Many parents are unsure when to take their child for an initial visit to the dentist. Most don’t see the necessity, either that they don’t believe their child doesn’t have enough teeth yet or they don’t think their child can handle it.
Baby teeth (primary teeth) are important to your child’s overall health. Having healthy primary teeth allows your child to chew properly thus receiving adequate nutrition from different types of food. As well having healthy teeth allows your child to develop proper speech patterns.
WHEN SHOULD YOU TAKE YOUR BABY TO THE DENTIST?
While your baby’s teeth may look healthy, there may exist underlying problems that a dental visit might the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that a child should visit the dentist by age 1 or within 6 months after their first tooth surfaces.
If you notice any of the following signs take your child in for a visit:
- Toothache: Your baby may not be able to verbalize their pain to you, but if you notice they are in constant distress, a toothache may be the reason.
- Lip sucking: Constant lip sucking could be a sign of abnormal alignment of their teeth. A dentist can condition your child to break this habit naturally, so it doesn’t create more serious issues down the road.
- Abnormal gums: Swollen, red, or bleeding gums are indicative of plaque buildup that needs attention as soon as possible.
- Tooth discoloration: Discolored teeth may lead to tooth decay if not treated efficiently.
PREPARING FOR YOUR BABY’S FIRST DENTAL VISIT
Your baby’s first dental visit can be intimidating for both you and your older child. There are several ways to prepare for their impending appointment:
- Familiarize: Take your child with you to your own dentist appointment. Let them become familiar with the environment of an office and see there’s nothing to fear!
- Openness: Go over with your child what they should expect. Answer any questions they have honestly.
- Practice Examination: Examine your child’s teeth and let them examine yours. Doing so helps them become comfortable with the idea of a real dental examination.
WHAT TO EXPECT AT YOUR BABY’S FIRST DENTAL VISIT
At the dentist’s office, a hygienist will allow your child to get comfortable with the office surroundings. Your child may sit on your lap if they don’t want to sit on their own. Once comfortable, a dentist will:
- Look at your child’s teeth and gums for any signs of tooth decay.
- Examine your child’s jaw and bite to diagnose issues that may affect speech patterns.
- Talk to you about the best diet and oral hygiene habits for your child to follow.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOUR CHILD VISIT THE DENTIST?
A baby’s first dental visit sets a precedent for their future oral health. After the first visit, you should take them to regularly scheduled appointments. Just like adults, toddlers should ideally come in for a visit every 6 months. This allows professionals like us to keep their teeth clean and cavity-free and catch any issues early.
If you have been considering taking your child in for a visit, set up a consultation with Dr. Soto today. Call our office at 562-923-7799 or book an appointment using are easy-to-use form on this website.