The longer you wait to take young children to see a family dentist, the more risks they face. National studies show that pre-school aged children develop more cavities when their first family dentist visit is delayed. In fact, more than one in four children in the United States has a cavity by the age of four, and some develop cavities as young as two! Once your child gets their first tooth, schedule their first appointment with Orange Beach Family Dentistry!
When Should Your Child Start Seeing a Family Dentist?
The American Dental Association and the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend scheduling a child’s initial visit as soon as their first tooth appears. Even if the first tooth has not appeared, scheduling a dentist appointment by age two helps to prevent early childhood cavities. Additionally, it’s never too early to start discussing a healthy diet, hygiene and fluoride options so you can keep those baby teeth pearly white!
Before Your Child’s First Visit
Before your child comes in for their first visit, take the following steps to prepare:
Gather Your Child’s Medical History
First, gather a list of your child’s medical conditions, allergies and current medications. During this process, keep your pediatrician’s number handy just in case your family dentist needs more information.
Discuss any Bad Oral Habits
Second, make note of any thumb, pacifier or bottle sucking habits your child has developed. These habits have a direct effect on the development of your child’s teeth and jaw.
Talk About the Dentist and Practice Brushing
Before your appointment, talk to your child about visiting the dentist and practice brushing. This will put their mind at ease by lowering their apprehension about their first visit to their family dentist.
What to Expect During the First Visit
The first visit is all about introducing your child to the family dentist’s office and making them feel comfortable. They can explore the office, see the instruments, take a ride in the chair, meet the staff and talk with the dentist!
After your child feels comfortable, the dentist will take a look inside their mouth. The dentist checks for decay, looks at his or her gums and inspects jaw and bite alignment. The dentist will also keep an eye out for bottle caries, frenum issues or other problems that may affect speech.
After completing the first visit, your child should continue to see to your family dentist every six months to make sure everything still looks good. By the time your child is three years old they will have full dentist appointments, and by five years old they will have x-rays!
Home Care After the First Family Dentist Visit
After you and your child visit with your family dentist, do a few things at home to promote healthy oral hygiene routines:
- Stop sucking habits as soon as possible, as they often lead to tooth misalignment
- Choose a soft, kid-size toothbrush and replace it every three months
- Use no more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on your child’s toothbrush
- Help your child brush his or her teeth after breakfast and before bed
- Avoid starchy and sugary snacks — they stick to teeth and increase the risk of decay
- If your child is unable to brush, rinse their mouth with water to wash away food particles and sugar
- Be aware that a bottle of juice contains lots of sugar and promotes the growth of bacteria that cause tooth decay
Call Orange Beach Family Dentistry!
We understand a child’s first visit to their family dentist can be nerve-wracking! However, the entire team at Orange Beach Family Dentistry is dedicated to providing compassionate dental care and making all our patients feel comfortable. Contact us today, we would love to answer any questions you have!