Your Child's First Dental Visit: A Guide For New Parents In Sarnia-Lambton

Your Child’s First Dental Visit: A Guide For New Parents In Sarnia-Lambton

Most infants get their first tooth sometime between the age of 6 and 12 months. By the time they’re around 2 years old, they’ll be close to having all 20 primary (baby) teeth. Being prepared to care for their teeth from an early age can set your child’s smile up for success in the years to come.

In the helpful guide for new parents, this Sarnia-Lambton family dentist is going to cover what’s below. Feel free to click the link to jump to the section that you’re most interested in.

At What Age Should A Child Go To The Dentist For The First Time?
What Happens At Baby’s First Dentist Appointment?
Is Dental Work Necessary On Baby Teeth?
When Should You Start Cleaning Baby’s Teeth?
How To Care For Your Baby’s Teeth Between Checkups

At What Age Should A Child Go To The Dentist For The First Time?

One of the first steps in every child’s oral health journey is their first trip to the dentist. Most pediatric dental experts as well as pediatricians recommend bringing children in for their first oral exam either by the time their first tooth erupts or they turn 1 year old, whichever happens first.

Early preventative care helps establish dental health in a positive light. It also lowers your child’s chances of suffering from a preventable dental emergency. Even though your child may not have more than a few teeth during their first dental exam, these early screenings can be priceless when it comes to caring for your little one’s smile.

Sometimes earlier trips to the dentist are needed. Perhaps even just a few weeks after giving birth, specifically if your newborn is suffering from a tongue tie, which can interfere with nursing or feeding.

What Happens At Baby’s First Dentist Appointment?

Your child’s first dental appointment is both for them as well as you, the parent. Some of the things you can expect include:

  • An exam with the dentist
  • Review of dietary habits
  • Assessment of soft tissues, including the lips and tongue
  • Discussing finger, thumb, or pacifier sucking
  • Introduction to infant oral hygiene methods
  • Screening for oral infections
  • Evaluation of growth patterns and swallowing
  • Parent/caregiver education

As your child gets a little older and starts to get more teeth, we’ll also begin incorporating gentle cleanings, fluoride treatment, pediatric oral hygiene education, and radiographs as needed. It’s important to work at your child’s pace to ensure they’re comfortable, reducing the risks of dental anxiety in the future.

Early intervention related to growth patterns, tooth eruption, and hygiene can statistically lower the chances of pediatric dental problems as your child matures.

Is Dental Work Necessary On Baby Teeth?

Toddlers, preschoolers, and younger children who have cavities in baby teeth may need restorative dental treatment. Since tooth decay is a bacterial infection that can spread, it’s crucial to treat it at the earliest signs. Otherwise, small cavities can become multiple areas of decay or even abscessed teeth.

At this point, a lot of parents ask if it’s easier to have a baby tooth pulled than it is to place a filling or crown. While it may seem a logical choice, prematurely removing a baby tooth can permanently alter the eruption pattern and alignment of developing adult teeth. The wiser option is to preserve the natural tooth when possible to avoid more serious complications or orthodontic concerns.

When Should You Start Cleaning Baby’s Teeth?

Start cleaning your baby’s mouth before the teeth ever erupt. Use a clean, damp, soft washcloth over your finger to rub their gums after feedings. As teeth start to erupt, use a training toothbrush to make circular motions over the entire surface.

Be sure to select an age-appropriate toothbrush. Getting one that’s too large will prevent you from being able to reach around each of your infant’s small baby teeth.

Professional teeth cleanings start usually when your  child is 3 years old. Again, much of it depends on your child’s comfort level and experience in the dental office.

How To Care For Your Baby’s Teeth Between Checkups

Brush your baby’s teeth twice a day. As your child gets older, they’ll want to start brushing on their own. Although it’s fine to encourage your child to brush their teeth, you’ll want to follow up behind them to re-brush at least until they’re able to tie their own shoes (due to their limited dexterity.)

The most recent recommendations are to use a rice-grain sized smear of fluoride toothpaste when brushing baby teeth.

As more teeth erupt, you’ll want to start using a flosser to clean between them each day. Especially where teeth are touching side by side.

Other Things to Keep in Mind

Working with a family dentist early on can help your child avoid preventable conditions. Particularly those attributed to growth patterns, impacted teeth, and speech impediments. Plan to visit our Sarnia-Lambton family dentist twice a year. If your little one is getting closer to their first birthday, go ahead and contact us to reserve their first appointment.

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