Picture this: It’s 3:00 a.m. and you’re up with a crying, teething baby. A quick look in their mouth confirms that their first, tiny tooth is making its grand entrance. Sure you are focused on your wailing child and lack of sleep, but have you thought about scheduling their first dental visit yet? It could be more critical than you think.
A common misconception is that baby teeth are not as important as permanent teeth. Yes, they are temporary, but baby teeth are just as significant as permanent teeth. In fact, tooth decay that occurs in baby teeth could lead to oral issues once adult teeth appear.
So what’s a nervous, sleep-deprived parent supposed to do? Well first, keep brushing those teensy teeth and gums. Use a small amount of toothpaste and wipe their gums with a cloth after feedings. Next, schedule their first dentist appointment. The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends your baby’s first visit should be when the first tooth erupts in the mouth (usually takes place between 6 months and 1 year of age).
Once their first visit rolls around, here are some tips to make the first appointment go smoothly:
- – Schedule your appointment during a time of day when your little one will be most cooperative (not during nap or meal times).
- – Consider choosing a pediatric dentist who will be prepared to accommodate your wiggly (and possibly vocal) child. A pediatric dentist is dedicated and trained for infant oral care all the way through teen years.
- – Talk to your child about the dentist, well before their appointment. Explain what the dentist will do and emphasize why they are doing it (to keep them healthy).
- Stay relaxed during the visit. If you are nervous, it’s likely they will be to. Use comforting, positive language before, during and after your visit.
- – Establish their gum and brushing routine early on. A healthy mouth will make their first visit much easier on you and them!
So the bottom line is, don’t wait until there is an issue to visit the dentist; make sure you schedule your child’s first appointment early when teeth and gums are healthy. Not only will it will be easier for you and your child, it will help lead to a happy, healthy mouth. If you have a question or concern about your child, please schedule an appointment with your dentist to discuss.