Your baby’s pediatrician has just suggested it’s time for your child’s first dental appointment. How do you select the right professional? Certainly, there’s much more to consider than how many toys you’ll find in the waiting room. Let’s take a moment to focus on pediatric dentistry, and provide you with useful information sure to help you with your decision.
New parents often ask, “When should my child first see a dentist?” The quick answer – suggested by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry is – first visit should be by your child’s first birthday. This may sound early, but national studies have shown that preschoolers are getting more cavities. And cavities are not the only concern. The age 1 dental visit lets parents discuss the proper care for an infant’s mouth, the use of fluoride, oral habits like thumb sucking, teething and developmental milestones, and the link between diet and oral health.
Parents may also wonder why they should seek out a pediatric dentist. The answer is simple: pediatric dentists are specially trained to care for children’s oral health – teeth, gum and mouth – from infancy through the teen years. A pediatric dentist continues their studies for two additional years after the four years of dental school. They complete a dental residency for infants, children, teens and special needs kids. They are qualified to do early assessment for straightening teeth. They are also experts on diagnosis of oral conditions associated with diseases such as diabetes, congenital heart defect and asthma, to list a few.
Remember, kids are not just small adults. They need professionals familiar with examining and treating them in ways that make them comfortable. In addition, pediatric dentists have specially designed equipment, and their offices are arranged and decorated with kids in mind.
After the one year exam, the dentist will suggest a schedule of follow-up visits. In the past, dentists typically called for visits every six months. Now, the schedule may vary according to each child’s needs and risks. As your child grows, the dental team can help you learn how to prevent common oral problems. Our office team is standing by to answer all your questions.