Seeing your child’s first tooth sprout from their little pink gums is a massive moment in any parent’s life. It is also the start of them becoming real little people with potentially very real teeth problems. You may be wondering when you should take your toddler to their first dental appointment. Here are 7 potential reasons to book that visit today.
Most dental associations around the world highly recommend that children visit the dentist by the time they turn one but certainly no later than the age of two. The general rule of thumb is to book a visit 6 months after their first tooth pops up. Your first visit to the dentist with your toddler will also be for educational purposes, like teaching you about baby bottle tooth decay (more on that further down) and discussing their pacifier habits.
The dentist will inspect your toddler’s teeth and mouth and report back on any strange or concerning findings so they can be dealt with sooner rather than later. Regular oral examinations will ensure your child has healthy gums, a normal jaw and a normal bite pattern. If an abnormality is not dealt with in a timely manner it could potentially adversely affect their speech. Many parents think that a visit to the dentist is unnecessary because they are only temporary teeth but your child’s permanent teeth will grow along with the temporary ones so regular visits are vital.
As parents, we do not always have all the answers. There is no shame is making a dental appointment with your little one simply to ask questions and learn about their oral health and preventative care measures to put in place. Doctors and dentists are always learning new things and discovering new ways to approach pediatric healthcare so chances are the Pediatric Dental Services folks will appreciate a parent who shows such an interest in their specific area of expertise.
If your toddler is clearly in any kind of pain from their mouth or jaw area, it is time to book an appointment with your family pediatric dentist ASAP. It is not particularly uncommon for a child that is so young to have cavities or decay because baby bottle tooth decay is a very real problem and does affect many toddlers. Tooth decay might first show up as white spots along the gum line on the upper front teeth, these spots can be difficult to see at first with the proper equipment. The good news is that this type of decay, along with most others, is avoidable if you take the correct preventative measures early on.
Many children (and even adults) experience a high level of anxiety when going to the dentist – that is completely normal. It is a good idea to take your toddler to the dentist before the recommended time so that they can familiarize themselves with that environment. Most pediatric dentists will be happy to allow your little gem of a mini human to explore various instruments and equipment until they are comfortable to take a spin in the chair. While they are exploring, you can learn about dental health.
If either of the parents had problems with their teeth, or their jaws, when they were young then it is wise to book a visit – just to check. Genetics are complicated but your child will inherit a lot from each parent, the good and the bad. This is more to rule out your child experiencing the same issues you did as a child, or to get some potential treatment options as early as possible. That way if your child will need braces one day you have adequate time to prepare. Not all problems are visible from such a young age but your pediatric dentist will be able to do the necessary scans and examine your child so they can give you the best advice possible.
Routine is such an important part of your child’s world. The routines you set for them now will stay with them for their entire lives. My husband and I were raised very differently – my parents took me for regular check-ups and his…not so much. The result of my childhood dental routine is that I have great teeth and I still go for regular check-ups to get ahead of any potential issues – whereas he does not. He avoids the dentist like the plague and suffers because of it. Basically, what I am saying is you need to start ‘em young and you shouldn’t have much drama further down the line.