When should I start taking my child to the dentist?
Being a new parent means learning a lot of new information. Kids don’t come with instruction manuals and with every stage more questions arise. Oral health and dental care is no exception. Parents often ask us, “When should I start taking my child to the dentist?”.
Many people think that a child doesn’t need a dentist until after all their teeth have come in, and some even wait until their adult has replaced their milk teeth.
Most dentists, however, will recommend parents bring their children in much (much) earlier. Once a few teeth have solidly broken through the gums, it’s a good time to ring up your dentist to set up their first appointment. This is usually between the ages of one to two years old.
This might seem young to new parents just getting the hang of things. Fear not, it won’t be the type of appointment adults are used to. At this stage, it’s all about prevention and building positive lifelong oral care habits. Getting a child used to the dentist chair and familiar with a dentist office and staff will make dentist appointments so much easier in the future.
Start Child Dental File
The other very important component to early dentist appointments is that it allows the dentist to begin building a file. The younger a person can start their dental file, the better it will be in the future should problems arise. Having a long record will enable the dentist to look back to the beginning. A dentist will be able to see where decay began, for example.
A parent needn’t be worried that a dentist is going to start treating toddlers or doing anything overly serious or invasive. But the dentist will do an examination, looking for abnormal decay or any irregularities. The child’s gums, jaws and bite alignment will also undergo inspection, in order to identify any issues that could affect speech development.
It’s also good for parents to build a rapport with their child’s dentist so that they are comfortable asking questions as they arise. Things like: how to properly brush a child’s teeth? or what to do when teeth become loose? No question is too big or too small and dentists are happy to help.
After the initial visit, you will like to be encouraged to bring the child back every six months for regular check-ups. It might take a few appointments for children to become comfortable going to their appointments, so expect having to accompany your child and encourage them to follow directions. We have seen that with the right support and relaxed environments, children can learn to love the dentist.
Understanding the importance of oral health at a young age will have lasting effects that will carry on through a person’s life. Teeth are kind of like cars, in that if there is a problem, they don’t fix themselves. However, much like cars, proper maintenance and prevention means that there will be fewer problems to deal with. And catching them early on will mean that they are easier to fix.
Most dentists love working with children, and the younger they come in, the better it is to build relationships and build strong habits that lead to long lasting oral health. Check our pediatric dentistry services. We hope to see you (and your child!) soon.