How Often Should My Child See a Dentist?

How Often Should My Child See a Dentist?

by Alex Hirsch (SU)

Your baby comes into the world without any teeth, but oral health maintenance should begin as soon as the first tooth appears. If the baby’s teeth are stubborn and haven’t appeared by your child’s first birthday, it is recommended that you make a dental appointment to have the child’s mouth and gums checked.

It is of utmost importance to take your child to the dentist every six months to help ensure optimal oral health. A dentist who is well-versed in pediatric dentistry knows what to look for and how to diagnose any issues that must be remedied.

Why Your Child Should Have Regular Dental Appointments

Early signs of dental decay or disease can be detected through regular visits. A dentist can detect changes in the child’s mouth that have occurred since the last appointment, so the dentist can implement measures to prevent further damage.

One common mistake that many parents make is to wait until the child’s permanent teeth come in before taking the child to a dentist. The parents may believe that the baby teeth aren’t important to the child’s oral health since they fall out.

However, primary (baby) teeth behave as a placement guide for permanent teeth, so pediatric dentistry is very important. The baby teeth are located directly above the permanent teeth. 

The permanent tooth pushes up against the roots of the baby tooth for full replacement. If this doesn’t occur properly, the child may have two rows of teeth – which tends to happen in the lower teeth.

A dentist can remedy this problem before it becomes a more long-term, more heavily invasive issue to address.

Can Baby Teeth Decay?

Baby teeth are just as susceptible to decay as are permanent teeth. According to the American Dental Association, breastfeeding helps to reduce “baby bottle tooth decay.”

Baby bottle tooth decay can occur when an infant is exposed to drinks that contain sugar, including formulas. Placing a baby to sleep with a bottle or using a bottle to settle a fussy baby can exacerbate decay in a baby’s teeth. Breastfed babies can also get cavities, but not as readily as those who are bottle-fed.

Whether your baby is being breastfed or is in the bottle phase, parents are encouraged to gently wipe the baby’s gums every day with a soft, damp washcloth. This helps to exercise the gums and helps prevent decay. 

Once teeth emerge, gently brush them at least twice a day. Use a soft toothbrush with only a small pea-sized bit of fluoride toothpaste.

Early Dental Visits Help to Eliminate Fear of the Dentist

Taking your child to the dentist when they are young is also a great way to help them acclimate to regular dental appointments. The child is much less likely to be afraid of visiting the dentist later on, which is actually a common fear among adults.

What Your Child Can Expect

The dentist will inspect the child’s teeth and gums for tooth decay and other diseases. The dentist will be very careful regarding the amount of radiation to which your child is exposed; X-rays are safe for the child, who will be wearing a lead apron during the process. 

Our X-ray system ensures that the child isn’t exposed for a prolonged length of time. The child will also be educated on proper brushing techniques.

Family Dentist in the Twin Cities

Hagerman Dental Care provides dentistry for the whole family – both children and adults. 

Contact us today to schedule an appointment for you and your child by calling (651) 646-2392, or fill out our simple online appointment request form. Our dental office is kid-friendly, and we aim to be a place that people of all ages look forward to visiting at least twice a year.