Tooth decay is the single most common chronic childhood disease and yet 90% of it is preventable! The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests a child see a dentist by their first birthday, yet this rarely happens. Our goal is to educate parents and patients so that they start regular dental visits early. To help in this effort, we have decided to remove as many barriers as possible so that parents and caregivers can bring their child/children to the dentist for the first time at an appropriate age, which is why we started a campaign in January 2009 called First Smiles.
First Smiles allows the first visit of any child under age 2 to be seen absolutely FREE OF CHARGE! This initial visit includes a cleaning and fluoride treatment (behavior permitting), x-rays (if needed), and a comprehensive exam. We also give the parents a “dental toothprint” which provides DNA via saliva and an impression of the child’s teeth. We certainly hope this “toothprint” would never be needed, however, we do feel it is important for parents to have should an emergency arise.
Most importantly, this visit allows us the opportunity to talk with families about tooth development, nutrition, hygiene and what to expect in the months/years ahead.
Below are some startling statistics:
- Caries (dental decay) is the most common childhood illness – FIVE times more common than asthma.
- 28% of ALL preschoolers between the ages of 2 and 5 already have a cavity!
- Six million school hours are lost each year due to teeth-related issues.