Dental checkups are one of the most important procedures a family dentist performs. These visits serve as a chance for the dentist to evaluate the patient's teeth and it gives them an opportunity to perform any treatments that are needed.The three main types of dental checkups performed by dentists are: Comprehensive oral exams: These are…
At What Age Should My Child See a Family Dentist for a Checkup?
Most adults have visited a family dentist twice annually for years, but new parents may wonder when the right time is to bring young children to a checkup for the first time. The teeth can start to grow in as early as six months of age. Though baby teeth will eventually be replaced by adult teeth, they need to be properly cared for to ensure proper development of the mouth.
When children should see a dentist
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry suggests that children generally should see a dentist for the first time around a year of age or shortly after the first tooth emerges. However, this age can vary depending on the child’s development and behavior. Initial appointments are usually short to accommodate young children. Even so, not all kids are ready to see a dentist as soon as baby teeth come in. Patients can always discuss when to bring in a child and how to handle any special needs with the dentist.
Before a checkup
Consider taking children along to a regular dental appointment so they can experience a cleaning with a parent close by. During this visit, the dentist can explain what is happening and the parent can demonstrate good patient behavior. Finding a children’s book that demonstrates characters visiting the dentist can help reduce stress a child may feel about the checkup.
During a checkup
A child’s first cleaning checkup with a family dentist is typically like a shortened version of an adult visit. The dentist may check a child’s teeth and gums for signs of decay or deterioration, which could indicate the beginnings of cavities. A gentle cleaning removes any food particles or bacteria (which form naturally throughout the day) in the mouth. If the child's teeth show signs of possible decay, the dentist may use fluoride to protect vulnerable teeth.
After a checkup
The dentist may suggest dietary changes and hygiene habits like brushing that children can practice at home. Children should return to the family dentist again in another six months. If a dentist has any concerns about a child’s oral health, an appointment may be scheduled sooner so the dentist can monitor the situation.
Importance of good oral hygiene at a young age
The fact that children lose baby teeth does not mean these teeth do not need to be taken care of. Baby teeth allow children to form speech patterns and to chew well, which ensures they receive proper nutrition during this important developmental stage of life. Teaching children to care for baby teeth by brushing twice a day for at least two minutes also sets up good habits.
Parents who are concerned about the health of a child’s teeth or gums should contact a family dentist even if it is before the normal time for a checkup. Taking preventative actions quickly can save a lot of time and money in the future.
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