According to the experts, the first dental appointment of a child is much sooner than expected by parents. Once the first baby tooth comes out (approximately 6 months of age) they should be taken to see the dentist.
In the first appointment, the parents receive education from the dentist about how to take care of their child’s teeth. The education is a basic one but taking care of a child’s teeth is a bit different from taking care of adult teeth, so it should not be ignored or avoided.
After the age of 2 years old the child may be seen for their 6 month recare appointment. Of course this depends on how cooperative the child is. We certainly don’t want to force the child if they feel apprehensive. Radiographs or x-rays are first taken between the ages of 4-6 years of age. This is important because there might be cavities in their teeth, hidden from plain view and the x-rays can bring these out.
Orthodontic evaluations can be conducted on children 6 years of age and older. Many parents wait for their children to hit pre-teens before they get an orthodontic evaluation, but if crooked teeth and problems in the jaw formation are caught early on, it allows for easier work in the future.
Prevention is the key for children between the ages of 6-12 years. This is the time when baby teeth start falling out and permanent teeth begin growing in. Once the child hits 6 years old the dentist might suggest a plastic resin or a sealant, which will bond to the biting surface of teeth and cover the grooves. With the help of this resin, all molars which are cavity prone would be protected as the bacteria causing cavities would not be able to get into the teeth’s grooves and valleys.
At the 6 month recare appointments oral care is reviewed with the child and the accompanying adult. Three items in particular are emphasized.
- Teeth should be brushed twice daily- once in the morning after breakfast and once at night after the last meal has been consumed and before going to bed.
- Teeth should be flossed daily to ensure there is no plaque build-up and the gums stay healthy.
- Regular dental checkups should be encouraged because these visits are important for oral health. Regular checkups also make sure that no cavities are growing in the teeth, and other oral problems are kept at bay by prevention and early detection.
If these steps are followed properly the child’s teeth are less likely to have problems and they would have the perfect smile every parent wants for their child to have. Also, early dental visits keep serious problems away in the future.