Parents often wonder when their child’s first dentist visit should be, and whether it is really important to care for baby teeth. Early preventive dental care is a crucial part of a child’s overall health. Children should visit the dentist as soon as they get their first tooth, or at least by their first birthday.
The Importance of Baby Teeth
Baby teeth, also known as primary teeth, play many important roles. Not only do they help a child chew food and speak properly, but they also set the stage for when the secondary teeth begin to erupt.
Most children will begin losing their baby teeth by age 6 or 7, but it will take time for all 20 baby teeth to fall out. Most children won’t lose all of their baby teeth until the age of 12 or later. Caring for baby teeth properly by brushing, flossing, and keeping up with regular dental checkups in the meantime will help prevent tooth decay and diseases in addition to teaching children healthy habits.
Common Pediatric Dental Problems
There are many preventable dental problems and diseases that can occur when proper oral hygiene is not practiced. Tooth decay, also known as dental caries or cavities, occurs when bacteria invades a soft baby tooth. Brushing and flossing twice daily, in addition to maintaining regular dental checkups and avoiding foods and beverages that are high in sugar can help prevent tooth decay.
Bruxism, also known as teeth grinding, gingivitis, canker sores, over-retained teeth, and malocclusion, which is a misalignment of the teeth, are all pediatric dental problems that can be addressed during routine dental checkups.
What Will Happen During a Child’s Dental Visit
When children visit the dental, there may be some anxiety associated with it, especially if it’s their first visit. Preparing for the visit ahead of time can help alleviate some of the anxiety.
What occurs during a child’s dental visit will vary depending on their age and specific needs. Generally, a dentist will clean the teeth and check for any areas of tooth decay. A sealant or fluoride rinse may be used to help prevent tooth decay. The dentist will instruct the child on how to properly care for their teeth by brushing, flossing, and avoiding certain food or beverages. Children should have regular dental cleanings and checkups every six months to maintain good oral health.