The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends scheduling your child’s first dental appointment within six months of their first tooth erupting or by their first birthday, but many parents miss both of these milestones. If your child is already a toddler, you should schedule them an appointment with the pediatric dentist as soon as possible. Here’s what you need to know:
When To Contact a Pediatric Dentist ASAP
Dental caries is the most common issue suffered by children under the age of five in the United States. Early childhood caries includes one or more decayed, missing (due to decay), or filled teeth. If your child has any of the following signs, they may have dental caries, and you should take them to the pediatric dentist immediately:
- One or more teeth appear grey or black
- One or more teeth have become loose or fallen out due to decay
- One or more teeth have chipped enamel due to decay
- The child’s gums bleed while brushing
- You can smell a decaying odor coming from the child’s mouth
Ideally, you should wait until those late stages, but if you do, that’s okay. Your child can still be helped and put back on the path to great oral hygiene. Of course, even if you don’t see any symptoms that severe, you should still schedule an appointment with the pediatric dentist especially if your child hasn’t been to the dentist or if it’s been more than a year since their last appointment.
How to Prepare Your Toddler for the Dentist
To prepare your child for the dentist, let them know about the appointment. Use books or videos to introduce them to the idea, and consider play acting a dentist appointment with a stuffed animal or a doll so your child knows what to expect.
Don’t introduce the idea of fear to your child. Instead, approach the dentist just as you do going to the doctor. It’s a normal and necessary part of a healthy child’s life.
Why Dental Hygiene at Home Is So Important
To keep your child’s teeth and mouth as healthy as possible, you also need to help your child practice good oral hygiene habits at home. Make sure that you are brushing every morning and before bed. Let your child brush for a bit on their own, but to ensure your toddler’s teeth are clean, you should brush their teeth as well. Also, don’t forget to floss and rinse. Consider brushing with your child so they can see you doing it. That can emphasize the importance of strong oral hygiene.
Where to Find the Best Pediatric Dentist
Your child deserves the best pediatric dentist. Find a dental clinic that understands dentistry for children. So that you can continue to set an example for your child, choose a family dental clinic rather than a pediatric clinic. That way, you can both see the same dentist.
Also, look for a family and pediatric dentist who has a strong mission statement. You and your child deserve to receive the highest level of service from ethical care providers who put you first. You want to be in a family-friendly environment where the dentists are just as concerned with making you smile as they are with protecting your smile.
To set up an appointment with a pediatric dentist, contact us today. At Suwanee Center for Family Dentistry, we provide the care and comfort your toddler needs for their first dental appointment.