It’s never too early to begin caring for your baby’s teeth. Taking your baby to the dentist within the first year is an important step to ensuring that your baby’s sweet grin stays healthy. Yes, all baby teeth fall out, but routine dental exams promote a healthy mouth from the very start. Some parents take their child to a pediatric dentist who specializes in only treating those under 18 years of age. However, many parents feel comfortable and confident in their own family dentists and choose to take their child with them. Which ever you feel comfortable with is fine – it’s just important that you take your child.
While many children do not have a specific need for dental care at a very young age, allowing your child to become comfortable in the dental office and with the dentist can go a long way for future appointments. Dentists like to build relationships with their patients and their teeth. As a dentist watches your mouth from visit to visit, s/he will also watch your child’s mouth as it develops. By routinely checking the mouth, your dentist will be able to catch any sort of problem or issue very quickly. Catching a problem in its early stages can mean much less treatment for your child, which will, in turn, keep a positive outlook on future dental visits.
At a child’s first dental exam, the dentist will check all of the teeth that have already come in for decay. The dentist will also check the child’s bite and look for any potential problems with the jaw, gums, and oral tissues. This is all that is typically done at a baby’s first dental exam. The purpose for this is to keep the appointment quick, painless, and to establish the relationship between the child and the dentist. Parents will also discuss with the dentist good oral hygiene practices to use at home, oral habits (e.g. thumb sucking, pacifier use, tongue thrusting, etc), proper nutrition, and developmental milestones.
Just as with adults, dentists like to see their child patients every six months. Again, this keeps the dentist/patient relationship strong, and it also helps to ensure proper oral health. If you have not already, call your dentist to schedule your baby’s first dental exam. The sooner, the better.
Posted on behalf of Dr. Hye Park
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