When Should Your Child See the Dentist?

istock 1067037434 1 If there’s one thing that is consistent with raising any child it’s that there rarely seems to be a spare moment. In all the surrounding din of activity, it’s easy to forget that at some point you need to consider your child’s teeth. At Pound Ridge Cosmetic Dentistry we treat entire families and when a newborn comes along there can be a question when he or she should join the parade for dental exams and cleanings.

It’s important to get your child started off on the right foot, especially with habits such as proper brushing and home hygiene. Why? Because most people follow the same brushing and flossing patterns they had as children the rest of their lives.

Here are some tips about pediatric dentistry from Dr. Smith and Dr. Feng.

What is pediatric dentistry?

This may seem obvious, but pediatric dentistry targets the oral health of children from birth until adolescence. Taking care of children’s teeth demands some additional skills beyond pure dentistry. There’s an art to pediatric dentistry, acknowledging a child’s misgivings about going to the dentist, while at the same time performing the evaluations needed. At Pound Ridge, we believe a large part of our role is also educational, showing children the value of proper dental care along with the nuts and bolts of how to do it. Of course, if early intervention is needed to correct dental problems, we take care of that, too.

When should I schedule my child’s first visit?

Going to the dentist is the last thing some parents think of. First off, their child only has a tooth or two. Second, aren’t they baby teeth that fall out anyway? The American Dental Association recommends that children see the dentist for the first time around the time their first tooth erupts. This is usually before their first birthday. As with adults, the ADA also recommends that children see their dentist every six months to achieve optimal dental health. This may seem like overkill, but it’s important at this time to develop the patterns of care. Plus, if there is a problem, we can see it early and decide on the proper course of care.

How should I be cleaning my child’s baby teeth?

Obviously, you’ll be brushing your child’s teeth and gums in the beginning. When you’re cleaning the teeth, you won’t use a regular toothbrush. You need a specifically designed soft-bristled infant toothbrush. With this soft toothbrush, you will brush the baby’s teeth and gums once a day. This will prevent the buildup of bacteria and plaque that can lead to cavities.

How much of a problem is thumb sucking?

Thumb sucking and pacifier sucking are normal self-comforting behaviors in very small children. But if allowed to continue for too long, they can lead to dental problems. Normally, children grow out of these habits on their own, but if the thumb sucking persists until your child is three years old, we may recommend the use of a mouth appliance to counter this problem. Continued thumb sucking will lead to orthodontic issues, so it’s better to stop the practice rather than allow it to continue.

Do you have a child at home approaching his or her first birthday? Let’s take a look. Call us at Pound Ridge Cosmetic Dentistry, (914) 764-3540, to make an appointment.


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