As parents, we go to great lengths to protect our children, and safeguarding their teeth should be no different. Because of the sensitivity and thinness of baby enamel, tooth decay can spread quicker than you realize. It is best to develop a relationship with a pediatric dentist that you trust to prevent it from happening or catch it early if it does.
When a Child Should Have Their First Dental Appointment
The time to visit the dentist varies depending on when their adorable little teeth start moving through their gums. Many dentists recommend to schedule their first dental appointment right after their first birthday or when their first tooth comes in, whichever comes first. Having a clear understanding of what is going on with your child’s oral hygiene and how you can improve is vital for their overall health.
How Often Does My Child Need to Go to the Dentist?
The experts say every six months is best for the child. It may seem like a hassle to go so often, but a cavity can easily form in between visits, and since most cavities form between baby teeth, you might not detect any issues during your nightly dental ritual. Children who are at a higher risk for cavities may visit the dentist more often, as much as every three months for preventative visits.
Why So Often?
These are some of the reasons to keep up those visits for years to come:
Prevention Is Better (and Cheaper) Than a Cure
Prevention is your best friend. It is going to save you time, money, and stress. Going for their check-ups is critical in catching the drama early to help you out. Things can happen to our children in the blink of an eye. Tooth decay and the pain that comes with it is scary but preventable. The pediatric dentist is a link in the chain of preventative care along with nutrition and hygienic practices.
To Build a Rapport With the Doctor
It is also good to have your child visit often so that they do not develop a fear of the dentist. When they are little, they are more open to new and sometimes uncomfortable experiences. As they get older, it can be difficult for them to cope with the mere thought of going to the dentist to fix their teeth and stop the pain. Generally, preventive visits are positive experiences for children.
To Promote Healthy Permanent Teeth
Their baby teeth will fall out, but they are still crucial for the health and condition of the permanent teeth as they come in. Worst case scenario is that an abscess forms and could damage the incoming tooth, or cause serious infection. Baby teeth also allow your child to eat, speak, develop the jaws, and hold space for adult teeth. The dentist works to catch any issues before they become a problem as well as promote healthy development as new teeth come in.
Do the research you need to keep yourself prepared for any issues. As parents, we are very busy with making a living and feeding their bottomless stomachs, but it’s the job we signed up for. Protecting their bones and teeth is no different.
Bio: Dr. Jarod Johnson of Arctic Dental, a provider of pediatric dentistry in Muscatine, is committed to the care of family oral health with an emphasis on children from birth through adolescence.