Despite the recommendations of dentists, many children do not see a dentist for the first time until they are two or older. When parents wait this long, they are missing an opportunity to set up their child for a lifetime of dental health. There are many reasons to bring your child to the dentist by their first birthday, or six months after the first appearance of a baby tooth.
Primary Teeth: More Important Than You May Realize
Many people falsely believe that primary teeth, or “baby teeth”, do not really matter because they will eventually fall out anyway. It is very important, however, to keep these teeth healthy and to make sure they do not fall out before they should. The primary teeth serve many important purposes.
For starters, these teeth help to save space for the permanent teeth when they come in. Children who lose primary teeth early may also not be able to properly chew their food, something that can potentially impact their overall health. Having healthy teeth in the proper position is also important for the development of speech. Finally, healthy teeth ensure that children can grow confident with their smile.
Learning to Love the Dentist
While loving coming to the dentist may be a bit of a stretch, early visits can help reduce fear for children. Regular visits help your child get used to the building, the dentist(s) and the staff, which can increase their comfort level overall.
Tips for Helping Your Child Prepare for the Dentist
As a parent, there are other things that you can do to help your child feel good about a visit to the dentist’s office. They include:
- Play Dentist: One of the best ways to teach your child what to expect is to “play”dentist at home. You can be the dentist first, but be sure to give your child a turn to look around inside your mouth. Counting each others teeth is a good way to get your child used to
what a dental exam will feel like.
- Let Them Tag Along: If possible, schedule your own dental visit shortly before your child goes in for the first time. They can watch what happens and see how it is nothing to be afraid of.
- Time it Carefully: Try to avoid scheduling your appointment around your child’s nap time, pediatrician wellness visit, or pediatric vaccination appointments . Being well-rested helps to lessen anxiety. Also, try to leave early enough to get to your appointment with plenty of time. Children can pick up on their parent’s anxiety, so it is important everyone is relaxed.
Schedule An Appointment
The team here at Sprout Kids Dentistry can help get both you and your child through that important first checkup. Schedule an appointment online or over the phone today.