Ever wondered when your child should visit the dentist for the first time? It is sooner than you think. Most parents wait until their child is more than two years old before taking them to the dentist for their first checkup. However, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends children visit the dentist before their first birthday, or within six months of their first tooth erupting.
Why so early?
You may wonder why such early intervention is necessary, but the dentist can identify signs of dental issues that can be treated much easier while your child is young instead of waiting until adolescence or adulthood.
Most parents are unaware of the problems that can arise with their child’s oral health and assume their child must have all their primary teeth in place before heading to the dentist. This is certainly not the case. Primary teeth, which are your child’s first teeth that erupt, are important for the development and long-term health of their permanent teeth. Primary teeth help your child chew properly, develop their speech, save space for permanent teeth, and promote a healthy smile for your child. If there are any problems or concerns with your child’s primary teeth, the dentist can identify and address these issues early on.
Prevention is key to your child’s oral health and growth
Identifying issues early allow for more effective treatment for your child. The dentist will not only evaluate your child’s teeth but his or hers structural development as well. While a child is growing, their bones are much softer than as an adult. Therefore, planning for treatment while your child is young is more effective than waiting until later in life, where more costly treatments may be necessary. The dentist may also address issues such as thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, and any sleep-breathing issues that your child may exhibit. Be sure also to encourage your child to adhere to healthy oral hygiene habits at an early age. As soon as your child’s first tooth erupts, begin oral hygiene efforts of cleaning your child’s teeth until they are old enough to do so efficiently.
Preparing your child for their first dental visit
Taking your child to the dentist for the first time may seem scary for you both. The best way to acclimate your child is to give them a sneak peak of what to expect. Bring them with you to your dental exam and cleaning. This helps them become acquainted with the office, staff, and dentist. Also, take time playing dentist with your child. Playing pretend with your child allows them to relate to the real world. Timing is also important. Schedule your child’s visit during a time of day that he or she is likely to be in a good mood, relaxed and comfortable.
For more information on oral health for your child or to schedule his or hers first visit, contact Wall Street Dentistry today by calling (256) 878-0525. We welcome patients of all ages from the Albertville, Boaz, and Guntersville, AL areas. Allow Wall Street Dentistry to help your child down the road to life-long, healthy oral hygiene habits.