How to Decide?
Answer the following questions:
- Do you brush or scrub your child’s teeth daily?
- Do you periodically monitor their teeth for cavities to make sure there’s no stains on their teeth?
- Are you diluting and taking them off juices and milk gradually?
- Do you not allow them to eat too much candies, chocolate, sweets, juices and sodas?
- Is this NOT your first child? “no” means it is your first.
- If you have other children, did they NOT develop any cavities until they were older?
- Is your child healthy with no diagnosed major medical problems?
If you answered “yes” to most of the above questions then you are probably fine waiting a bit longer to take your child in for their first visit. If you’re a first time mom you probably should take your child for an early wellness exam to make sure you’re not making any mistakes regarding their oral hygiene and dietary habits. But if you are an experienced mom, the ones who know when they need braces, when their adult teeth will come out, when they have to remove their wisdom teeth, etc. then you can probably wait until your child is a bit older before you take him or her to the dentist for their first visit provided they your not spoiling them and allowing them to consume too many sodas and sweets!
If you answered “no” to most of the above questions then you probably should take your child in for a checkup when they are still very young to make sure there are no unpredictable problems or cavities hiding on you.
We think an early consultation is usually worth the effort especially if something is actually wrong. These first wellness visits are typically short and inexpensive and could be quite beneficial. And you just never know what a trained dentist can detect that might’ve gone unnoticed to you. He or she may find a cavity or an early developmental problem. They could advise you to correct their oral hygiene routine if they are building up too much plaque on their teeth. They may instruct you on improving their diet. They can review any oral hygiene products you are using for them. And if nothing else, having an early checkup visit and developing the good habit of going regularly to the dentist can slowly build your child’s ability to cope with going to the dentist.
helpful hint – If your child is scared and refuses to go to the dentist you may end up finding yourself rescheduling and postponing their first visit. How they behave at the doctors office may be a good indicator of how they’ll do at the dentist. So if this applies to you, we do not recommend postponing their visit but it may be wise to research your local dentists to find one that can handle more challenging children. You may want to consider taking them to a child friendly pediatric dentist over a regular dentist as they are probably better suited to manage them. Most general dentists refuse to treat uncooperative children and refer them out regularly so why put your child through a bad experience before doing so!
NEXT >> When is the Best Time for Your Childs First Dental Visit: At 6 Months to a Year
When is the Best Time for Your Childs First Dental Visit: At 2 to 3 Years
1. The dentist can take meaningful X-rays at 2 to 3 years of age to really visualize and examine your child’s teeth. If you bring your child for an exam when they are a few months old there is not much work your dentist can do for them. Most baby teeth haven’t came out yet and the mouth is too small to actually take any useful X-rays. The majority of the exam will be based on visual findings. And if you simply look carefully at their teeth you probably will be able to see any brown or black spots that may be resembling cavities yourself. It is not until they your child is a bit older at around two years or so when all the baby teeth have finally came out and the child is large enough to be able to take some useful X-rays. At this point your dentist can really see what is going on in their mouths and determine if there are cavities or any other problems.
2. Your child may now be old enough to perform some basic dental treatment if required. Again, there just isn’t a whole lot of dental treatment that can be done to a child less than a year old. Your child’s dental visit will resemble more of a consultation at this point. A cleaning and possibly some fluoride application provides minimal benefits. The majority of the visit at this age will consist of instructions on home hygiene and discussions regarding their diet and oral habits which you can research yourself if you have the patience. Very few children have any serious dental problems this early on if you are tending to their diet and oral hygiene.
- Brush their teeth for them without using toothpaste just yet
- Monitor their sugar intakes
- Get them off the bottles which contain juices, milk or any type of sugar
3. Extra cost and effort. It can be overwhelming to fit in a dental cleaning during first year of your child’s life. In fact most moms feel that they are probably more deserving of a dental cleaning at this point and they are probably correct! With a full set of teeth and the risk of gum disease, you have a lot more to risk than your child does with only a handful of baby teeth barely out in their mouths!
NEXT >> When is the Best Time for Your Childs First Dental Visit: How to Decide
When is the Best Time for Your Childs First Dental Visit: At 6 Months to a Year
You noticed your child beginning to develop his or her first baby tooth. Congratulations! Now you have to consider when to take him or her for the first wellness dental checkup. Most children have their first baby tooth come out at around six months old. By the time they are two years old usually all baby teeth have already come out. Most dental societies recommend bringing your child in for their first checkup visit between six months to a year of age. Does this really make sense? Why not just wait until they are two or three when all their baby teeth are out before taking them in for a more comprehensive check-up instead?
Click here to learn more about when baby teeth come out or fall off
Pros of Taking Your Child for their First Visit at 6 Months to a Year
1. To review your child’s oral hygiene, habits and diet. There are a lot of important topics that a good dentist or pediatric dentist will examine and review with you on your child’s first visit.
- Obviously they will be checked for any cavities or abnormalities in their teeth eruption patterns. While rare, some kids do develop cavities on their baby teeth within just months of the teeth coming out due to poor diet or genetic problems.
- The dentist can review how you are cleaning their teeth and advise you on proper use of hygiene products
- He or she can review their diet, sugar intake and evaluate the plaque buildup to determine their risk levels
- Habits such as teeth grinding, thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, etc. will be examined and discussed
- Your dentist will also be on the look out for any medical issues that may have an oral manifestation
As you can see there can be quite of bit to discuss regarding oral health despite your child not having that many teeth in their tiny mouths!
2. They can be accessed for serious dental conditions such as nursing bottle syndrome. We do unfortunately run into very young children who have multiple infected teeth and almost every single time it is due to nursing bottle syndrome. Children who sleep overnight with a bottle containing sugary liquids, such as juices, expose their teeth to harmful sugars the entire night. This is very dangerous and can lead to aggressive cavities on a whole bunch of their teeth. Your dentist will evaluate your child to ensure that this isn’t occurring and review their dietary habits. Another detrimental condition that can adversely affect teeth even at a young age is thumb-sucking or tongue-thrusting. These bad habits can lead to the child having an open bite which would require years of orthodontic work to fix. Your dentist can discuss these with you and offer possible early interventions to help avoid or minimize the damage if caught early enough.
3. Children’s baby teeth are actually important. Even though baby teeth only last for 5 to 10 years (depending on their location) they are still very important for many reasons.
- Children need their baby teeth to eat, speak and to build up their confidence while growing up
- Baby teeth maintain spaces for the adult teeth to come out correctly when they are ready to do so. Losing multiple baby teeth almost always means that your child will have crowding issues and will require braces to correct their bite.
- Baby teeth can develop cavities just like adult teeth can. They can similarly become infected or cause serious pain. And keep in mind that if a baby tooth becomes infected early on, say when your child is 1 or 2 years old, that tooth still has to last them another 4 to 9 years which is a very long time.
As you can see baby teeth are important and you definitely need to intervene early to fix any problems with baby teeth or face dealing with pain and difficult treatments including extractions or baby root canals known as pulpotomies.
NEXT >> When is the Best Time for Your Childs First Dental Visit: At 2 to 3 Years
When is the Best Time for Your Childs First Dental Visit: How to Decide