When should your child have their first dentist appointment? Well, according to the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children should have their first appointment by their first birthday or within six months of their first tooth erupting. Ideally, you should choose the earlier of those two events. Wondering why early dental care is so important? Here’s what you need to know.
Children Have Teeth from Birth
Although baby teeth take a while to erupt, they are actually all in your child’s mouth from the moment they are born. At birth, there are approximately 20 baby teeth in your child’s gums, and typically, by age three, all of these teeth have erupted. Early dental care including a timely dentist appointment in the first year, helps to protect these teeth even before they’ve erupted.
Decay Can Start in Just One Tooth
A baby who has just one or two teeth is one of the cutest things in the world. It’s hard to imagine those teeth decaying, but they can. If the right bacteria is present in your child’s mouth, they are likely to experience decay. In fact, that’s one of the reasons you should never share a toothbrush with your child—that can transfer cavity-causing bacteria from your mouth to theirs.
Baby Teeth Are Space Holders
Many people think that baby teeth aren’t that important because they fall out anyway. While this may seem true at first glance, baby teeth play a very important role in the future health of your child’s mouth. These teeth act as space holders. If they have to be pulled due to decay, your child may end up having crooked teeth as their other teeth shift into those gaps. That can necessitate braces, cause discomfort while chewing, lead to speech issues, or create other problems. Additionally, when someone has a lot of decay in their baby teeth, they are more likely to experience decay as they get older.
Great Dental Habits Start Early
If your child turns one and still doesn’t have any teeth, you should still bring them in for a dental checkup. During this dentist appointment, the dentist can ensure that the baby teeth are present and about to erupt. They can also look over your child’s jaw and soft tissue for any problems, and they can give you tips about dental care for young children.
Also, it’s ideal to get the kids in the chair when they are as young as possible. That gets your child used to having dental care, and it makes them more tolerant of checkups, dental cleanings, and treatments during their toddler and preschool years. Your child’s early dental experiences should be as positive as possible because they set the tone for your child’s future feelings towards dentists, and at our dental clinic, we strive to create that type of experience for every patient but especially our youngest patients.
Is your child ready for their first dentist appointment? It’s time to contact Buckhead Cosmetic and Family Dentistry. We offer a wide range of services to patients of all ages. Call us to set up an appointment today.