Today, pediatric dentists recommend that children see the dentist when their first tooth erupts, ideally by 12 months. This new guideline may take some parents by surprise, and they may wonder why a child with only one or two teeth needs a dental appointment.
The benefits of early pediatric dental care are clear. This blog will explain the benefits of bringing your child to the dentist early and how it can impact their oral health into adulthood.
Benefits of Early Dental Care
Bringing your child to the dentist as an infant or young toddler can provide a foundation for positive oral health outcomes. The following are just a few of the benefits of early care:
Building Trusting Relationships
When your child meets the dentist at an early age, they may be shy but will gain confidence at each visit. They will become accustomed to the sights and sounds of the dentist's office, building strong relationships with the dentist and their care team.
Assess Early Development
When a baby's first teeth emerge, a pediatric dentist can track their development. They can determine whether the child is developing normally or whether intervention may be needed later.
Detect Problems at Early Stages
If the dentist determines a child is at a greater risk of tooth decay or other issues, they can put an early watch on these conditions. Early detection and treatment saves time and costs less in the long run.
Provide Home Care Instruction
Oral care instruction for parents, and later for the child, can lead to better health outcomes. Learning proper brushing and flossing techniques is a life skill that will continue to provide benefits.
Less Dental Anxiety Later in Life
Children who see a pediatric dentist are less likely to develop dental fear and anxiety. Pediatric dentists receive special training to calm, distract, and reassure young patients. They build and outfit their offices with children first in mind. They also make each visit fun and engaging.
What to Expect At Your Child's First Visit
Your baby's first appointment is a gentle introduction to dental care. Your child's dentist will check their first primary teeth and determine whether they need additional care. They will then provide home care instruction.
At each appointment, the dentist will add more age-appropriate care to the visit, including cleanings and X-rays.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pediatric Dentistry
How often should my child see the dentist?
Most pediatric dentists recommend that children see the dentist for a cleaning and exam every six months.
Is fluoride safe for kids?
Fluoride is a safe and naturally occurring mineral that can harden tooth enamel and help to prevent decay. It is safe to use a tiny amount of children's fluoride toothpaste as soon as a baby's first tooth erupts.
Call Tender Smiles 4 Kids
Parents who care for their children's teeth at an early age are setting them up for a lifetime of healthy smiles. Please contact us at one of our five New Jersey offices to schedule an appointment.