Many parents wonder when they should start routine dental appointments for their children. The answer varies, but most pediatric dentists agree that a child should see a dentist at least once by their first birthday. Some recommend scheduling the first visit when the first teeth erupt. Parents may not understand the importance of dental visits during infancy. However, there are a number of reasons to heed the advice of professionals. The following points identify a few reasons why pediatric dental exams are an important part of overall health for children and why these exams can give parents peace of mind.
A portion of preventative care occurs at home. This is in the form of tooth brushing and flossing. In a pediatric dentist's office, preventative treatments such as fluoride treatments and sealants can be implemented.
Dentists will usually educate parents when children are not old enough to understand. However, as a child gets older, they will attempt to explain the importance of oral hygiene in terms that children can understand. Part of this education will eventually include showing children the correct way to brush and floss their teeth. Older children who exhibit obvious signs of not heeding the advice can be taught the potential consequences of ignoring good oral hygiene habits. Many dentists have a variety of videos and other visual materials to show children how tartar buildup and cavities look.
Some dental issues occur below the gum line. Pediatric dentists can correct or monitor these issues when children get their routine pediatric dental exams. These dental exams often include X-rays. Special equipment can also be used to detect cavities. Some cavities are not brown or black but rather appear as white spots that may not be clearly visible without adequate lighting.
It might be hard to believe that children have habits that can put them at high risk for dental complications. One common risk is thumb sucking or using a pacifier beyond the years of intended use. Another risk would be prolonged use of bottles and sippy cups containing juice or milk. Both of these can lead to decay.
A pediatric dentist is a good resource to use to learn more about the importance of pediatric dental exams. By starting early, parents can give their children a solid foundation that can aid in ensuring they know the importance of good oral health. Dental exams are something that individuals can expect to have for the duration of their lives if they want healthy teeth and gums.