One of the most common questions we get from new parents at Northwest Dental Group is “when should my child first see the dentist?” It’s understandable that you might want advice on that topic, especially if your young one is your first child!
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child sees the dentist by their first birthday or the eruption of their first tooth and we follow that recommendation. But how important is that first visit? Many parents wonder if their child really needs to be seen when they just have one tooth and the answer is definitely yes!
Setting A Precedent For Care
That year one dental appointment for your child is important for several reasons. One of the biggest ones is that it sets a precedent for your child’s dental care future. By establishing routine dental care for your child they’ll grow up knowing that it’s an essential part of life!
When we see your child for their first birthday or tooth we aren’t going to be doing a thorough exam – there isn’t much there to examine! What we are doing, however, is establishing a record of care and keeping an eye on your child’s growing mouth. As they age we’ll be able to use the records from our early appointments to predict the future of their teeth growth and to plan treatment they may need down the road.
We also want your child to become comfortable with the dentist. Many patients who express fear of the dentist later in life were the same people who didn’t see the dentist very much as children! We recommend bringing your child with you to see us before they even need their first appointment. That way they can see the office, meet our staff, and see how easy dental care is when you get it done.
Decay Prevention In Children
Another common misperception that parents have is that baby teeth aren’t important. They might assume that decay in a baby tooth is bad but not that serious but the truth is definitely to the contrary! Your child’s baby teeth are essential in the growth of their permanent teeth. When a baby tooth is lost or extracted due to decay there is the chance that the space may be lost, leading to alignment issues and the need for braces later on.
That’s why we strongly emphasize preventive dental care for young patients. Those preventive measures include cleanings and exams but also feature several other treatments used to protect your child’s teeth from decay and damage as they age.
- Fluoride treatments are an essential part of preventing decay. Plaque acids destroy tooth enamel, leading to cavities, but fluoride actually remineralizes teeth! Fluoride treatments performed during regular dental exams at our Rochester dentist office will rebuild enamel, reversing damage caused by plaque acids between appointments.
- Dental sealants are a cheap, effective, and quick way to prevent tooth decay in children. We strongly recommend them for young patients, teenagers, and adults who are prone to cavities. Sealants are placed on the chewing surfaces of your premolars and molars, sealing the deep hard to clean spots where cavities tend to develop. They are made of a safe plastic material that is practically impossible to notice and can last several years before needing to be replaced.
Great Care Starts Early!
It’s important that your child see us before bad habits set in. We can help you set your child up for dental care success with easy preventive care, cleanings and exams, and answers to any of the questions you might have about their oral health. We’re ready to help your child grow into a healthy smile that they’ll have for years to come!
To start your child on the path to dental success call our Rochester dentist office today at 507-315-2932 or request an appointment by filling out our online form. We look forward to seeing you and your whole family soon!