Parents of newborn babies have a lot to deal with, from diapers to doctor appointments. Worrying about taking your baby to a dentist doesn’t have to happen until after the baby gets his or her first tooth – but how soon after that?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children should visit a dentist by the time they are one year old. A good time to make the first appointment is when your baby gets his first tooth. If that seems a little early, consider that one in four preschoolers have cavities before they are four years old, with many kids getting their first cavity by the age of two.
Your child’s first dental visit is usually a short one designed to acquaint the child with the dentist and dentist’s office and to let you talk to the dentist about your child’s oral health. The dentist can tell you about fluoride, answer any concerns you have about thumb sucking or pacifier use and tell you what to expect as far as teething is concerned. Take the time to ask the dentist any questions you have, because this first visit is for you as well as your child.
When choosing a dentist, you may want to use your own dentist if they accept young children as patients. If not, you should seek a dentist who either specializes in pediatric dentistry or who has many young patients. You may want to get recommendations from friends or family. Seeing a dentist can be scary for young children, so you want to be sure that the dentist and staff are friendly and know how to communicate with young children in a non-threatening manner. One advantage to choosing a pediatric dental office is that you can be sure this will be the case, as pediatric dentists have extra training beyond that of a regular dentist, with the extra training including child behavior and the special needs of children’s dentistry. On the other hand, a family dentist who treats everyone else in your family may be the best choice because you have already established a relationship with that dentist and office staff.
Proper nutrition and its relationship to oral health is also something that your child’s dentist can discuss with you. The earlier you get your baby to a dentist for the first checkup, even if he or she only has one tooth, the better informed you will be to make decisions about nutrition, fluoride and all aspects of your child’s oral health.
If you’re unsure when will be the perfect time for your child to visit the dentist, Contact Fairfield Periodontics at 203.255.7771.