Visiting a pediatric dentistry office with your child ensures his or her future relationship with oral hygiene and dentists, in general. Whenever your child suffers from oral injuries, consider making an appointment with your pediatric dentist to uncover any underlying problems. For instance, injuries to the tongue and teeth could indicate a deeper jaw or…
Your Child’s First Visit to a Pediatric Dentist
A child's first visit to the pediatric dentist may be tempting to postpone, but it should not be delayed. Read on to learn about the importance of dental checkups. Starting at the recommended age can keep a child's teeth healthy while laying the foundations for a lifetime of proper care.
What happens during a child's first visit to a pediatric dentist?
Regular dental checkups should start at a young age. This beneficial practice can prevent unnecessary oral health issues as a baby as well as later in life.
Baby teeth play an important role in long-term oral health. The recommendation of the American Dental Association is to schedule the first dental appointment within six months of the first tooth erupting, and no later than the age of 1. From then on, checkups and cleanings should be scheduled once every six months.
The benefits of seeing a pediatric dentist
Home care is crucial for cavity prevention but it is not enough on its own. Professional cleanings and checkups are essential because they provide:
- A more detailed, thorough clean
- Diagnosis and treatment of any potential tooth decay or gum disease
- Options for additional cavity protection during childhood, including fluoride treatments and dental sealants
- Early detection of development and alignment issues
- Important instruction and planning for parents
Without these helpful benefits at an early age, children could experience a host of issues, from severe decay and tooth loss to speech issues, digestive problems, and major alignment concerns.
What to expect during the appointment
The first visit with a pediatric dentist is usually simple. Still, parents and children alike should start preparing with picture books, songs, and shows that introduce kids to the basics of a dental office.
The first visit
Around age 1, the dentist conducts a visual exam and a simple cleaning using a soft toothbrush. Most of the time, the baby lays across the parent's lap on a mat so the dentist can easily access the teeth. The dentist can also use this time to discuss eating habits, home care, and strategies for handling things like transitioning from a bottle or finger-sucking.
The baby and toddler years
For the first year or two, dental checkups continue to look very similar. Flossing is eventually added to cleanings and the pediatric dentist may recommend fluoride treatments to strengthen enamel. If pacifier use or finger-sucking continues into age 3 or 4, intervention may be needed to prevent alignment and development issues.
Once children reach the age of 4, they have often become more comfortable with visits to the dentist's office. At this age, checkups and cleanings start to look more like adult appointments. The child typically sits in the examination chair and the dentist uses tools and instruments to clean and scale the teeth and inspect the gums. X-rays may be performed if there are concerns about decay, infection, or tooth development.
Pediatric dentistry FAQs
The following are the answers to some commonly asked questions about pediatric dentistry:
How often should my child see the pediatric dentist?
Pediatric dentistry visits are recommended once every four to six months for most children. This is, of course, the same as it is for teenagers and adults. More frequent visits may be recommended when treating certain oral health concerns or during orthodontic (or early orthodontic) care.
How can I help prevent (and alleviate) dental anxiety for my child?
You can help your child avoid dental anxiety by creating positive associations with visiting the dentist, such as taking them to a movie after their visits. Of course, when your child is still an infant or toddler, it is imperative to also visit a pediatric dentist that is friendly, has a friendly staff, and understands how to communicate well with younger patients.
What can I do between dental visits to care for my child’s teeth?
The majority of caring for your child’s teeth happens between visits to the pediatric dentist. Your pediatric dentist can work with you to develop a healthy oral care routine for your child, which should include properly and regularly brushing teeth, flossing, avoiding dental trauma (e.g., wearing a mouthguard), and making smart dietary choices.
Ready to schedule your child's first appointment?
The first visit to the pediatric dentist should happen around age 1, once baby teeth start to grow in. Professional care is important during this time because it can help prevent decay and damage while setting a child up for success in dental and overall health.
Check out what others are saying about our dental services on Yelp: Pediatric Dentist in Richmond, TX.
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