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The First Year of Life
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends your child’s first visit to the dentist should be scheduled by the first birthday. Don’t wait until there is a problem!
Why So Early?
Your child’s visits should begin early for more than one reason:
- Many baby teeth remain until eleven or twelve years of age.
- Baby teeth can quickly decay due to baby bottle syndrome. Often cavities form on the backside of the upper front teeth. The cavities are not visible by most parents until the decay spreads. Your pediatric dentist can suggest ways to avoid the problem. He can also spot problems early before they get out of hand.
- Good preventive habits begin early.
- Establishing a relationship with a pediatric dentist early helps if there is an accident and you are looking for emergency treatment.
- Some issues you may face in the first year of life.
- Early habits such as pacifier sucking are OK unless they continue too long or are done in excess.
- It is recommended that bottle-feeding be discontinued at around 12 months of age. Leaving juice or milk in a bottle at naptime or bedtime is especially dangerous. If your child needs a bottle as a pacifier, place only water in the bottle.
- You must begin cleaning the child’s teeth as soon as they appear.
- Your child’s first tooth will likely appear around 6 months of age, give or take a few months.
- Proper diet and fluoride considerations should be evaluated early to provide optimum intake of fluoride and nutrients for your child’s developing teeth.
What should I tell my child about their first visit?
It is best if you refrain from using words around your child that might cause unnecessary fear, such as “needle”, “shot”, “pull”, “drill” or “hurt”. The office makes a practice of using words that convey the same message, but are pleasant and non-frightening to the child.
Can I go back with my child during treatment?
Absolutely! You are more than welcome to go into the room with your child. Often times after the child and parent become comfortable with the new surroundings, many parents will return to the comfort of the reception room while their child finishes the dental treatment. They are free to return at any time to check on their child’s progress.For the safety and privacy of all patients, other children who are not being treated should remain in the reception room with a supervising adult.