Parents often ask their doctors and dentists, “When should a child go to the dentist?” Unfortunately, not all pediatricians are of one mind about this. In a survey of over 2,000 adults with young children, more than half reported that they had received no guidance from their kids’ pediatricians about dental visits. So it can be a challenge figuring out when the best time is to introduce a child to the dentist.
The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics have the same guidelines. Both groups state that children should visit a dentist six months after their first tooth appears. If they are late teethers, they should visit the dentist by their first birthday.
Why Early Dental Visits Are Important
Some parents shrug off routine dentist visits for young children, believing dental care is not important until they are older. Yet there are several good reasons to start dental visits early, including:
- Your children will be more comfortable. Young kids who see their dentists regularly are less likely to become anxious.
- Early visits can prevent future problems. A tooth can start to decay as soon as it comes in. This is why early visits to the dentist are crucial for a child’s continuing dental health.
- Kids learn about oral health care at home. A dentist teaches both the parents and their children the proper ways to take care of their teeth at home. Children often heed a professional’s advice better than a parent’s reminder.
Children’s diets are much different than they were a generation ago. The increase in sugary foods and drinks has caused many problems for today’s children requiring more frequent teeth cleanings. Promoting good oral health habits at home while routinely visiting the dentist is the best defense to protect your child’s teeth. A pediatric dentist will also tell parents which habits are bad for teeth. This may include falling asleep with a bottle or sucking a pacifier. Your child’s dentist can provide help and resources for dealing with these habits.
What to Look for in a Pediatric Dentist
Choosing a dentist for your child is as important as choosing a pediatrician. A pediatric dentist has special training to provide oral care for children. Kids’ dental needs differ from those of adults, and a pediatric dentist knows how to meet them.
Some dentists confine their practice to treating children from infancy through adolescence, including those with special health needs. Because they have completed several years of specialized training beyond dental school, pediatric dentists are well prepared to give your kids the best possible start toward a lifetime of good oral health.
These dental professionals choose to work with children because they like them. They take special care with their young patients. Their goal is to make children comfortable at the dentist’s office while providing care. They also speak with the parents and encourage them to help their kids develop proper habits.
Dentists that are not trained in pediatrics often refuse to see children under the age of three. You may love your current dentist and want your child to see him or her. However, you will need to find a pediatric dentist if your child is younger than three. You can transfer their care when they get older.
Lovett Dental Beaumont
Our pediatric dentists at Lovett Dental Beaumont are well-qualified and eager to work with your child. We offer everything from routine dental care to counseling for breaking habits like thumb-sucking. Call Lovett Dental in Beaumont, TX, today at 409-924-8100 if you have a child who is at least a year old and has not yet visited a dentist. We can get your child on the right path to positive oral health habits.