When your child gets accustomed to seeing a dentist at a young age, it goes a long way toward building a lifetime of good oral health. We recommend that children be evaluated by a dentist no later than their first birthday and continue to get follow-up professional care routinely after that. Parents who choose a dentist that specializes in treating children will gain a number of benefits. Dentists specialize in calming the fears of young patients and using gentle techniques so that the child is reassured when in the dentist’s office. The American Dental Association recommends a child’s first dental visit should occur within six months after the baby’s first tooth appears, but no later than the child’s first birthday.
Pediatric dental care involves many aspects and begins as soon as the first tooth erupts. In fact, parents should be taking care to keep their children’s gums clean even before then, but a child should be evaluated in a professional setting around the time that the first tooth emerges through the gum tissue. This helps to establish a baseline from which the dentist can assess any developments that occur.
Additionally, having your child established with a dental practice at an early age gives you the opportunity to ask for any information that you may need in order to promote optimal oral health in your child. This includes topics such as dental hygiene for young children and preventive treatments like fluoride and dental sealants. You may also wish for additional guidance on when to transition oral hygiene responsibilities to your child or need an expert’s opinion on certain aspects of oral health in children.
Furthermore, as your child gets older, the dentist can monitor the development of the smile for issues like premature or postponed eruption of the permanent teeth, tooth decay (which is actually the most common childhood illness) and atypical growth patterns in the jaws. These issues can be treated promptly when a dentist is regularly monitoring your child’s smile with semi-annual exams, and the dentist can make any necessary specialist referrals in a timely fashion.
Would you like more information about our experience working with pediatric dental patients and our approach to making them as calm and comfortable as possible while in our care? Feel free to call and speak to one of our friendly staff members to ask any questions you may have about this component of our practice.