The best way to protect your child’s teeth is to teach good oral health habits. Brushing and flossing should be part of your child’s daily routine, starting from a young age. Combined with proper nutrition, at-home dental care can help prevent tooth decay and ward off gum disease.
Regular visits to a pediatric or family dentist are also critical for children of all ages. During these appointments, a dentist will look at your child’s teeth and gums to ensure that they are strong and healthy. A dentist may also suggest a sealant or fluoride to further reduce the risk of decay. Dental exams for children may also include X-rays.
While most parents understand the importance of bringing their child to see a dentist, many are uncertain of the best time to start these visits. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) endorses routine dental visits, suggesting that children see a dentist by one years old or within six months of their first erupted tooth.
Why See a Family Dentist?
Bringing your child to see a family dentist approximately every six months can have countless benefits. Although a child’s pediatrician may address the basics of oral hygiene, most do not perform detailed dental exams. There is no substitute for a professional dental exam performed by an experienced family dentist.
A family dentist that works with children is specifically trained to identify early signs of tooth decay and gum disease. Dentists may also discover other oral health problems that may present a problem as your child grows. Issues such as an overbite, underbite, or acid erosion on the enamel may be observed.
Dentists can also recommend treatments for established oral health problems and suggest options to prevent further damage to your child’s smile. This may include new brushing techniques, specific oral health products, or diet changes that limit the consumption of sugar and increase the number of daily fresh fruits and vegetables.
Early exposure to a family dentist can also build comfort. It is critical to create a positive relationship between your child and dentist early on to minimize fear. Choosing the right dentist for the job can make a big difference in how your child reacts to these visits. Many family dentists use encouraging words and positive rewards when caring for kids.
Scheduling a dental visit for your child within the first year of life can help prevent dental troubles later in life. The risks associated with tooth decay begin as soon as your child’s first tooth erupts. Family dentists team up with parents to closely monitor their children’s oral health over time.
What Can I Expect at the First Visit?
Once you find a dentist that meets your needs, schedule your child’s first visit. The process usually begins with a simple exam of your child’s teeth. The dentist may count your child’s teeth and look for signs of early decay. Your family dentist can also show you how to properly brush and floss your child’s teeth.
The first appointment is the perfect time to ask any questions you may have about your child’s oral health. Discuss any concerns you may have, ask for oral care product recommendations, and talk about your child’s diet and fluoride needs. If any problems are discovered during the visit, your family dentist may recommend a treatment plan.
Kids experience a wide range of dental problems during childhood. Do not hesitate to bring up issues that cause concern. Issues such as bad breath, complaints of sensitive teeth, thumb-sucking, tooth grinding, or canker sores. Your family dentist can also help your child overcome mental or emotion-based oral health problems, such as dental anxiety.
Schedule Your Child’s First Dental Visit
While good dental health and wellness begin at home, your child’s family dentist plays a crucial role in supporting a healthy smile. If your child is over age one and has yet to have their first visit, don’t worry. It is never too late to establish a relationship with a family dentist. Reach out to the friendly and experienced dental team at Bonham Dental today to learn more about our family oral health care services or to schedule your child’s first dentist appointment.