Parents, especially new ones, are often surprised to learn that their child could benefit from visiting the dentist before the age of 1. Here are 7 reasons why it is recommended:
- Teeth can decay as soon as they appear in the mouth, so even a 6-month-old baby can get cavities!
- The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that cavity rates have increased for children ages 2-5 in the last decade.
- Most all dental problems are preventable! See the dentist early and get educated about preventive dental care. Your child will thank you for it!
- Dental problems only get worse with time. In some cases if decay is caught early, there are therapies that can reverse or minimize their growth.
- Children with less dental problems are more likely to grow up to be adults with positive attitudes about going to the dentist.
- The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends initial checkups for children no later than age 1.
- Check-ups for children under 3 are often free at pediatric dental offices!
Many parents often ask, “But how will you handle my child? He/she will not cooperate at this age.” At age 1, we generally only do an initial examination which lasts about a minute and with no discomfort to your child.
One of the most heartbreaking problems I see as a pediatric dentist is when a baby has tooth decay and infection that requires the removal of his/her baby teeth. Like many things in a young child’s life, this is something that we as parents can help prevent.
For more information please visit www.childrensdentistry.com!
Very often parents call us (some in a panic) concerned that their child’s permanent teeth are growing in but their baby teeth are not falling out. This occurrence is actually very common and I typically explain the following to parents:
- Baby teeth get loose and come out because the permanent teeth that usually grow in directly underneath them shrink the root of the baby tooth, thus making the baby tooth “rootless” so that it becomes loose enough to fall out.
- If the permanent tooth does not grow in directly underneath the baby tooth, the baby tooth will not get “pushed out”. This occurrence most commonly occurs on the lower front teeth (incisors) between the ages of 5-7 but can also occur in other teeth in the mouth as well. We often see permanent lower incisors growing in behind the lower baby incisors.
For most kids, having a second row of teeth will be temporary as the baby tooth will gradually fall out on their own. As soon as the permanent tooth erupts, parents should encourage their child to wiggle their baby tooth back and forth and also in a twisting motion. Some kids are willing and excited about doing this and others will refuse completely.
If the baby tooth is not showing signs of loosening, I recommend that it be removed by a dentist so that the permanent tooth can grow into its proper position. I will typically make this recommendation when the permanent incisor is at least half way erupted and the baby tooth is not getting more loose over time.
Thus, consider visiting your dentist if it appears that the baby tooth is not on its way out. If you do have to make that visit to the dentist, please know that in these circumstances, removal of a baby tooth is generally a painless and quick procedure that most kids tolerate just fine! Most of our patients go home with a smile excited about getting a visit from the tooth fairy!