Long gone are the words, “I am going to make a dental appointment for my child.” Dental care is an important aspect of the child’s overall health. The notion of a going to a dentist is already scary for a child, who has previous misconceptions about how dentists are “scary monsters who hurt you by pulling your teeth out.” The phrase “dental appointment” has now been replaced by “dental home.” If you’re like most parents whose newborns and infants are ready to be seen by the dentist, a question you may have is, “at what age should I bring my son/daughter to the dentist?”. The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children be seen by a dentist and establish a dental home after the eruption of the first tooth, and no later than 12 months of age!

The first visit to the pediatric dentist generally varies due to the location, the dental practice management, the allocated time for the appointment, etc. During the first visit, the pediatric dentist will get to observe your child’s behavior, establish a relationship with the child and assess the child’s home dental regimen. Be prepared to answer questions such as, “when did your child’s first tooth erupt?”, or “typically, what does the child eat on a regular basis?”. Be ready to answer certain questions about you and your child’s habits.

  1. When did your child’s first tooth erupt? Does he/she still use a pacifier? For how long has he/she been using the pacifier? What are his/her breastfeeding/bottle feeding activities? These questions helps the pediatric dentist establish the child’s growth, development and behavior patterns.
  2. What is the typical diet of you and your child? Does he/she snack often? Assessing the child’s and your nutrition habits will help the pediatric dentist understand the caloric intake, as well as the sugar intake of your child.
  3. Has your child ever lost a tooth in an accident? Does your child play sports? Your dentist will give you guidelines about dental emergencies and trauma.
  4. Has your child ever received pit and fissure sealants? The dentist will then talk about the benefits of sealing the child’s teeth to prevent caries.
  5. What city do you live in? Which toothpaste does your child use when he/she brushes her teeth? The optimal fluoride exposure that a child should be receiving is 0.7 ppm. Depending on the child’s fluoride exposure the dentist may prescribe fluoride chewables or drops for your child to take everyday.

Remember, these are just a few of the questions that you may expect at your first dental visit. Be sure to ask questions in order to get a comprehensive guide on how to properly take care of your child’s oral environment! Their innocent and beautiful smiles are an asset to this world!

 

References:

[1] http://www.aapd.org/assets/1/25/ASDC-AAP-05-01.pdf

[2] http://www.aapd.org/media/Policies_Guidelines/G_fluoridetherapy.pdf

[3] https://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/benefits/downloads/child-dental-guide.pdf

[4] http://www.aapd.org/media/policies_guidelines/p_dentalhome.pdf

 

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Dhwani is a dentist and has formal education in Biology, Global Medicine and Biotechnology. Health Stories for Kids' mission aligns with Dhwani's philanthropic passion for changing the lives of people, by bringing a beautiful smile to their face, because a smile is a universal language that we all speak.