This week at Bertagnolli Dental in Westminster, we want to focus on your baby's first dental visit. As a practice specializing in family dentistry, we are well-equipped to help you with any queries related to dental care for your little ones. And of course, our entire team is gentle and friendly, to ensure all goes well when you come see us. Now, one of the most frequent questions we’re asked is, when should I bring my baby for their first dental check-up? Let’s talk about what you need to know.
Scheduling the First Appointment
Your baby's first few teeth will probably appear when they are between six months and one year old. Schedule their first visit to a dentist once teeth start appearing and certainly by their first birthday. While some parents may be surprised at the advice to take their child to a dentist at such a young age, it's never too early. If you notice anything unusual about your baby's gums or mouth before the six-month mark, you can schedule an appointment with a dentist or pediatrician to have them checked.
Baby's first dental visit is crucial to a lifetime of dental care. Even with just a few teeth present, your dentist will be able to analyze their risk for cavities. The number of babies with tooth decay before they are two years old is rapidly increasing. By age four, at least one in four children in here in the United States will already have a cavity.
Baby teeth or milk teeth eventually fall out. It is, however, critical to take care of them for the five to seven years they are present. Not only does it set up a good routine for caring for the future adult teeth, but it also helps your child in this crucial stage of development. Healthy baby teeth are necessary for them to process food and receive the correct nutrition, as well as develop their speech skills.
How to Find a Pediatric Dentist
Finding a dentist that will cater to your child's needs and ensure they are comfortable is the top priority. While many dental practices will cater to children, not all of them are experienced and capable with infants. To get an idea of whether a practice is a good fit for your baby's first dental visit, call them up and ask what age they recommend for a first visit. If they respond by saying when the first tooth arrives or before their first birthday, you can be confident that they see babies on a regular basis.
Preparing for the First Appointment
Before taking your baby to their appointment, it's a good idea to think about any worries or concerns you have and write them down. This first visit aims to:
- Start building a relationship with the dentist that will be taking care of your child's dental health
- Have the dentist evaluate your child’s oral health
- Receive advice on oral hygiene
- Get answers to any specific questions or concerns
On the day of baby's first dental visit, it is a good idea to bring an extra diaper, snack, and toy for your child. This will hopefully keep them happy in the waiting room.
If possible, bring their other parent or an adult with whom your baby is comfortable with to the visit. They can hold the baby and keep them amused while you focus on talking to the dentist. Try to avoid bringing other children along so that you can give your undivided attention to the consultation. This appointment is a valuable opportunity to address your specific concerns with your dentist, so make the most of it.
At the Dental Office
Baby's first dental visit will begin with the dentist going over your child’s medical history. The dentist will probably ask about things related to their overall development, teething, diet, and sucking habits. They may ask about the dental health of any siblings and whether the siblings have cavities. This will give them an overall idea of your baby's health before they carry out the exam.
The dentist will then ask you to help them position the baby so that they can look at the teeth and gums. Usually, the parent will sit the child on their lap, and the dentist will sit opposite the parent. The parent can lay the baby back so that his or her head rests on the knees of the dentist and both can see clearly into their mouth. This is usually the most comfortable position, as they can still see the parent's face and don't have to be on the unfamiliar surface of a dentist's chair or table.
The dentist will examine the inside of your child’s mouth, checking each tooth. They will demonstrate how to clean the teeth and gums correctly. At this stage, they should let you practice the suggested technique for cleaning and correct any mistakes. They will also tell you what to expect in the following months as your child continues to develop.
After the examination, the dentist will discuss any irregularities found. If they have specific advice related to the diet, oral hygiene or cavity prevention, they will explain their suggestions and how to carry them out. If you have questions, feel free to ask them at this point. The dentist will then suggest a schedule for continued care.
After the Appointment
Before leaving the office, schedule your child’s next appointment at the front desk. They may give you contact information in case of a dental emergency. After the appointment, you will have a good idea of your baby's overall oral health, their stage of development and what to expect in the future. You’ll feel confident knowing how to care for your baby's teeth and identifying any problems that may appear.
If you have any questions about baby's first dental visit that haven't been answered by this post, please get in touch. The friendly team here at Bertagnolli Dental will guide you through the process. If you live here in Westminster or nearby, we would be happy to attend to the needs of your family. Give us a call.