When Should You Start Taking Your Children To The Pediatric Dentist?

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Disclaimer: I was not compensated for this post about the Pediatric Dentist. All opinions are 100% are my own.                            

WHEN WILL MY CHILD’S TEETH EMERGE?

Children dental chart

The Pediatric Dentist is fun and informative! The American Dental Association states that a baby’s primary teeth will begin to emerge through the gums between 6-8 months. Hence, during this time it is important to begin the steps towards good dental hygiene.

The first visit should be about six months after the baby teeth start appearing in the gums or when you child turns 1 years old (whichever comes first). However, there are rare occasions when the child may have an issue with their teeth that may require an earlier visit.  

PREVENTING TOOTH DECAY AT AN EARLY AGE

Dr. White, DMD reported that one serious form of decay among young children is baby bottle tooth decay. This condition is caused by frequent and long exposures of an infant’s teeth to liquids that contain sugar. Among these liquids are milk (including breast milk), formula, fruit juice and other sweetened drinks. 

Putting a baby to bed for a nap or at night with a bottle other than water can cause serious and rapid tooth decay. Sweet liquid pools around the child’s teeth giving plaque bacteria an opportunity to produce acids that attack tooth enamel. If you must give the baby a bottle as a comforter at bedtime, it should contain only water. If your child won’t fall asleep without the bottle and its usual beverage, gradually dilute the bottle’s contents with water over a period of two to three weeks.

After each feeding, wipe the baby’s gums and teeth with a damp washcloth or gauze pad to remove plaque. The easiest way to do this is to sit down, place the child’s head in your lap or lay the child on a dressing table or the floor. Whatever position you use, be sure you can see into the child’s mouth easily.

Another concern is the over utilization of the sippy cups which should be used as a training tool from the bottle to a cup and should be discontinued by the first birthday. If your child uses a sippy cup throughout the day, fill the sippy cup with water only (except at mealtimes). By filling the sippy cup with liquids that contain sugar (including milk, fruit juice, sports drinks, etc.) and allowing a child to drink from it throughout the day, it soaks the child’s teeth in cavity causing bacteria.

WHAT TO EXPECT AT THE PEDIATRIC DENTIST

Your child will go through many firsts in their life which includes baby’s first dentist visit. This is an exciting and perhaps a bit trying time for you and your child as they begin to sprout their first teeth. However, the child’s first pediatric dentist visit will begin a relationship that will last with them for the rest of their lives.

CHILD’S FIRST DENTAL VISIT

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommend locating a pediatric dentist for your child by the age of one.                                                                                         

I began taking my precious son to his first dental appointment by six months, so that we could start developing a good experience going to the dentist early. When I was a child the fear was real, because I did not start going until I had a cavity. I did not want my son to have the same experiences.

THE FIRST EXAMINATION WITH THE PEDIATRIC DENTIST

The first visit is more of an introduction to the dentist with little more than a quick examination. The main purpose of the visit is really to introduce the dentist to the child in a friendly, non-threatening manner which will establish a positive bond. In many cases, the baby will sit in the lap of the dentist during the exam. There may also be a time in which the parent can leave the room for the dentist and child to bond more effectively so that the next visit will be a more pleasant one.

The exam itself will entail that the baby’s teeth will be looked over for any signs of decay. However, the most important part will be the examination of the child’s bite to see if there are any issues with the jaw or gums as well as any other tissues in the mouth. In some cases, there may be a gentle cleaning of the teeth and an assessment if fluoride is needed to help in creating stronger baby teeth.

WHAT FOLLOWS THE EXAM

The final part of a child’s first dental visit mostly centers on discussing proper dental hygiene for the baby and whether fluoride will be needed to help strengthen their teeth. Once the report of the exam is finished, parents are educated on how they can help take care of their child’s teeth by brushing and flossing until the child can develop the motor skills to do that for themselves.

WHAT QUESTIONS TO ASK?

Once the baby’s first dental visit is over, the dentist answers any questions that parents may have. Quite often, parents will have relatively few questions when the examination starts, but during the discussion afterwards some natural questions will arise.

Fun at the Pediatric Dentist

There are some basic questions that you should ask the dentist unless the topics come up in the discussion which includes the following:

  • Thumb and lip sucking 
  • Cavity prevention 
  • Teething 
  • Milestones in teeth development 
  • Best nutrition for the child 
  • Setting a schedule for further exams

Most dentists will want to see the child every six months to build up a healthy relationship and trust with them. Plus, the frequency of the visits will help the dentist spot any issues with the baby teeth in the early stages. In this manner, your child’s first dental visit will be a success.

HOW TO MAKE YOUR PEDIATRIC DENTIST VISIT FUN

You can make your child’s first visit an enjoyable experience by doing the following:

The Tooth Book by Dr. Seuss
  • Exploring fun books about visits to the dentist 
  • If your child is older watch a video on a fun visit to the dentist 
  • Engage in arts and crafts relating to teeth to further instill the joy of going to the dentist and the importance of dental care

It happened to be Dr. Seuss week at my son’s school, so we incorporated going to the dentist by reading Dr. Seuss books and all the stories about teeth.  

I am glad I started early taking my son to the dentist because now he associates the dentist as a good experience and because of the close monitoring he has had no CAVITIES! 

Lake Mary Pediatric Dentistry

MEET THE STAFF

Dr. White and his staff at Lake Mary Pediatric Dentistry have been a great team in helping to teach my son the importance of good oral care and to know the importance of taking care of our teeth in a fun and interesting way for a child to understand.      

Continue the fun by reading the exciting book The Tooth Book by Dr. Seuss to further spark the love of Dental Care in your children.

Lake Mary Pediatric Dentistry

974 International Pkwy, Lake Mary, FL 32746  

References: 

www.ada.org/ 

www.lakemarypediatricdentistry.com/ 

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