The beginning of your child’s life is filled with all kinds of special firsts: first time rolling over, sitting up, walking, talking, and countless other events. One first that you definitely shouldn’t overlook is your child’s first dental appointment with a kid’s dentist. Here’s what you need to know to prepare.
When Should Children First Visit a Kid’s Dentist?
Many people don’t bring their child in to the dentist until they are three, four, or even five, but ideally, you should schedule an appointment with a kid’s dentist long before these ages. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children should have their first dental appointment by their first birthday or within six months after their first tooth erupts.
How Do You Prepare for Your Child’s First Dental Appointment?
Ideally, you should start preparing your child for their first appointment with a kid’s dentist soon after they are born. In particular, you should get your child used to having people examine their mouth and clean their gums. After feeding your infant, wipe their gums with a clean piece of gauze. This helps to keep your child’s mouth clean and free of bacteria, but it also helps your newborn to acclimate to the entire idea of dental care.
Before the appointment, you may want to prepare your child. If they are used to going to a pediatrician, you may want to tell them that they are going to a “mouth doctor”. Then, you may want to act through the process by doing a play exam, so your child knows what to expect.
Why Is Infant Dental Care So Important?
Dental care for someone who doesn’t have teeth may seem counterintuitive, but it’s actually very important. As indicated above, early dental care helps your child get used to brushing. If you wait until your child is a headstrong toddler, they may be less willing to tolerate a toothbrush. Similarly, if your dentist is the first person to ever look in your child’s mouth, they may resist the experience.
As your child starts to get their baby teeth, it’s critical to take care of those teeth with preventative dental care. If primary teeth aren’t healthy or if they have to be extracted due to decay, your child may not be able to chew their food adequately, and that can lead to nutrition issues. Additionally, missing primary teeth can cause issues with speech development as well as long-term issues with your child’s bite.
Do Babies and Toddlers Get Cavities?
In a lot of cases, your child’s first appointment will be uneventful, and your child will be cavity free. However, many children suffer from cavities at a young age. In fact, nearly half of all children get cavities in their baby teeth. By taking your child to a kid’s dentist you ensure that you find decay, cavities, or other issues as soon as possible. Treating these issues before they spread is essential for your child’s long-term dental health.
To set up an appointment with a kid’s dentist, contact Buckhead Cosmetic and Family Dentistry today. We are a new dentist located in the Buckhead district of Atlanta.