One of the biggest struggles of being a parent is figuring out how to care for your little one’s teeth. You know you’ve got to start them early, so you can teach them good dental habits that they can carry through life.
If you’re pulling at straws trying to figure out where to begin, it might be a good idea to get on the phone with a pediatric dentist. They’ll be able to answer any burning questions you have about your child’s oral health routine.
Are you not sure what to ask them? We can help you with that. Here are a few common questions that parents ask pediatric dentists.
1. When Should My Child Go for Their First Dental Visit?
You should schedule your child’s first dental visit when they turn one. If their first tooth appears before they turn one, go ahead and schedule that appointment.
You want to get them started with good dental hygiene practices while they’re still young. Making their first appointment when they’re this small will also get them more comfortable with seeing their dentist.
2. What Will Happen During the First Visit?
Your child’s first exam will happen differently depending on how scared they are and how old they are. The goal is to do a brief dental exam and fluoride varnish.
If your child appears to be uncomfortable, the dentist may elect to only do the dental exam. You might be asked to hold your child in your lap during this exam to make them feel more at ease.
If your dentist can’t do the fluoride varnish, it’s not the end of the world. Being able to get the first visit out of the way and doing the exam is a huge first step.
3. How Often Do They Need to Visit the Dentist?
You will need to make a dental appointment for your child every six months. This will allow their dentist to spot cavities and other issues before they get too out of hand.
If you wait too long to make a dental appointment and these issues aren’t caught, it will be harder for the dentist to treat them. This could lead to permanent damage.
4. Do Baby Teeth Matter?
Many parents have the mindset that baby teeth don’t matter because they’re going to fall out anyway. We’re here to tell you that they do matter. Your child’s primary teeth are what set their permanent teeth in the right position.
The condition of your child’s primary teeth also impacts their speech and how they chew. Teaching your child how to take care of their primary teeth will ensure that they know how to take care of their permanent ones as well.
5. How is My Pediatric Dentist Different Than a Family One?
There are a lot of people who believe that pediatric and family dentists are the same thing, but this isn’t true. They are a tad bit different.
The best pediatric dentist is specially trained to take care of children’s teeth. Their offices are usually set up in a way to make children feel less anxious. Speaking of dental fear, the staff are trained to handle it.
6. How Do I Brush My Baby’s Teeth?
So, how do you take care of your child’s teeth and gums before they’re old enough for their first appointment? You can use a damp washcloth to wipe away any plaque. There are also special dental wipes that you can buy.
Do this once a night before bedtime until they get old enough to start using a fluoride-free toothpaste. We say fluoride-free because children don’t quite get the concept of spitting things out until they are older.
Swallowing fluoride toothpaste may make them sick. Wait until they are about four before you switch them over.
7. Is it Okay for My Child to Suck Their Thumb?
Thumb sucking and using the pacifier are soothing activities that can allow a child to stay calm. There’s nothing wrong with allowing them to do it until their permanent teeth are ready to come in.
If they’re still sucking their thumb then, it could cause their permanent teeth to grow crooked. Most children kick the habit by the time they’re four years old. If yours hasn’t, the best course of action is to sit down and talk to them about it. If that doesn’t help, there are tools available that you can use
8. Are X-Rays Safe?
Unless your child has been in some kind of accident that involves their teeth, your dentist won’t ask to x-ray your child until they are seven years old. There are certain things that the x-ray can catch that would go unnoticed with a regular old dental exam.
The dentist will be looking to make sure your child’s teeth are developing the way they should. Rest assured, the procedure is safe.
The technology exists to limit the amount of radiation your child is exposed to. Trust us when we say the x-ray is less risky than letting any dental problems go undetected.
Questions All Parents Should Ask a Pediatric Dentist
When it comes to your kid’s dental health, it’s important to start earlier rather than later. By making an appointment with your child’s pediatric dentist, you’ll be showing them how important their oral health is.
The question is, when should you make an appointment and how often should you make one? We can let you know and answer any of the other burning questions on this list. Contact us to get started today.