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?
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 your 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 allowing plaque bacteria 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, gradually dilute the bottle’s content for 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 is to sit down, placing the child’s head on your lap or flat surface. Whatever position you use, be sure you can see into the child’s mouth easily.
Another concern is the over-utilization of sippy cups. These should be used as training tools for transitioning from the bottle to a cup. However, they should discontinue by their 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, the dentist included. 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 at 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 purpose of the visit is to introduce the dentist to the child in a friendly, non-threatening manner, which will establish a positive bond. In many cases, the baby sits in the dentist’s lap during the exam. There may also be a time when 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 entails the baby’s teeth being checked for any signs of decay. However, the most important part will be the examination is of the child’s bite. This determines if there are any issues with the jaw, gums, or 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 create 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 exam report is finished, parents are educated on how to care for 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, parent have relatively few questions when the examination starts, but afterward, questions naturally arise.
There are some basic questions that you should ask the dentist unless the topics come up in the conversation, include the following:
- Thumb and lip sucking
- Cavity prevention
- Milestones in teeth development
- The best nutrition for the child
- Setting a schedule for further exams
Most dentists prefer to see the child every six months to build a healthy relationship. Plus, the frequency of the visits will help the dentist spot any issues within 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:
- 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 instill the joy of going to the dentist and the importance of dental care
It happened to be Dr. Seuss’s week at my son’s school, so we incorporated going to the dentist by reading Dr. Seuss’s books and all the stories about teeth.
I am glad I started taking my son early to the dentist because now he associates the dentist with a good experience. Since the visits provided close monitoring, he has had no CAVITIES!
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 unique way for a child to understand.
Continue the fun by reading the exciting book The Tooth Book by Dr. Seuss to spark the love of dental care in your children.
974 International Pkwy, Lake Mary, FL 32746