of your body and face. (I would have checked how you walked into or out of the office or how you sit in the dental chair). I will check for facial symmetry (does one side of your face look longer than the other). I will ask you to smile. All of these can give me an indication of several hidden concerns.

Next, I will check your neck area – the thyroid gland, the lymph nodes, the muscles and I will ask you to swallow. From here I move to your face and check your sinuses,(well some of them) by palpating your cheeks and above your eyebrows. After this we will examine the TMJ which is the joint in front of the ears that opens and closes your mouth. The TMJ is not only connected to the jaw and therefore teeth, but also the neck, shoulders, back and arm, and should be in proper alignment to avoid pain.

I know you came to the dentist and as yet I have not even asked you to open your mouth. But be patient. Even before I open your mouth I need to make sure you don't have pain in your eyes, ears, neck, shoulders, back and arm. I need to make sure that you don't have difficulty swallowing, that you are sleeping ok, and that you are not under too much STRESS. Even things like acid reflux can affect your teeth. I know! You are saying, "But I just have a toothache!" Don't get up from your seat yet. Because I also have to check for oral cancer. How can I not? How can you come to me with a concern and I focus on the symptom and not the CAUSE of the symptom?

Finally!! I will ask you to open your mouth. The first thing I will check however is not your teeth. (No I am not crazy). I will check your tongue. A tongue diagnosis is an important part of a dental exam and can be an indication of the state of the rest of the body. From there I check the back of the throat, lips, roof and floor of the mouth and inner cheeks. At Last!! You will be glad to know that I check your teeth and gums– not just for cavities or gum disease – but for the bite, bad breath, space loss, wear facets (caused by grinding the teeth), sensitivity to air, cold or heat, etc., etc.

If I find anything of a medical nature then I will not hesitate to refer you a specialist. Whether a doctor, nutritionist, osteopath it does not matter. Well, there you have it in a nutshell... A very small nutshell. Keep Smiling and remember the mouth and the body are ONE.

When should the next visit be?

Children, like adults should see the dentist every six months.  Some dentists may schedule interim visits for every three months when the child is very young to build up a comfort and confidence level, or to treat a developing problem.

The Smile Centre | Woodside Gardens Bay Street, St Michael, Barbados | Tel: (246) 436-8425 | Email:
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