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Carlos Bóveda Z.

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Dental Outlook # 4 ©

Tomás Seif R.

Odontólogo Universidad Central de Venezuela

Master of Science The University of Michigan, USA

e-mail:, Office numbers: (58-2) 992.02.42, 992.54.31, 992.78.09

Welcome to this section of the Dental Column.

Hopefully all our readers will enjoy it and have the opportunity to learn about the exciting advances and technologies that modern dentistry has to offer.


Why should I take my child to the dentist?

Your child's first set of teeth, the primary teeth, are extremely important. Strong, healthy primary teeth help your child chew food easily, learn to speak clearly, and look good. Just as important, your child's general health can be affected if diseased and broken primary teeth are not treated early.

If a primary tooth is lost to soon, your child may need to wear a space maintainer until the permanent tooth erupts (comes through the gums). Otherwise the teeth beside it may tilt toward the empty space, causing the permanent tooth to come in crooked and possibly requiring lengthy and more expensive corrective treatment later.

At what age should my child first see a dentist?

Ideally, it is best to take your child to the dentist between six and twelve months of age. The earlier you begin, the better chance your dentist has to prevent problems. In addition to checking for decay and other problems, the dentist will teach you how to properly clean your child's teeth daily, evaluate any adverse habits such as thumbsucking, and identify your child's fluoride needs. By starting dental visits at an early age, you will help your child build a lifetime of good dental habits.


How do I select the right dentist for my child?

The general dentist is usually qualified to perform basic dental diagnosis, prevention and treatment of children. Many general dentists are very skilled individuals and attend meetings to keep updated. Nevertheless, the amount of information in dentistry is extensive and there are many cases that need the intervention of highly trained individuals called "specialists".

As each area of dentistry has become enormously technified and complex, these individuals are trained to perform advanced techniques in order to deliver results that are highly predictable and many times astonishing.

The pedodontists or pediatric dentists are the specialists in diagnosing, preventing and treating the dental diseases of children and young adults. These profesionals have special training in behavioral management and use special techniques and equipment for the younger patients. If you have access to one, they become your first choice.

As a word of caution, if you choose a specialist, he or she must have a degree of advanced dental education in a well known University. This takes additional years of post-graduate training depending on the field.


How often should my child see the dentist?

While there is no set rule, it is generally recommended that children visit the dentist every six months. Because children's dental needs differ, however, your dentist is best able to suggest a schedule of visits for your child. The frequency of dental visits will partly depend on your child's eating habits, how clean his or her teeth are kept, and whether your child drinks fluoridated water.

Taking your child to the dentist regularly can prevent serious dental disease. Preventive services such as fluoride treatments and sealants are less costly than the fillings, crowns, and other treatments that your child may need in the future if the teeth are neglected. Regular dental visits can save time, money and your child's teeth


Next time I will cover information about what will happen on your child's first visit to the dentist and some pointers of do's and dont's for parents.


Es nuestro interés que la información incluida en esta página sea de su ayuda. Si tiene alguna pregunta puede envíarnos un correo electrónico, o si desea que incluyamos algún tópico en particular en esta sección puede contáctarnos a través de nuestro libro de visitas.



 Carlos Bóveda Z. August 1999