Whether you have a toddler with teeth throughout their mouth or a baby with just one or two starting to emerge, it’s never too soon to start being proactive about your child’s oral hygiene.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to take your child to the dentist, let’s go over the facts about your baby’s teeth and when it is the right time to get them in to see their new pediatric dentist.
The First Tooth: When to Expect It
It is normal for your baby to start getting their teeth around 6 months old, give or take a month or two. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that your child should see a dentist before their first birthday or when their first tooth erupts (whichever comes first). It is advised not to wait longer than 12 months for your child’s first dental appointment even if they don’t have any visible teeth showing,
The First Dentist Visit: What to Expect
When you arrive at your pediatric dentist’s office, they will greet your baby and make sure your little one is as comfortable as possible. Pediatric dentists have additional special training dealing with children and have developed techniques to keep them calm and comfortable in the dentist’s chair. You will most likely stay in the room while the dentist checks your baby’s teeth and examines their gums, lips, tongue, jaw, and inside cheek.
The dentist will ask about family history and your dental history as well as if you’ve begun an oral hygiene routine with your baby. The first visit is mostly a routine check-up and normal questions about any habits like thumb-sucking, sleep habits and other patterns your baby may have that are related to their oral health. Feel free to ask as many questions as possible so you leave feeling confident and prepared for at home care (and your next visit).
Tips For Parents: How to Make Your Child’s Dentist Visit Go Smoothly
Remember that your child has no preconceived notions about the dentist, it’s just another fun ride in the car somewhere for them. Make sure not to instill negative feelings about the dentist or project any residual fears you may have onto your child. Their first dental visit is establishing a dentist that they may have for years to come, so here are some tips to help make sure the visit goes smoothly, each and every time.
Tip #1: Read a book and learn together. There are plenty of fun children’s books out there that get them ready for the dentist and explain it in a way they will enjoy and understand.
Tip #2: Stay positive. Use positive language to describe who the dentist is and that they are going to help your child grow strong, healthy teeth. Don’t get too detailed. Let your child infer their own opinion when they meet their new dentist
Tip #3: Be Prepared. In case your child does get scared or anxious, bring some of their favorite toys and distractions so they aren’t focused solely on the dentist’s office.
Tip #4: Plan a reward. Reassure them throughout the process and let them know that for being so good, they will get a trip to their favorite playground or place to get a tooth-friendly treat.
Baby’s First Oral Hygiene Lesson
Your baby is born with 20 primary teeth that are already in their jaw — these teeth start to push out (erupt) around 6 months to a year. Usually the first teeth to erupt are the top and bottom front teeth, but everyone is different, so don’t be worried if your child doesn’t follow that pattern.
Even before your baby’s first tooth comes in, it is important to follow some important practices to practice oral hygiene from the beginning. A few ways to practice for your baby’s first hygiene steps are:
- Wipe your baby’s gums with a small, wetted washcloth or soft toothbrush regularly, even before any teeth begin to show, to clean off any bacteria or food residue and get them used to cleaning their mouth.
- Make sure to use a soft child-size toothbrush for infants and toddlers.
- Brush your baby’s teeth twice a day, even if it’s just one tooth.
- Don’t let your baby sleep with a bottle in their mouth.
- Don’t fill bottles with juice or soda for them to suckle on.
- Don’t use a pacifier dipped in honey.
Is It Time For Your Baby’s First Dental Visit?
At Chillicothe Pediatric Dentistry, we look forward to meeting your child and giving them the highest quality dental treatment. We offer caring dentistry with a gentle touch and are happy to answer any questions about your child’s incoming teeth or any issues you may have.
Our team has extensive training in behavior management and the complex medical needs of children. When you and your child come into our office, you will find a kind and friendly environment for them to relax in while we handle any issues you may have.
Whether your child needs primary, preventative, restorative or surgical dental care, our skilled and compassionate team are here for your children. Chillicothe Pediatric Dentistry takes pride in providing the best dental care for children in Ross County and its surrounding areas. Call our office to speak with one of our helpful staff members and book an appointment today!