Caring for your children is such a whirlwind experience. If there’s a spare moment in the day, you didn’t see it! In all of this, it’s easy to forget or not even consider when to get your child to the dentist for the first time. At Gentle Dental, we take great pride in our dental care for our littlest patients. And this is ultimately important because dental care that starts right usually stays right for the rest of a person’s life.
What is pediatric dentistry?
Pediatric dentistry, commonly known as pedodontics, targets the oral health of children from birth until adolescence. Taking care of children’s teeth demands some additional skills beyond pure dentistry. There’s an art to pediatric dentistry, acknowledging a child’s misgivings about going to the dentist, while at the same time performing the evaluations needed. A large part of our pediatric care is also educational, showing children the value of proper dental care along with the nuts and bolts of how to do it. Of course, if early intervention is needed to correct dental problems, we take care of that, too.
The first visit
The first dental visit should coincide with the eruption of the child’s first tooth, usually before the first birthday. Like adults, the American Dental Associaiton recommends that children see their dentist every six months to achieve optimal dental health. This may seem like overkill considering your child has but one or two teeth, but it’s important at this time to develop the patterns of care. Plus, if there is a problem, we can see it early and decide on the proper course of care.
What should I use in cleaning my child’s baby teeth?
When you’re cleaning your baby’s teeth, you won’t use a regular toothbrush. You need a specifically designed soft-bristled infant toothbrush. With this soft toothbrush, you will brush the baby’s teeth and gums once a day. This will prevent the buildup of bacteria and plaque that can lead to cavities.
My child still sucks his thumb and uses a pacifier. Would this affect his teeth?
Thumb sucking and pacifier sucking are normal self-comforting behaviors in very small children. But if allowed to continue for too long, they can lead to dental problems. Normally, children grow out of these habits on their own, but if they persists until your child is three years old, we may recommend the use of a mouth appliance to counter this problem. Continued thumb sucking will lead to orthodontic issues, so it’s better to stop the practice rather than allow it to continue.