Early dental care for your child can help them establish a proper oral care routine that prevents many dental diseases and infections later on in their childhood. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists recommends that all children see a dentist by their first birthday, or when their first teeth erupt, whichever comes first. By the time a child is 3 or 4 years of age, they may already have developed large areas of tooth decay or abscesses that could have been prevented. Early dental disease sets the tone for the rest of their dental health, and can damage their developing permanent teeth.
Your child’s first visit will most likely be relaxed and a chance for them to explore the office, meet the staff, and understand what goes on during a dental exam. Most of the appointment will probably just include talking between the dental provider, the parent and the child. The actual exam (or even cleaning and x-rays if the child is willing) will only take a few minutes.
Most children enjoy trying on a pair of gloves, holding the dental mirror, and pretending to be the dentist! At recurrent visits, the child will learn to go back for treatment like a big kid, and have preventive procedures performed while their parent relaxes in the reception area. Even children that are very apprehensive typically tend to be very cooperative when they are given the chance to independently “go to the dentist” on their own. However, the parent is welcome at any time to check on their child or stay with their child if they like.
If you’ve waited a little longer than what is recommended, don’t worry! It’s never too late to catch up on your child’s dental care.
Posted on behalf of Grateful Dental
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