Not every child is excited about going to the dentist. In fact, many children’s fear or anxiety can make a regular teeth cleaning feel like a major battle. However, the importance of regular dental care at a young age cannot be underestimated.
Pediatric dentistry is crucial to children’s overall health, and getting them used to regularly visiting the dentist at a young age can help to instill good habits in them as an adult. So if getting your young child into the dentist’s chair is a challenge, don’t give up—it’s worth it.
Early Dentist Trips Establish Good Habits
Establishing routines for children is very important, whether it’s a regular bed time routine, going about their chores, or taking care of their teeth. Giving children routines helps them know what is expected of them, and gives them confidence as they learn to become independent.
Visiting the dentist regularly at a young age can help children learn quickly that it is a normal, healthy part of life, not a punishment or a break from the norm. Seeing their dentist frequently gives them a chance to get to know him or her as a friendly presence in their life, rather than a stranger to be afraid of.
Potential Oral Health Issues are Identified Earlier
Particularly, at a very young age, it can be difficult for a parent to notice the signs of potential dental issues in their children. Their mouths are small, and beyond holding them down, few toddlers are willing to let mom or dad check their molars thoroughly.
A dental professional with the proper tools and experience, however, will be able to inspect a child’s mouth properly, and identify and address any problem areas.
Parents Learn More about their Child’s Needs
As adults, we may have a solid understanding of what it takes to keep our own smile in a healthy condition. But children’s teeth, and dental care needs, are a little different than our own. Making sure your child makes it to the dentist at an early age isn’t just an advantage for them, it can be a learning opportunity for you as well.
Along with general pediatric hygiene advice, your dentist can help identify if your child may have a proclivity for cavities, or may need orthodontic correction once adult teeth come in. This can help you establish the proper hygiene routine for your kids, and make sure their eating habits are setting them up for success.
What Age Should My Child Start Going to the Dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises that children should begin seeing the dentist when their first tooth emerges, and no later than their first birthday.
While these first visits are more about getting your child used to sitting in the dentist chair, issues can start to develop with teeth from their very first appearance, such as pitted or discolored front teeth, known as ‘bottle mouth,’ which sometimes results from putting babies to sleep with a bottle. Visiting the dentist early on can help identify any such issues.
How Dr. Lordo’s Office Can Help
Our staff has worked hard to create an environment and atmosphere that is fun and encouraging to our young patients. Their first visit typically includes a thorough cleaning, fluoride treatment, digital x-rays if necessary, and instruction on proper teeth care. And of course, a special treat for doing a good job!