Our parents used to take us to the dentist when our permanent teeth were fully erupted or when we were complaining of a toothache. Preventive dentistry or prophylactic measurements were described in theory but very rarely applied in practice. Today, thanks to different education methods and enormous volume of information that circulates in media and “google “, parents try to avert a dental issue instead of dealing with the real problem later. Baby teeth start coming out at the age of 6-7 months, some
little super heroes get their teeth even at 4 months.
The first dental appointment should be after the eruption of the first baby tooth. First visit is an introduction tour to the dental office. Let your child get familiar with the environment, playing area, dental room. The pediatric dentist can have a look in child’s mouth only if the baby is calm and joyful.
Why parents have to take their kids so early to the dentist? Baby teeth are vulnerable to decay as they don’t brush them twice a day. Milk and
juices can cause bottle caries that at this age evolves very fast, ending with extensive dental treatment and sometimes extraction. Baby teeth keep the space for permanent ones, so it is important to look after them. Another good reason to see a dentist is the bad habits: thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, lip sucking, etc.
What parents can expect from the visit?
First appointment of the toddler is about building trust and feel comfortable in the dental office. Before you arrive, explain to the child what is going to happen and why it is important. If he/she is a bit nervous, do not push it, book another visit with the dentist, until your child is fear free. First visit is about introducing the toothbrush and toothpaste, show the child how to brush in a playful way and why it is necessary to look after the teeth.
How often the child should be taken to the dentist
Regular checkups are the key to decay prevention. Let your dentist decide when it will be the toddler’s next appointment.
The biggest effort to flourish good dental habits is still done at home.
- Parents should observe how the child is brushing his/her teeth and help if the child is struggling
- Make sure the toddler does not go to sleep with the bottle without brushing the teeth
- Limit the intake of sugar sweets
- Break the bad habits as per dentist instructions