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At what age should I take my child to the dentist?

By October 10, 2021December 10th, 2021No Comments
pediatric dentistry

At what age should I take my child to the dentist?

Your little ones have plenty of milestones they hit by the time they have their first birthday – and their first dental checkup should be one of them. Your baby’s first teeth can begin emerging at 6 months old, occasionally even sooner – so their first dental appointment shouldn’t be far behind.

Why so early?

As soon as your baby has teeth, he or she is susceptible to cavities and gum or tooth decay – mainly due to bottles, feeding at night, and lack of brushing or cleaning gums. Introducing them to the dentist early on can also ensure that their teeth are erupting and developing properly. According to the American Association of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD), it is very important to keep primary (or “baby”) teeth in place until they are lost naturally.

The primary teeth are important for many reasons including:

  • Helping children chew properly to maintain good nutrition.
  • Involvement in speech development.
  • Helping save space for permanent teeth.
  • Promoting a healthy smile that helps children feel good about the way they look

Tooth decay is also the most common childhood disease, yet it is almost always entirely preventable. The  AAPD also says that tooth decay affects nearly 1 in 5 children under 5. Many times, parents bring their children in for their first appointment at around age 3-4 years old, with cavities or tooth decay that could have been prevented with routine checkups.

What happens at their first dental appointment?

Our doctors and staff take extra care to make sure your child’s first visit is comfortable, stress-free and enjoyable. At your child’s dental appointment, one of our caring hygienists will:

  • Examine and clean your baby’s teeth
  • Show you how to play a role in properly cleaning your baby’s teeth (we know it’s not always easy with those tiny little mouths!)
  • Discuss diet and fluoride needs
  • Recommend oral care products.

After this, your dentist will join you and your baby. We will examine your baby’s mouth closely to check for any tooth decay and share any concerns they may have regarding your baby’s oral development. We’re also there to answer all of your questions regarding your baby’s teeth and oral development.

At your child’s first dental appointment, we may conduct what we call a “knee-to-knee exam.” This way, your child will be sitting or lying in your lap as we go through their oral checkup and can make your child feel even more comfortable. Your baby’s visit will conclude by us providing a patient dental health bag, complete with a specially-sized infant or toddler toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss.

It’s important to start your baby’s dental appointments early, in order to track changes as they age and stay on top of possible issues later on. At Shemen Dental Group, we’re happy to treat patients of all ages, even your little ones! Whether you are new to the Amarillo area or simply need to establish ongoing care with a dentist, we are here to help your entire family experience the many benefits of outstanding oral health. Contact us today!