Looking into your pediatric dentistry options? Parents can choose the type of dentist they want to take their child to, with general dentists, family dentists and pediatric dentists being the main three choices. Since children should be seen by a dentist by the time they reach the age of 12 months, making a decision as…
Kid’s Dental Check-Up: A Parent’s Guide from a Pediatrc Dentist
Most parents understand the importance of taking their child to a pediatric dentist for routine exams. However, many parents are not as sure of the recommended frequency of those visits or what to expect from each appointment. To help children understand the necessity of dental visits, it is a good idea for Mom and Dad to get familiar with the process first.
Frequency of visits
One of the first questions typically asked of a dentist for children is "How often should a child see a dentist?" The answer is dependent on several factors: age, oral health and history.
While it may seem unnecessary to have a child visit a dentist before the age of one, most baby teeth begin to erupt between the ages of six months to one year. It is crucial to receive at least one checkup within this six-month window to ensure that the baby's primary teeth are developing as scheduled. Also, an exam at this early stage will help a dentist identify any potential gum or oral developmental issues.
Toddlers and older
After the age of one, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends scheduling bi-annual checkups. By returning for visits every six months, a dentist can develop a healthy patient-doctor relationship and also create a thorough history that allows for early intervention in any potential dental issues.
It is not uncommon for a child to fear the dentist, especially if it is the first visit. People, including infants, fear the unknown. A parent can help limit these fears and anxieties by being positive about the experience, listening to any concerns of the child and encouraging open communication. To aid in compliance, schedule appointments for early mornings or after midday naps. If a child is well-rested, they are more likely to cooperate with the exam. Beyond these steps, it helps if a parent can help a child understand the exam process and what is expected to occur.
For early evaluations and first visits, a pediatric dentist will probably have a parent hold the child during the exam, although, some may place the child on a table or in a chair. The dentist will then examine the child's mouth and discuss oral hygiene with the parents. The dentist may also look for any signs of issues caused by a pacifier and determine if the patient is getting enough fluoride to promote healthy oral development.
Toddlers and older
The pattern of the exams will remain similar throughout a child's development, with the patient getting more involved as time passes. For toddlers and school-age children, a dentist will probably take dental X-rays to ensure proper tooth growth. Also, depending on the situation and the patient, a dentist may find it necessary to perform diagnostic procedures, apply dental sealants, repair cavities, examine spacing concerns, determine the need for pre-orthodontic treatment and counsel the patient on proper dental maintenance and hygiene.
A pediatric dentist can be as essential for a child's healthy development as a primary care physician. These professionals ensure that a child, from infancy to late adolescence, has a bright and healthy smile, capable of lasting a lifetime.
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