When’s the Best Time
Many parents often think that it is not important to care for their children’s primary (baby) teeth. After all, they are ultimately going to be replaced by permanent teeth. Nothing could be further from the truth. Primary teeth are just as important as their eventual adult teeth. The primary teeth can help your child learn how to speak and chew. They are also holding space in the jaws for the permanent teeth, which are growing under the gums.
You can begin their early oral care at home before their first teeth even begin to erupt through their gums. Wiping their gums gently with a soft cloth after they have been fed will rid them of the bacteria and plaque, which is already on their gums. As a general guide, you need to take your child to their first dental appointment around their first birthday. Dentists are trained to identify immediately any potential issues with the growth and development of the jaw and soft palate. Baby teeth are more porous and susceptible to decay than adult teeth, so early intervention is important to ensure those little teeth stay healthy.
What happens during the first visit?
Most of the time, the initial office visit will help make your child comfortable with the dentist. It will likely include a quick examination of your child’s bite, teeth, jaw, and oral tissues. Pediatric dentists are specially trained to work with children, work magically in how rapidly they can do this first examination. The doctor looks for potential problems and checks the overall oral growth and development. If indicated after the exam, the dentist or hygienist will clean any teeth and assess the need for fluoride.
During this first visit, proper home-cleaning procedures will be demonstrated and reviewed with you. Your child’s teeth should be brushed when they first begin to erupt. Flossing too is vital and you can begin when your baby has two teeth adjacent to one another.
Your baby’s medical history will be carefully reviewed by the pediatric dentist and preventive measures for dental disease will be discussed. There is a true epidemic in childhood tooth decay and gum disease. If your child is a bit older and hasn’t had their first dental visit, it’s never too late. Bring them to the dentist as soon as you can!
Many dentists like to see children every six months to build up the child’s comfort and confidence level in visiting the dentist. It will also help to monitor the development of the teeth and to treat promptly any developing problem.
Our doctors here at Westchester Pediatric Dentistry are seasoned pros at giving your child the oral health care needed for a healthy and beautiful smile. Drs. Burnett and Sreenivasan are looking forward to meeting your baby and helping them to achieve a successful dental routine, which will carry them into adulthood. Call our Westchester office today for an appointment.