Hunter Armbrister, RDH
We are often asked when a child should go to the dentist for the first time. Many parent’s think they should wait until a child has all of their baby teeth before seeing a dentist. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a child see a dentist shortly after the first tooth comes in or no later than the child’s first birthday.
At a child’s first dental appointment we want to examine the teeth and discuss potential risks for decay and look at conditions or habits that can affect facial development. Some questions we may ask at your child’s appointment would be:
- What is your child’s diet like? Is your child consuming a lot of sugary foods or drinks? Sugary foods and drinks put the child at high risk for cavities, this includes milk which is high in sugar.
- How often is your child brushing their teeth? Are they exposed to any fluoride? It’s important to help your child brush twice daily as soon as the first tooth erupts. Children under 3 can use the equivalent to the size of a grain of rice of fluoridated toothpaste, which helps strengthen the teeth. We apply topical fluoride to children’s teeth each time they are seen for an exam.
- Does your child suck their fingers or use a pacifier? Are they drinking from a bottle? Sucking on fingers or pacifiers for an extended period of time can cause problems in facial development. Using a bottle can also play a role in facial abnormalities.
- Is your child breathing through their nose or mouth? We should only breathe through our noses, unless we are sick and unable. This can bring up multiple concerns, such as, limited airway, enlarged tonsils, facial development, and behavioral problems.
If you have a child in need of a dental appointment, give our office a call! We would love to get you established and discuss these questions in further!