You’re tickling your child one night before bed, and in the midst of the giggling, you notice something interesting in their mouth…their first tooth is starting to show! Just when you thought you had this parenting thing down, you get another curve ball. What should you do next? When should they start seeing a dentist in Potomac? As soon as possible, or should you wait? Rest easy, because in today’s blog, we’re going to answer some of the first dental questions all parents have.
WHEN SHOULD I SCHEDULE MY CHILD’S FIRST DENTAL APPOINTMENT?
According to the American Dental Association, a child should have their first dental appointment within six months of their first tooth erupting, or by their first birthday at the latest. An easy way to remember this is “first visit by first birthday.”
You may be asking yourself, “Isn’t it too soon to take my child to the dentist when they only have one tooth or two?” Actually, no! By the time your little one’s teeth start showing up, your dentist will be able to learn a lot about their oral development. Plus, this initial appointment is very important for establishing your child’s relationship with dentistry and their dentist. It will give them a chance to meet their dentist as well as the opportunity to start learning about dental care and why it’s so important.
WHAT WILL THEIR FIRST APPOINTMENT BE LIKE?
A child’s very first dental appointment is more about helping them feel comfortable in the dental office rather than providing any treatment. When you come in, the staff will greet you and your child, and then you’ll be given a brief tour of the office so they have a chance to acclimate to the new environment. You’ll be with your child the entire time.
You’ll then get to meet their dentist, who will take a little time to get to know you as well as your child. They’ll then perform a brief exam and cleaning while your child sits in your lap. After this, they’ll answer any questions you have and discuss the best ways to look after their growing smile.
IS TAKING CARE OF THE BABY TEETH THAT IMPORTANT?
They are just going to fall out anyway, right?
Taking care of your child’s baby teeth is actually extremely important for a number of reasons. Firstly, young children are very susceptible to many of the same dental problems faced by adults, such as tooth decay, cavities, gum disease, and more. Having a strong, healthy set of baby teeth is essential to your child learning how to speak and eat properly as well as feel comfortable around their peers. In addition to consistent brushing and flossing, having your child attend regular dental appointments right from the start is also an important part of making that happen.
Plus, the baby teeth directly affect the adult teeth. Premature tooth loss due to decay in the baby teeth can cause them to misalign and lead to crooked adult teeth that require more complicated (and expensive!) treatments down the line. By looking after your child’s baby teeth just like you would your own, you’ll set them on the path for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
Thinking about their first dental appointment may be a bit stressful, but with the right dentist and team, they’ll have your little one feeling comfortable and laughing in no time. From there, they’ll be able to help you and your child protect their teeth for years to come. After this initial appointment, it is recommended that your child start attending regular checkups and cleanings every six months when they turn three. With that, you can look forward to watching their little smile blossom and grow!
About the Author
Dr. Sam Osseiran is a highly-respected dental specialist who has provided state-of-the-art care for smiles of all ages in Maryland and Virginia for decades. He just loves meeting young patients and making them a part of his “patient family” so they can enjoy a strong, healthy smile right from the start. He’s also happy to offer child dental care that works with busy parents’ schedules, which is why his practice is open late during the week and even on Saturdays!
To learn more about taking care of your child’s smile and schedule their first appointment, he can be contacted through his website.