WHY DO I NEED TO TAKE CARE OF MY CHILD’S BABY TEETH?

Baby teeth can get cavities just like adult teeth. If the cavity becomes big, the tooth can become painful or even infected. If the baby tooth can’t be saved, it may need to be removed.

We all know that teeth are necessary for eating, speaking and smiling, but did you know that baby teeth are also space holders for adult teeth? Baby teeth are meant to stay in place, until your child is around 12 years old. If a baby tooth is removed or lost too early, neighbouring teeth may tip into the space. By the time the adult tooth is finally ready to come out, the space may no longer be big enough for it to come out straight. 

Baby teeth hold space for adult teeth

When Should my Child Start Going to the Family Dentist?

In addition to brushing at home, early checkups are important for maintaining the baby teeth. The Canadian Dental Association recommends that your child’s first visit be within 6 months of the first tooth appearing or by age one, whichever comes first. 

The first dental checkup should be soon after their first tooth comes out or by the age of one.

HOW CAN I PREPARE MY CHILD FOR THE FIRST VISIT?

  • Read a children’s book about going to the dentist.
  • Watch an educational video on YouTube about going to the dentist.
  • Bring your child’s favourite stuffed animal or comforting blanket to the visit.
  • Role-play at home using toys as dentists and patients.
  • Bring your child along to your own dentist appointment. This may help your child get used to the dentist environment.
Role play using toys as patient and dentist.

WHAT IS DONE AT MY CHILD’S CHECKUP VISIT?

  • A ride in the dental chair
  • A review of the medical and dental history.
  • A checkup of the teeth, gums, and the bite to see if things are developing in the way they should.
  • Depending on the age and cooperation of your child, x-ray images may be taken to check for cavities and dental development.
  • A gentle cleaning to remove plaque, if applicable.
  • Fluoride treatment, if applicable.
  • A review of home care recommendations, along with what habits to watch out for.
  • A meeting with Twinkles, the unicorn dental puppet, to teach your child good brushing and flossing habits.
  • Your child gets a dental care goodie bag and a prize from the treasure chest at the end of the appointment.
The gums, teeth and bite and checked to see if things are developing as they should.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD MY CHILD GO FOR ROUTINE CHECKUPS?

Generally, routine checkups (also known as recall exams) are recommended every 6 months. However, each child is different, so your child’s suggested frequency may vary..

Routie checkups are generally recommended once every 6 months.

Who We Are

Dr. Anthony Bellusci and Dr. Vivian Chow are general dentists and owners of Vivant Dental, located in the Panorama area of Surrey, BC. We enjoy working with kids and we strive to create pleasant dental experiences every time they’re in our office. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment with us, feel free to contact us. 

SDF, or sodium diamine fluoride is a liquid antimicrobial that is applied at the dental office to stop the progression of small cavities. It is a conservative approach to managing dental decay. When applied to a cavity, it can remineralize, or strengthen the cavitated tooth structure. The procedure only takes a few minutes. It’s quick, and doesn’t require any anesthetic.

Frequently Asked Questions

What situations may SDF be recommended For?

Although we usually manage cavities by removing the decay, and placing fillings, it’s not always possible. These are some situations that may benefit from the use of SDF:

  • for patients with many cavities that can’t be restored right away
  • when there are behavioural, physical, or medical challenges that may prevent getting other dental procedures done
  • when there are barriers to accessing dental care
  • for cavities that are difficult to treat

Can SDF be applied to all cavities?

SDF is used to control early cavities. SDF is not used for very deep cavities that are close to the innermost layer of the tooth (also known as the pulp), or if the tooth is painful. We also avoid using it where esthetics is a concern. 

Are there any side effects?

The main side effect is that SDF leaves a brown or black stain when it is applied to dental decay. However, it doesn’t stain healthy, sound enamel. 

SDF should not be used on patients with silver allergies, or certain gum and soft tissue conditions.

Is SDF the same as THE fluoride that is Typically applied at the end of cleaning appointments?

No, SDF is different from the topical fluoride treatment you routinely get at dental cleaning appointments. The type of fluoride used at hygiene appointments is mainly aimed at preventing future cavities, not arresting existing ones. That type of fluoride does not leave a stain. 

Still have questions?  Contact Vivant Dental in Surrey today.


It’s never too early to think about your baby’s dental health. These tips will answer some commonly asked questions about caring for the teeth of your little one. 

What should I do if there are only a few teeth, or no teeth yet?

Well before the first tooth comes in, you can establish healthy habits by cleaning your child’s gums with a clean, damp cloth. When the first tooth comes in around the age of 6 months, it’s time to start brushing! Caregivers should use a soft-bristled toothbrush with a small head. Simply wet the bristles and gently brush all tooth surfaces and gums at least twice a day. You may find that brushes with bigger handles are easier to hold. The use of fluoridated toothpaste should be discussed with your dentist, and if recommended, the amount should be no bigger than a grain of rice.  

Should I start flossing baby teeth?

Baby teeth usually come out with spaces between them – you only need to floss places where the teeth are touching. This typically happens around the ages of two to three years when most of the baby teeth have come in. Try flossers with handles if you find yourself struggling with traditional floss! Please note that most children don’t have the ability to brush or floss properly until age six. This is your area to shine! While you’re in the mouth, also lift the lip, and check for any discoloured spots or pitting on the teeth that may indicate decay.

When should I bring my child to the dentist?

The Canadian Dental Association recommends the first visit within 6 months of the first tooth coming in, or by the age of one. In addition to eating, baby teeth serve a crucial role as placeholders for adult teeth. If lost early to decay, other teeth may drift into the space and block the adult teeth from coming in straight. This is why regular dental checkups are important throughout childhood.

The dentists and team Vivant Dental in Surrey provide dental care to children. You can download the toothbrushing chart that Drs. Chow and Bellusci have provided during their presentations to children at early learning centres. We invite you and your little one to visit our child-friendly office!

Want a fun way to for kids to chart tooth brushing? This tooth brushing chart was initially created by our clinic as a learning tool for our preschool dental hygiene presentations.  It’s also a colouring activity!

It’s important for parents and caregivers to know that kids age six and under will require assistance in brushing. We recommend the use of soft bristled toothbrushes. These should be replaced at least every 3-4 months or when the bristles are bent. 

Flossing is also an important part of maintaining good oral health. Flossing should start once your child have two teeth that are in contact with each other. As with brushing, kids age six and under will require assistance. 

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