A person’s teeth are formed before they are even born. They are a vital part of life, helping us to eat and influence talking ability. Children grow and develop at such a fast rate, including in the mouth. It’s just as important to care for the first teeth breaking through the gums as it is to take care of permanent molars, yet the average age for a first dental trip isn’t until after two years old.
When Should the First Trip Happen?
We prefer that parents bring their child in for their first visit before the age of one. This gives us a chance to look at the teeth that have come through, are coming through, and look around for any problems.
Dental care begins at home before this too. To keep the gum bacteria in control, it is important for parents to wipe down tiny teeth and gums with a washcloth. Once multiple teeth have come through, buy an infant sized toothbrush and use it. Don’t use children’s toothpaste until the baby is 2-3 years old, but there are special training toothpastes you can use that is safe for your child to swallow.
Why Bring Them In?
There are several reasons that we like you to bring your child in at such a young age. The first is that we want to make sure things are growing in like they should. Baby teeth are vital in the development of language skills, learning to eat, and even saving space for permanent teeth.
The second reason we see them so young is because it gives parents the opportunity to ask questions and learn about properly caring for these first teeth. We help give instruction and talk about specific recommendations for your child’s teeth since technique and instruction changes depending on the age and abilities of the child.
Another reason to bring them in is that children aren’t scared our office when they are so young. A lot of parents worry about their child developing a fear of the dentist and so they stay away until they deem their child old enough to come to the dentist or if they spot a problem. Waiting until the child is two or three years old means your child will be old enough to have that fear. Starting them out young and helping them realize it’s a fun environment that they can feel comfortable goes a long way in preventing dental office fears later in childhood.
What Will the Visit Look Like?
We don’t do anything invasive at such a young age, just a visual exam. Using mirrors and a small toothbrush, it’s more like playing with the baby to inspect the gums and count teeth coming in. It is usually easiest to let baby stay in mom or dad’s lap for the visit and so there is anxiety for the parents and the child.
Taking care of your child’s teeth is a priority to us and we want you and your child to feel comfortable in our office. If there are any questions you have or adjustments you would like us to make during your visit, please don’t hesitate to speak up. We look forward to helping keep all of your family’s teeth healthy and beautiful.