There’s so much to worry about with newborns and toddlers that oral health and dental visits may not be the first thing on your mind. After all, there are feedings, first steps, and first words to be concerned about, so it may be tempting not to think about teeth and pediatric dental visits until a few years down the road.
There are many great reasons to take your little one to their first visit with a pediatric dentist sooner rather than later. This guide will help you understand when to see a pediatric dentist, how it can positively impact major dental milestones, and what questions you should ask during your visit.
How early should you take your baby to the dentist?
Most pediatric dentists recommend bringing babies to the dentist by the time the first tooth comes in or around their first birthday, whichever comes first.
There are several reasons why this is a good idea, even if it seems early. First, tooth decay and cavities can easily develop in baby teeth, leading to serious problems like infection if left untreated. A pediatric dentist can spot early signs of tooth decay and help take preventive measures.
A pediatric dentist can also help educate parents on how to establish proper oral hygiene habits. To prevent tooth decay, parents should know how and when to start brushing and flossing their little ones and how to limit cavities due to factors like bottle feeding.
Starting dental visits early helps babies get used to going to the dentist, so it becomes a regular and comfortable occurrence as they grow up.
Dental Milestones by Age
Pediatric dentists can help guide parents and little ones alike through the following dental milestones:
- Teething: Signs of teething usually begin within three to six months
- First baby teeth: The first baby teeth usually erupt within six to 12 months
- Full set of baby teeth: Most children will have a complete set of baby teeth by age three
- Losing baby teeth: Children begin to start losing baby teeth by around five to six years of age
Seeing a pediatric dentist throughout these key milestones can help ensure that everything is coming in normally and that you can respond to any issues as quickly and proactively as possible.
What to Expect from Your First Visit
Parents should try to book an appointment time that best suits their child’s schedule. Feel free to bring a favorite toy to distract them during the appointment. Don’t make too much of a fuss over them, or your little one could notice your anxiety about visiting the dentist.
During your first visit with a pediatric dentist, you can expect a careful examination of your little one’s mouth and any teeth that have erupted. The dentist will check for any early signs of tooth decay and ensure that teeth are coming in normally and that the jaw is aligned correctly.
Above all, the first pediatric visit is largely educational for parents. Parents can learn key facts about oral hygiene and how to properly brush and floss their child’s teeth as they come in.
What to ask a Pediatric Dentist
Come prepared for your appointment with any questions. Everyone is different, and you may have questions that are unique to your child. Some of the most common questions parents ask include:
- Do you have any tips to help my child with teething?
- Are my child’s teeth coming in early or late?
- What are the warning signs of tooth decay?
- Are there any special steps I can take to prevent cavities?
- What are some first foods to try that are good for baby teeth?
- Will my child need braces?
- Do you have any recommendations for toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss for babies?
Look for a pediatric dentist who is responsive to any questions you have and is available to respond to questions you may see later.
Advantages of Seeing a Pediatric Dentist
Parents who take their children to the dentist early often enjoy the following advantages:
- Reduces risk of cavities and tooth decay
- Early identification of problems, meaning less intensive treatments
- Establishes good oral hygiene habits early
- Normalizes going to the dentist from a young age and helps reduce anxiety about dental visits
By finding a pediatric dentist you know and trust, your little one can have the best chance at a happy and healthy smile for years to come.
Keep Your Family’s Teeth Healthy with the Help of AC Pediatric Dentistry
Going to the dentist can be scary — we get it. But it should be fun! Whether it’s care for baby teeth, big kid teeth, oral surgery, or orthodontics, our team of specialized pediatric dentists make the experience memorable while teaching you how to encourage healthy habits and good hygiene for lifelong smiles. Call us today or request an appointment online. We can’t wait to meet you!