An alarming amount of parents believe that because baby teeth will eventually fall out, that it’s not necessary to visit the dentist for checkups until they are older, or worse, until an issue arrives. Most children’s dentists will recommend you schedule that first visit within 6 months of the first tooth eruption. The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that a child’s first visit should be when the first tooth erupts in the mouth, no later than age one to two. We personally recommend an initial visit before the first birthday. Yes baby teeth will fall out, but those permanent adult teeth are forming below the surface and it is important for a dentist to check that they are developing normally. It is also a great opportunity for parents to learn about preventative care for their children to implement healthy dental habits as early as possible. The more comfortable your child feels at the dentist, the more likely they are to continue seeing a dentist through their adult years.
Although any dentist is capable of addressing the oral needs for your little one, we recommend you find a pediatric dentist you are comfortable with. A Pediatric dentist has additional schooling that specifically focuses on eruption of children’s teeth, their behavior and the development of teeth. A Pediatric dental office will also have a much friendlier environment for a child including toys, stuffed animals for demonstration purposes, games and other elements to make their experience with the dentist a positive one.
What to expect at your child’s first check up
The main objective of that first dental visit is to get your child comfortable with the dentist and to educate mom or dad along with answering your questions. You can expect your pediatric dentist to go over things such as bottle tooth decay, teething, pacifier and thumb sucking habits and more. A quick examination will be done to look for any decay, check the gums, jaw and bite or any other issues that could affect teeth or speech patterns. It is important to identify any problems as early on as possible to allow for the most consertative treatments.
Young children should see the dentist every 6 months after that initial visit to continue familiarizing them with the environment and taking further steps to set the stage for lifelong oral health habits. As your child gets older, your pediatric dentist will take an initiative as an educator in addition to their dentist to refine those skills you’ve been working on at home. It is important for children to learn the basics of flossing, brushing, and overall oral hygiene.
If you are looking for a pediatric dentist, we would love to schedule a visit to go over any questions you may have. Maestri Dental strives to surpass parental expectations and ensure our youngest patients enjoy coming to see us. We want all of our patients, regardless of age, to feel like an active participant in their oral health.