When should your child first visit the dentist?
One common question we get asked is whether or not we see kids. The answer is yes! We love to see kids. We see kids of all ages. Our approach towards kids in general is to make the experience fun and not scary. We have several ways of doing this, for younger kids, after their appointment, they get to pick a toy out of our treasure chest. In fact it's not uncommon for kids to look forward to coming to see us just so they can get a prize! We have also found that many kids react quite well to magic tricks, as this can put even the most scared child at ease. Our emphasis when we see kids is always on prevention, as we truly believe that for a kid, the less dentistry the better. So we are very careful to review good hygiene care habits with the parents. Many oral health problems can be prevented with the proper mindset!
When should parents bring their kids in? Our recommendation to parents is to bring their kid in not too long after the first tooth erupts. Our goal at this point is to not do any elaborate procedures on them, but to get them used to coming to a dental office and to be comfortable in such an environment. We want to shape the child into an adult who understands the value of good oral health, and it starts from a young age. Not instilling these values early on has dire consequences for the child, such as future pain and suffering and tooth loss, all things which could have been prevented with the proper mind set.
For a very young child, the first appointment often involves just taking a very cursory look (as much as the child will allow us to look), with no x-rays. We call this a lap exam, because the child will usually be sitting on the parent’s lap. We will introduce a tooth brush, and try to make the experience fun for the child. Afterwards, our recommendation is to see the child for an exam twice a year. Usually at the age of two or three, they will have a full set of baby teeth. Baby teeth can be thought of as space maintainers for the permanent teeth. Prematurely losing a baby tooth can result in shifting and migration of the remaining teeth, leading to future misalignment of the child’s bite. This often requires expensive orthodontic treatment to correct. That's why it is of utmost importance to make sure that your child's baby teeth are healthy.
In summary, if you have kids, feel free to bring them! and we actually enjoy interacting with them, and helping them attain the level of oral health that they deserve!