Your child's primary or baby teeth are important to his or her dental health and overall health, too, both now and in the future. These 20 little teeth help your child with chewing and speaking and also play an crucial role in how the mouth and jaw develop and mature.
So, it's vital to begin good dental habits at an early age. That includes going to the dentist regularly. Routine dental care helps ensure a bright, healthy smile in the smallest of tots right on into adolescence and the adult years, too.
When is it time for a child's first dental appointment?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) states that a child should be examined by a pediatric dentist within 6 months of cutting that very first tooth or by age one. While that might seem too soon to parents, dental professionals say that about a quarter of all young children children get a cavity by age 4. So, to preserve those baby teeth as long as possible, diligent dental hygiene and examinations are important.
What happens during the first dental appointment?
With the child seated on the parent's lap, the dentist carefully and gently examines the teeth and gums. The exam is very brief, but the doctor takes the time to look for:
- how the teeth are positioned in the mouth
- any decay
- shape and growth of the tongue, gums and lips
- how the teeth and jaws close together
This first visit is also the perfect opportunity for the dentist and parent to discuss important day-to-day issues such as how to brush a child's teeth, fluoride, toothpaste, nutrition, teething, bottle-feeding, thumb-sucking and prevention of common childhood accidents involving the mouth. X-rays are usually not a part of this first examination, but parents should expect them at age 5 to 6 years when the adult teeth can begin pushing through the gums.
How to prepare for your child's first dental visit.
It's important to select a pediatric dentist as he or she is experienced in a fun and comfortable way to examine a child's mouth. The dentist should be able to create a great rapport with parent and child alike and be willing to discuss any questions or concerns mom or dad may have. As the parent, be sure to talk to your son or daughter in a happy, positive way about going to the dentist.
Contact Dr. Thomas Ryan.
In the Naperville, Illinois area, Thomas Ryan DDS of North Creek Dental Care is very experienced in the area of pediatric dentistry. Dr. Ryan knows how best to care for your child's dental health from the earliest age on to adulthood. Call North Creek Dental Care of Naperville at 630-983-9877 for your child's first dental appointment.