Early Dental Care Matters
As a parent, you want the best for your child’s health and well-being. The problem is that many parents often believe that dental care is unnecessary until their child’s permanent teeth develop. However, this is a misconception that can lead to serious dental problems down the road.
By taking your child to a dentist’s office at an early age, you can help prevent dental problems from developing. The child’s dentist can identify any potential issues and provide preventive care to ensure that your child’s teeth and gums remain healthy.
This is why it’s important to prioritize dental care, starting with their first dental visit. But what is the right age for your child’s first dental visit? Let’s explore.
Why Early Dental Care Is Important
Taking care of your child’s teeth from a young age is important for their long-term dental — and overall — health. Not only does it help establish good oral hygiene habits, but it also sets them up for a lifetime of prioritizing their oral health and overall wellness.
Early dental care matters because it…
- Helps prevent cavities and tooth decay, which can lead to pain, trouble concentrating, and other medical issues.
- Ensures that their baby teeth are developing properly and that any problems are caught early.
- Allows dentists to provide guidance on proper brushing, flossing, and other essential oral hygiene habits.
- Helps children become comfortable with visiting the dentist, reducing anxiety or fear about dental procedures.
- Promotes healthy chewing and speech development, as well as confidence in smiling and socializing.
Going to the dentist earlier not only helps establish good oral hygiene habits but can also relieve parents of the nightly battles of trying to get their kids to brush and floss. As parents ourselves, we understand those battles well!
But by starting early, children are more likely to develop a positive attitude towards dental care and learn to love (as much as anyone can love) taking care of their baby pearls. Plus, catching any potential issues early on can save you from the stress and cost of more serious dental problems down the line.
When to Schedule the First Dental Cleaning with a Pediatric Dentist
Parents often wonder when it’s time for their child’s first dental cleaning. Some studies have reported that it’s best to bring them once you see their first tooth break through; for instance, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a child’s first dental visit should occur within six months after the first tooth appears, or by their first birthday.
What to Expect During the First Dental Cleaning Appointment
The first dental visit is usually brief and involves a visual examination of your child’s teeth and gums and a discussion with you about oral hygiene, dental health, and nutrition. Here’s what that looks like:
Before the teeth cleaning, our dental hygienist will review your child’s medical and dental history and ask about any concerns or issues. We have a welcoming and kid-friendly staff, so we always go out of our way to make you and your loved ones comfortable. Our hygienist will explain the cleaning process and answer any questions.
The Cleaning Process
Our hygienist starts off by giving their teeth a good cleaning with a tiny scaler to remove any pesky plaque and tartar buildup. Then they’ll use a powerful electric brush and special toothpaste to give those pearly whites a nice polish. Your little one will need to rinse their mouth out a few times during the process. And finally, to give their teeth an extra boost, our hygienist may apply a fluoride treatment to make them even stronger!
After the Cleaning
After the cleaning, the child’s teeth may feel sensitive or sore for a short time. The hygienist will provide instructions on how to care for the teeth and gums at home, including brushing and flossing techniques. They may also recommend a follow-up appointment in six months to a year.
5 Tips for Preparing Your Little One for Their First Dental Cleaning
Getting ready for your child’s first dental cleaning can be a nerve-wracking experience for both the parent and child. But there are several things you can do to help ease the process and make it a positive experience for everyone.
Here are some tips to help you prepare your child for their first dental cleaning:
- Start early. It’s important to start introducing your child to dental care at an early age. This can include brushing their teeth twice a day and scheduling regular dental checkups. By doing this, they will become more familiar with the dental environment and feel more comfortable during their first cleaning.
- Use positive language. When discussing their upcoming dental cleaning, use positive language to help them feel at ease. Use words like “clean” and “healthy.” This will help your child associate dental cleanings with positive experiences rather than negative ones.
- Practice at home. Before the cleaning, practice having your little one open their mouth wide and sit still for short periods of time. You can also use a toothbrush or a small mirror to help them become more comfortable with having someone look inside their mouth.
- Bring a comfort item. It can be helpful to bring a comfort item, such as a favorite toy or blanket, to the dental appointment. This can help your child feel more secure and relaxed during the cleaning.
- Reward good behavior. If your child behaves well during the cleaning, consider rewarding them with a small treat or special activity. This will help them associate dental cleanings with positive experiences and encourage good behavior in the future.
Ready to schedule your little one’s first dental cleaning?
If your little one has not had their first dental cleaning yet, now is the perfect time to schedule an appointment with us at Plancich Dental and Lakes Dentistry! By bringing your child in early, we can help establish good oral hygiene habits and prevent serious dental problems from developing.
Call us at 253-272-7400 or click here to schedule your child’s first dental cleaning with our experienced and friendly pediatric dentistry team.