Children’s oral health is much more than cartoon character-themed toothbrushes and bubblegum flavored toothpaste. From when a child first starts teething (usually from 6 to 12 months of age) to when they have their first full complement of 20 baby teeth (usually by the time they reach 3 years of age), oral health must be at the forefront of their upbringing. But when exactly should you take your kiddo to visit a children’s dentist? It’s actually quite simple! The first visit should take place when your child’s first tooth appears (or “erupts.”) This is also the time when it’s important to start brushing your child’s tooth. As strange as that may sound, it’s important to get your child started on the right foot.
First Year, First Tooth, First Visit: What to Expect
Children commonly see their first tooth when they reach 6 months of age. As soon as this tooth erupts, it’s time to visit a children’s dentist for the first checkup. This might seem early because after all, there’s not really much to “check up,” right? This first checkup is mostly for the parent to understand how to properly take care of the child’s teeth and overall oral health. A study in The Journal of Pediatrics found that parents of children who have their first dental checkup before the age of 1 generally see 40% lower dental costs in the first five years of their child’s life. This first checkup is the foundation upon which a lifelong need for oral care is built.
In general, children don’t become autonomous until around the ages of 3 through 5. So it’s up to you, the parent, to take care of your child’s oral health. This is why the first dental checkup is so important. Your child’s pediatric dentist will basically give you the tools necessary to keep your child cavity-free. The dentist will demonstrate proper brushing and flossing methods so you can tend to your child’s teeth (or tooth) at home.
Review of Your Child’s Health
The first visit will generally include a review of your child’s health history but it will mostly be a question and answer session between you and the pediatric dentist. Any questions or concerns should be addressed in full. The dentist will also discuss your child’s overall oral health. From development and teething to your child’s bite and oral habits, you and the dentist will discuss everything necessary. Other topics such as risk factors for cavities will also be touched on. Diet and oral hygiene play a major role in getting cavities, especially in young children. Understanding the risk factors will allow you to keep your child’s teeth healthy and cavity free.
The Future of Your Child’s Oral Health
One of the most important things that will be discussed during your visit to the pediatric dentist is proper brushing techniques. This and much more will be discussed during the very first visit to children’s dentist office. But what about subsequent visits?
Now that the first visit is out of the way, it’s time to take your child’s oral health in earnest. Parents should take their children to the pediatric dentist from age 1 until 18 years of age. Throughout those years, your child’s teeth will change and grow. It’s necessary for you to make sure this growth goes as well as possible. X-rays offer great insight into the future trajectory of your child’s teeth. A children’s dentist will be able to look at the teeth’s structure through x-rays. This information will is also helpful in locating and correctly treating cavities. Not only that, but x-rays are perfect for detecting erupting teeth or bone disease. They are also great for treating issues that are not easily identifiable.
Modern x-ray practices greatly reduce radiation exposure and are more focused on the area of interest. This will keep your child safe from any negative consequences all while yielding the most positive results. X-rays are especially important for children because their teeth are growing and changing so rapidly. Although they’re important, x-rays shouldn’t be a part of every regular dental checkup. You should feel confident in knowing that the pediatric dentist will do everything that’s in your child’s best interest. Make sure your child has regular oral health visits every year.
Parents and Children Benefit from Visiting the Children’s Dentist
Oral health is a lifelong journey. As a parent, you have the power to make sure your child starts off on the right path. As they age and as their teeth begin to erupt into the surface of their gums, children must become accustomed to regular brushing, flossing and appropriate eating habits to avoid any cavities or oral health issues. Your child’s pediatric dentist is ready to guide you and your child on this journey towards complete oral health.