Time to Make Your Child a Dental Appointment!
When you see your child’s first tooth emerge from the gums, it’s time to celebrate with them–soon they’ll get to go to their first dental appointment! As a parent, the last thing you need is another medical bill, but good dental habits start early. Children should visit the pediatric dentist within six months of their first tooth eruption. At this first visit, the dentist can give you information about the following issues:
- Pacifier and finger-sucking habits
- Baby bottle tooth decay
- Mouth cleaning
- Overall oral health
Dental Visits for Kids
Children who visit the dentist when they are very young are less likely to be afraid of the dentist when they get older. During your child’s first dental appointment, the dentist won’t do much–look in your child’s mouth, polish their teeth, and familiarize them with visiting the dentist.
Good dental hygiene starts when children are very young; developing good dental habits will help them maintain good dental health for the rest of their lives. Show your child you are proud of them by encouraging good behavior and taking lots of photos. Be sure to convey a positive attitude about your child’s visit to the dentist (so they don’t pick up on your anxiety). If you express fear and anxiety about dental care in front of your child, your child will be nervous also.
Be Excited About The Dentist!
By the time your child’s first tooth appears, you should already have a “brushing” routine set for the morning, afternoon, and evening. This routine will involve wiping your child’s gums gently with a wet cloth (before their baby teeth start coming in). When your child’s first tooth emerges, get a soft-bristled brush and a pinhead-sized amount of children’s toothpaste and “brush” three times a day. Make sure they are familiar with someone looking in their mouth.
After your child’s dental appointment, your child will probably get a sticker or a toy. Celebrate that sticker (or toy) like it’s an Olympic gold medal. Adding the sticker to the bathroom mirror at home is a great way to encourage your child to brush their teeth at home.
Your child’s first dental visit won’t last long (30 to 45 minutes max). Depending on your child’s age, the dentist may conduct a full exam of the jaw, teeth, gums, bite, and mouth tissue. A gentle pediatric dental cleaning might also be performed. The dentist will polish your child’s teeth and remove plaque and tarter.
The dentist will also let you know if there is a concerning amount of plaque on your child’s teeth. Your dentist may demonstrate proper flossing techniques for older children and potentially apply a fluoride treatment. The dentist will probably not need to take X-rays since baby teeth are not permanent.
Just like adults, children need to visit the dentist every six months. Some dentists even recommend visits every three months to help children avoid anxiety. The more often your child visits the dentist, the faster your dentist can diagnose and treat issues (before they get serious).
Tips for Protecting Your Child’s Teeth at Home
After your child’s first dental appointment, you and your child will learn a lot about general dentistry and at-home care. The following are some important first steps to maintaining good oral hygiene:
- Use safe-to-swallow Flouride training toothpaste for your child when their first tooth emerges.
- Brush your child’s tooth (or teeth) three times a day. Many preschools now encourage children to brush their teeth after eating lunch, but since we’re in quarantine, the responsibility falls squarely on the shoulders of parents.
- Visit the dentist often (at least six months from the time your child gets their first tooth.
- Be gentle when brushing your child’s teeth (30 seconds in each quadrant of the mouth).
- Encourage your child to floss their baby teeth. This is extremely important as it prevents tooth decay. Even though your child’s baby teeth will fall out, having no cavities will make their visits to the dentist pleasant and stress-free.
San Francisco Pediatric Dentistry
Pediatric dentistry services in San Francisco, CA take care of any dental concern for your child. Our services include: