Your child’s oral health is essential to their overall well-being. Unfortunately, almost 28% of children under five have cavities or some level of tooth decay. Cavities in the primary teeth can be painful and even affect your child’s adult teeth before they erupt.
Untreated tooth decay and cavities can lead to an infection in the teeth, gums, or even the jaw. Practicing good oral hygiene, including annual dental checkups, can keep teeth and the surrounding tissue healthy.
Dental Fears in Young Children
Children aren’t naturally afraid of the dentist, but they can experience nerves with new situations, places, or people. Despite this normal fear, children’s dentistry is essential. Instead of avoiding the dentist, you can help your child become comfortable during the visit.
Before your child’s appointment, “play” dentist by asking them to open their mouth and talking to them about what they should expect. Even though infants won’t understand what is being said, they’ll get accustomed to opening their mouths for their children’s dental appointment.
When To Make the First Appointment for Your Child
You should make a baby’s first dental appointment once their first tooth has erupted through the gums. At the latest, a baby should visit the dentist before their first birthday.
Most babies will get their first tooth at around six months. Some babies begin cutting their primary teeth as early as four months, while others don’t have their first tooth until around a year old.
The bottom incisors (bottom front teeth) are usually the first to come in. However, the top incisors (top front teeth) sometimes come in first or at the same time as the bottoms do.
What Happens During Infant Dental Visits?
On your baby’s first visit, the dentist will examine the jaw and teeth to ensure everything is developing correctly. They’ll also check the mouth for signs of injury, cavities, decay, and other issues. Once the examination is complete, the dentist will give tips for daily oral care of your baby’s first teeth.
During the first examination, your infant will be seated on your lap in the dental chair. This helps them feel more comfortable and also allows them to sit upright. It’s normal for your baby to be a little fussy during the first visit.
Some babies are born with neonatal teeth, which begin erupting in the first month of life. Essentially, neonatal teeth are a third row of teeth separate from the primary and permanent teeth.
If your baby is born with neonatal teeth, you have two options. One option is to use good oral hygiene practices until the neonatal teeth are replaced with primary ones. Another option is to have the neonatal teeth removed by a dentist. You can discuss both options with your baby’s pediatric dentist to determine which is best for you.
What Happens During Toddler Dental Visits?
As with infants, toddler dentistry visits start with a thorough examination of the jaw, teeth, and gums. Then, the dentist will clean your child’s teeth and evaluate their tooth decay risk.
You’ll be offered the option to have a sealant applied to your toddler’s teeth. This sealant will help protect against decay. Fluoride treatments are another option the dentist may offer.
Infant and Toddler Dentistry Is Essential
Routine dental care should start as soon as your baby’s first tooth erupts or no later than the child’s first birthday. Oral health is essential to your young child’s overall well-being. Schedule your appointment with our pediatric dentist today to start your infant or toddler on the path to a healthy smile for a lifetime.