Being a savvy parent, you want the best of everything for your child. Of course, this list is topped by the best of health. Dental health is such an important part of your child’s wellness! With early dental care comes the best in prevention and early detection of dental problems.
According to the American Dental Association, dental wellness visits for your baby should begin before his first birthday! It’s true. A pediatric dentist can begin to provide dental care for even those tiny tots and set him on the road to a lifetime of good dental habits.
Assuming you have already found the best pediatric dentist, you should go to your appointment prepared to learn everything you can about how to keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy.
Here are some of the questions that you must ask the pediatric dentist on that first visit.
WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN AT BABY’S FIRST DENTAL EXAM?
This first question is perhaps the one that will be causing you immediate anxiety. Before the exam begins, feel free to ask the dentist what to expect during this first dental exam. This can vary between dental practices depending on your child’s age, development, and needs.
Think of the dentist as a resource you can partner with. They are glad to answer questions. In fact, they are quite skilled at putting a nervous parent’s mind at ease.
WHEN CAN YOU EXPECT TEETHING START…AND END?
Teething. The mere word is enough to send even the most devoted parent to grab a set of earplugs! The thought of months of hearing the baby cry through the discomfort sends many parents into a feeling of helplessness.
The fact is that teething times vary between children. It can start as early as 6 months to 18 months and end at 24 to 36 months. Just as some babies grow more rapidly than others, some babies develop their teeth more quickly.
A visit to the pediatric dentist can help you pinpoint where your child is as far as her oral development. In addition, she will probably have a few tricks up her sleeve to help you and baby both have an easier time during the development of those important baby teeth.
WHAT SHOULD I DO TO MAINTAIN ORAL HYGIENE FOR MY CHILD?
As a parent, you probably feel that you can blink and your baby has grown! Their needs are constantly changing, and their oral hygiene needs are no exception.
A young baby needs a different toothbrush than a 3-year-old. Children need to be introduced to the concept of flossing early on. Older children need more toothpaste than younger ones. A skilled pediatric dentist can help you time these important transitions.
Preventive visits to the dentist will address these types of questions regarding your child’s oral hygiene. A good pediatric dentist will provide you with all the information and advice you need to adapt to your child’s ever-changing needs as his teeth develop.
DOES MY CHILD NEED FLUORIDE?
Fluoride treatments are an often asked question because it’s an issue that has so much conflicting and confusing information surrounding it.
Fluoride is a mineral that is mined from the earth. It helps strengthen tooth enamel and aid in resisting tooth decay. Great, right? Not so fast…too much isn’t a good thing in this case. If overused, fluoride can be toxic. See why there’s so much confusion?
When administered by a dentist, it’s perfectly safe. But before the dentist administers this, she will assess other environmental factors such as if you live in an area with fluoridated city water. It’s truly an intricate balancing act that must be overseen by a professional.
HOW WELL IS MY CHILD’S MOUTH AND JAW DEVELOPING?
Naturally, this question causes parents anxiety. You want to know if your child is developing a healthy, normal mouth and jaw. Ask this question at the conclusion of the appointment, and your mind will be at rest.
The answer from the dentist will elicit straight-forward advice on how to improve your child’s further development. Some issues that may arise in this conversation may be sugary treats, pacifiers, skipping toothbrushing, and thumbsucking.
These are topics that may cause you to bristle, but remember that the dentist has your child’s oral development at heart.
In conclusion, keep these questions in mind as you head off to take your baby to that crucial first dental appointment. Dentists love when parents are engaged and committed to improving their baby’s oral development. Like the parents, they also want their patients to learn how to keep their teeth for an entire healthy lifetime.
Dr. Holly Gregory is a proud Texas native and board-certified periodontal specialist. She has built a reputation for providing compassionate care and state-of-the-art dentist care in her Humble practice. Dr. Gregory is passionate about dental wellness for all people from birth to seniors, and loves sharing her knowledge firsthand.