Dental problems can start early in life, and dentists can provide recommendations for special care that will safeguard against common problems such as teething irritations, baby bottle tooth decay and prolonged thumb-sucking. While some parents will look for a specially trained pediatric dentist, most children are treated at their parents’ general dentist. Going to a family dentist is convenient for everyone but it also helps because they will already have your insurance information on file.
When should your child first visit the dentist?
Most dentists will recommend that you bring your child in for a checkup about six months after their first tooth erupts. Before their first visit, it’s important to prepare your child for what to expect and build excitement for meeting the dentist. The dentist may want you to bring your child’s medical records to help complete any required medical history forms. Because children's teeth are so vastly different than adult's teeth, you can expect some very different charges as well. Having your children covered on your dental insurance can help cover unexpected costs which may suprise you on your first visit.
Taking care of baby teeth
At around the age of 4, children will begin to lose their baby teeth. The first ones to go are usually in the front, but children may continue to lose baby teeth up until the age of 12 or 13. It is very important to maintain baby teeth, as these teeth are holding space for future permanent teeth. If a baby tooth is allowed to decay or if it must be removed too early, the space for that permanent tooth could be lost; only to be regained through orthodontic treatment. An infected baby tooth can also cause damage to permanent teeth, causing them to develop improperly or have enamel defects. These initial dental visits help prepare you for the task of taking care of those vital baby teeth but also helps your dentist get an idea of possible issues with your child's dental development.
Protecting your child’s dental health at home
Starting your child off with a habit of teeth-brushing is very important. Many dentists will recommend cleaning off an infant’s gums with a clean, damp cloth. You might also rub a tiny dab of toothpaste on the gums, and when the first teeth come in they can be brushed with a soft-bristled toothbrush. A young child should be helped with brushing at first, and make sure they always brush at night. This is the most important time of the day to brush, due to the reduced flow of saliva.
The best way to teach a child a good dental habit is to lead by example. Allow your child to watch you brush your teeth on a regular basis. By age 5, children should be able to brush their teeth properly without parental intervention. Dentists will all agree that prevention is the best medicine and the same applies to getting your child covered on your dental insurance now. Don't wait until they need work done or are already losing a baby tooth. Protect their teeth with regular check-ups as soon as they start developing teeth. Get them on your insurance now and covered for the future.