Take your kid to the pediatric dentist. A 2019 survey revealed that 56 percent of parents believe children should go to the dentist after they turn two. This is far from the truth.
A dentist can care for your child far before their second birthday. The risks of not going sooner are extensive, and you need to know how to handle them.
When should a child visit the dentist for the first time? Why is such an early visit so crucial? How can the two of you prepare for the visit?
Answer these questions and your child can have strong dental health through their early years. Here is your quick guide.
When to See a Pediatric Dentist
A baby’s first tooth erupts when they are around six months of age. Their lower incisors come in first, followed by their upper incisors.
You can give the teeth six months to develop. You should then take your child to someone in pediatric dentistry around their first birthday.
Why an Early Visit Is Important
A child can develop tooth decay as soon as their first tooth emerges. Many babies eat foods and drinks that are high in carbohydrates. Sugar can build on the teeth, giving sustenance to bacteria.
Over enough time, bacteria can take shelter inside the gums. This will induce pain and bleeding.
If the bacteria penetrates into the jawline, it can erode the foundation of the teeth. The teeth can fall out, rendering your child unable to speak or eat properly.
Oral habits can also damage the tooth. Thumb sucking can pull the tooth out of the gums and cause it to become crooked.
Fluoride can help a child’s teeth develop. But ingesting too much fluoride can cause fluorosis. A dentist can track your child’s teeth and make sure their fluoride levels are moderate.
Babies may not seem observant. But they can follow along with what adults are doing.
They can learn good tooth hygiene practices from an early age. They can even model how to brush and floss on their stuffed animals or action figures.
How to Prepare Your Child for a Visit
Your child will be nervous about going to the dentist for the first time. Have a conversation with them about it. Tell them what will happen and what they should expect.
If you have a checkup before they do, take your child to it. Watching you having your teeth cleaned will put them at ease.
If you don’t, you can model how a checkup will work. Use a mirror to examine your child’s teeth and demonstrate how brushing happens.
You can find a children’s book or video that explains pediatric dentistry visits. Read or watch it with your child.
Find a dentist who specializes in pediatrics. They have experience working with and talking to children. If you can’t find one, you can take your child to an all-around dentist.
Make sure your child gets plenty of rest the night before. Schedule the visit for the late morning so they have time to wake up and do something they want to do.
How to Prepare Yourself
You may be nervous about bringing your child. Do not panic.
Go online and read about pediatric dentistry. Keep in mind that pediatric dentists receive special training to handle children.
Figure what questions to ask the pediatric dentist. If you have a lot of questions on your mind, give the dentist a call right away. Get a good sense of how much experience they have around children.
Tell the dentist about your child’s personality and favorite things. They may be able to incorporate them into the examination.
If your child is sensitive to light or sound, you should tell that to the dentist. They can adjust the visit so your child remains comfortable.
You will be with your child throughout the visit. Present a calm demeanor in front of them. If they see you are calm, they will calm down.
What You Should Expect During the Visit
You will be going with your child into the examination room. The dentist may ask you a number of questions. Be prepared to give answers on what your child’s oral habits are and how you have been teaching them to clean.
The dentist will use mirrors and lights to look inside your child’s mouth. Your child may become upset by this. You can hold them in order to calm them down.
If your child’s teeth seem stained, the dentist may perform a mild cleaning. They may brush your child’s teeth anyway so they can demonstrate good brushing practices.
After the cleaning, the dentist may apply a fluoride treatment. Some treatments require that the child not eat or drink for a period of time. Ask the dentist if that is the case before leaving.
When the Next Appointment Should Be
At the end of the visit, you will be able to schedule the next appointment. If everything worked well, try to schedule a visit for six months from the first one.
Adhere to the dentist’s advice. Help your child clean their teeth twice a day. Do not feed them sugary beverages that harmful bacteria can feed off of.
If you thought the appointment went badly, try to find another dentist’s office. You should still schedule the second appointment for six months after the first.
You can take your child to the dentist sooner if they have a toothache or severe symptoms. A tooth loss due to trauma is a medical emergency. Take your child to the hospital and give the dentist a call as you are going.
Help Your Child’s Health
You should take your child to the pediatric dentist before their first birthday. This may sound extreme.
But your child can have tooth decay from a very early age. You can begin to teach them oral hygiene, including tooth brushing.
Talk to your child about what they will experience. Demonstrate how a visit works. Have a phone call with their dentist and learn about pediatric dentistry.
Your child will receive a basic cleaning. You can then schedule the next check-up for six months later.
Don’t be in the dark about your child’s health. Follow our coverage for more wellness guides.