When Should I Take My Baby to the Dentist for the First Time?
Contrary to what many people may believe, baby teeth are extremely important and should be taken good care of! In fact, baby teeth typically set the standard for the adult (permanent) teeth later in life. Therefore, if the baby teeth have a successful track record, it is more than likely that the adult teeth will be healthy too. So, given this information, when is it appropriate to take your baby to the dentist for the first time?
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a child should see a dentist by the time the first tooth erupts in the mouth, but no later than his or her first birthday. Frankly, tooth decay is capable of occurring by the time the first tooth erupts, which can increase the risk of decay for the adult teeth. If the decay is severe enough, it could potentially even cause harm to overall health since dental health and overall health are so closely related to one another. When looking for a premier dental practice look no further than the Raleigh, NC dentists at Lane and Associates.
Primarily, as a parent, you should be conscious during the “teething” period of your baby’s life and schedule a visit with a pediatric dentist as soon as you see a tooth! Postponing your child’s visit with the dentist could potentially lead to more serious dental issues or emergency dental visits.
The Importance of the First Visit:
Your child’s first visit with the dentist is ultimately the most important. For starters, it really sets the standard for future dental visits and familiarizes your child with the environment of the dental office. During this visit, both you and your child will become familiar with the staff and dentist so that you can build trust with one another. The trust that is built between the patient and staff is so important because it can help to create a positive relationship taking the “fear” or “anxiety” away that can sometimes come with a dental visit.
Additionally, the first visit allows the dentist to conduct a thorough examination of your child’s mouth. He or she will check the teeth, gums, bite, jaw and speech to make certain that there are no concerns and that your child is in good dental standing. In some cases, the teeth or development of the mouth can affect speech, so the dentist may ask questions about your child’s speech habits. Lastly, the first visit allows you as the parent to bring any initial questions that you have with you to the dentist. It may be helpful to bring a list of questions or as the visit progresses remember to bring up any questions or concerns with the dentist as they arise. It is likely that the dentist will also provide any helpful information on how to care for your child’s teeth and practice positive oral hygiene habits at home.
After the First Visit:
Once you have a successful first visit at the dentist, you will most likely be asked to come back to the dental office for another appointment in six months, unless any dental issue arises. At the second visit, the dentist may introduce more tools or treatments into the mix depending on what was introduced to your child during the first visit and how well of a response that was given. For instance, the dentist may decide to count your child’s teeth or see what certain tools may feel like. Specifically, this works well with the air-water syringe! The dentist may blow a little bit of air on your child’s hand before blowing air on a tooth, just so your child can feel more comfortable and aware of what may be going on.
Any future visits after the second visit may be built upon the next. So, as time progresses and your child is more comfortable in the dental chair more treatments may be performed. Generally, at around three years old, you can expect for your child to have a full dental appointment if they are up for it and have had good experiences in the past!
Recommended Care for At-Home During Your Baby’s First Year:
Since at-home care is so crucial for our little one’s and their teeth we recommend some tips provided by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry to create a positive outcome!