Most children in America start seeing a pediatrician essentially from the moment they’re born. Therefore, most questions concerning their health are dealt with as time passes, and parents don’t have to think too much about when to take their child to the doctor and for what. There’s a general timeline that essentially everyone follows. Pediatric dentistry is a bit different in that different children start seeing the dentist at different ages, depending on what their parents decide. Often, new parents are unsure about when to start taking their children to the dentist — after all, it can be a good while before most children have a full set of baby teeth. But that doesn’t mean that the teeth they do have should be neglected. For that matter, many issues regarding childrens dentistry are more elective than strictly required — compared to, say, the vaccines that most kids have to have to go to public school. Therefore, while it’s hard enough for parents to decide when their child is going to see the dentist, and which dentist they’ll see — it’s often even harder for them to decide whether or not their child actually need to have a specific procedure done. Below, we’ll explore some of the main questions surrounding childrens dentistry, and hopefully help you find some answers.
When Should My Child Start Seeing The Dentist?
Lots of parents think that, while their child’s baby teeth are important, they don’t have to be as carefully cared for as adult teeth. After all, baby teeth are just placeholders, aren’t they? Actually, damage to baby teeth can cause serious issues later on in life, and sometimes can even affect the way adult teeth come in. You need to start caring for your baby’s teeth as soon as they become visible, which starts at around four months of age. As your baby’s gums will be rather fragile, you may want to begin by cleaning their teeth with a soft washcloth, slowly graduating to a toothbrush as they get older. With that being said, children under two likely shouldn’t be exposed to fluoride toothpaste unless your dentist or doctor says otherwise. Fluoride is an ingredient in a varnish that is commonly coated over’s children’s baby teeth, and can prevent about 33% of decay. Your child should start seeing the dentist on a regular basis at the age of one, during which you can talk to their dentist about how to best care for their teeth at home, as well as take part in preventative care.
How Serious Are Cavities?
Cavities are perhaps one of the biggest issues seen in childrens dentistry. All too often, children neglect their teeth — and their parents don’t realize this in time to stop them from getting cavities. Although cavities can be treated, kids dentists can tell you that they’re not only painful, but often disruptive in a child’s daily life. It’s estimated that over 40% of American children have cavities before they reach kindergarten, and the problem is that these cavities can often cause severe pain which leads to them missing school. Cavities can also turn into serious dental rot, which can negatively affect a child for the rest of his or her life. That’s why it’s so important to find a dentist for kids early. The sooner your child starts seeing a dentist, the sooner they’ll be able to properly care for their teeth and prevent problems like cavities.
Should Parents Consider Pediatric Orthodontics?
Whereas braces were once the norm in childrens dentistry, now some parents hesitate over having their child wear braces. While this hesitation is understandable, braces are far more beneficial to a young child than an older child. A young child has teeth that are better able to grow in accordance with the braces, and the appearance of braces is far less embarrassing to a child than an adult. For that matter, braces often take less time to do their jobs with young teeth than they would with older teeth. It’s more convenient for everyone involved.