By Nurse Diane
I remember the first time I went to the dentist as I child. Well I don’t remember the particulars, like what the dentist looked like - or his assistant - or even what he did - I just remember he had a cork board on his wall that was full of toys, and when I left, I got to pick a toy. What else do you need to remember other than free toys? I remember a little more when I took my son to his first dentist appointment. Things had changed quite a bit. His dentist was a pediatrician dentist, meaning he only cared for children before the age of 18 years. He had video games in the lobby, and bright colors and toys everywhere.
He had a young staff who made the kids feel at ease, and I was allowed to go back with him to make sure he wasn't frightened. They even took his picture so I would have something to place in his baby book. He continued seeing this dentist every year until he turned 18, and even then he wanted to keep going to see him. That is an important part of starting dental care. To make sure the child has a good comfortable experience.
This is National Children’s Dental Health Month. The ADA recommends that the first dental visit should begin by the child's first birthday, when the first teeth begin to erupt.
First visits are mostly about getting kids used to the dentist's chair and educating parents about how to care for baby's teeth. If your child has transitioned from the bottle to cup and doesn't snack or drink in the middle of the night, you get a one-year pass, until age 2. That's when the standard every-six-month dental visit recommendation kicks into gear. When your child is between ages 4 and 6, expect your dentist to take a first set of X-rays to check for cavities lurking between the teeth.
Prevention is the name of the game between ages 6 and 12, when baby teeth give way to permanent teeth. Your child's dentist will probably suggest a sealant, a plastic resin that bonds to teeth chewing surfaces, between ages 7 and 9. Cavity-prone molars are the most likely site for treatment. The resin keeps cavity-causing bacteria from getting into the grooves and valleys of teeth.
Also, when your child is around age 7, his dentist will likely suggest an orthodontic evaluation. Most kids will wait until their early teens for braces, but orthodontics is about modifying jaw growth, so identifying skeletal causes of crooked teeth early helps ensure a beautiful smile later on.
My stepson took his daughter to her first dental appointment yesterday; she will be 4 in July. He told me that she will be needing some work done. That is why it is so important to start early dental visits to ensure good dental health at a early age. If you have small children in your family, encourage their parents to seek a pediatric dentist to start proper dental care at an early age to maintain a healthy and long lasting smile