Dr. Vikrant Kundu

BDS (Hons)
MDS ( Orthodontics )
CAIC ( Implantology Korea )
ADIC ( Implantology Israel )
CHIEF MENTOR, Mirell International

When Should I Take My Child to the Dentist?

Oral/Dental Health of Child: A Comprehensive Guide

The Indian Academy of Pediatrics, the Indian Dental Association and even the International Dental associations states that every caregiver should take their kid to dentist by the age 1 – or as soon as the first tooth shows up. This “excitingly urged baby visit” teaches caregivers and parents of how to take good care for their children’s teeth and help them remain cavity-free.

For instance, pediatric dentists see many young patients with caries that occur from falling asleep with a bottle of milk or any sugary liquid. The dentist can well educate the caregiver or parent about:

  • Why this causes cavity
  • The significance of boosting children to drink adequate amount of water, milk, and juice from a cup instead as they hit their 1st birthday
  • How to toothbrush young teeth properly

Dentists also explains feeding mothers to stop on-demand nighttime breastfeeding, after the child’s first teeth appears.



Why the First Visit Is Most Important

Dental fear and nervousness generally starts during childhood and tend to worsen as time passes if not taken care of. This certainly makes a child’s first dental visit so significant. It paves the way for how your child will react towards dentist appointments all through their life. Not only does your child’s first and foremost dentist appointment set the foundations for future visits, but it also sets the stage for your baby’s dental hygiene and care habits from an early age. Tooth decay or caries is the #1 chronic childhood diseases, so beginning dental checkups early for your child should be on your topmost to-do for preventing against tooth decay.



When to take the Child for first dental check up

As soon as your child’s first tooth appears – around age 1 –is naturally the time you should take them to the dentist. Do not try to put off your child’s dental appointment for first time, as it is likely to cause their oral health. In fact, 25% of children report to receive at least one cavity by the time they attain the age of 4. Age- one dental checkups would actually ensure your child’s healthy teeth and gums so they are able to speak and chew properly.



Preparing for the First Visit

You need to first make sure that your tot feels as calm and as safe as possible. The best way to do this is to remain relaxed yourself and avoid using any sentence that may petrify the little baby. It is essential that you set an example for your little one and act completely calm and even excited about visiting a dentist. Your child will certainly pick up on your enthusiasm and passionate outlook of the dentist and perhaps react similarly.

Make sure to choose a pediatric dentist with at least 5 years of specialized training for treating children. Approaching a pediatric practitioner who is not good with kids can end devastatingly and result in your kid forming a denial connotation with the dentist. It is good to get to know your kid’s pediatric dentist beforehand to get a perception for whether or not they would be a suitable fit for you and your child.



Overcoming fear of the Dentist

As it is obvious that many tots incur fear and anxiety about dental and medical checkups, and their fears are completely understandable. Do your best to be tolerant with your little baby, and let him/her realize that you recognize how they feel. To help reduce anxiousness, here are some tactics to try before and during the dental visit:

  • Role-play and reading: Read their personal favorite comic books or image books about visiting the dentist, and incite your child to play “dentist” with a stuffed animal or a doll—opening mouth wide, peeping inside, and giving teeth a polish.
  • Speak in a positive language: Explain to your little baby that a dentist is a friend like doctor who guides on building strong, healthy teeth, but avoid getting into much complex and technical detail about the appointment, which may puzzle more than it clears up.
  • Come well prepared: Bring along play toys and other distractions that keeps your child busy and all excited in the waiting room and the dentist’s cabin too.
  • Plan a treat: Tempting offers always work to attract tots and getting them done what you desire. Something as simple as a visit to a playground your toddler behaves decently and stay focused on the positive with the dental procedures.
  • Stay calm and confident: Your own stress about the dentist may be more obvious than you think, especially for perceptive and sensitive children. If you are confident and cheerful yourself, you set the mood for your child to be, too.
  • Be a smart cheerleader: Applaud your little sweetheart whenever you can for example saying -“Good job opening wide!”, and try to be concerned and encouraging, not critical, if your little one has a hard time cooperating. And remember: Even if he kicks and shouts or yelps the whole time, it is nothing strange an experienced pediatric dentist has not encountered before.

What to Expect at your Child’s Dental Checkup

The first appointment need not to be over elaborated and complicated; rather the focal point is more on introducing your little one to what a dentist is all about. The first dentist appointment is going to be short and informal. The dentists in the first meet usually discuss the significance of oral hygiene in expectancy of developing good dental habits with your child. And if you, your child and the dentist feel that the session is comfortable and the child is ready to go ahead, the dentist will then do an oral examination and possibly take x-rays.

As for the profession of evaluating your child’s teeth, the dentist will inspect for decay and will check your tot’s jaw, gums, and bite. The dental hygienist may then clean your tot’s teeth with an application of a fluoride preparation (specifically if there is a tint or pigmentation or high risk of caries). Likelihood, the dental hygienist will give you the chance to get your queries answered that you may have about toddler teething, tooth-friendly eatables, thumb sucking, dental habits or anything else that pertains to your child’s oral health. You can also prepare a list of questions to the appointment so that you remember them when you have got the specialist’s attention.

What does a person want someone to remember about them? How you create your first impression or how you wish to be perceived. Many children develop fear and negativity of the dentist because of a bad first visit. The first dental appointment will have a significant impact on how your child feels about the dentist, so it is crucial to be prepared and take the requisite steps to have an impressionable first appointment. Depending on your child’s age and solace, you may be asked to have them in your arms while the dentist pokes around in the mouth. Or you may be asked to sit back in the waiting room so your child can spend some quality time to get along well with the dentist and team on his own.

Following these suggestions, you will be on your way to having a stress-free first dental appointment with your child.



How often to visit the Dentist

Depending upon how your child’s teeth look, your pediatric dentist will let you know when to take the appointment next. Most dental specialist recommends that tots visit the dentist about every 6 months — as long as there are no major issues. So do not neglect scheduling your toddler’s second visit on your way out the door!

If the child is amenable, the first session often lasts between 20 and 30 minutes and may include the following, depending on age and level of problem:

  • A light but in-depth examination of the teeth, gums, jaw, bite and oral tissues to examine growth and development and check for any problem areas
  • If signaled, a gentle cleaning, which undertakes removing any plaque, stains tartar buildup and polishing teeth
  • Analysis for the requirement for fluoride
  • A demonstration on proper teeth cleaning
  • X-rays

A check-up every 6 months is advised in order to arrest cavities and other dental health care problems. Some pediatric dentists may also schedule interim visits in every 3 months when the tot is very young to create confidence and comfort level or to treat a maturing problem. However, your serving pediatric dentist can recommend you when and how often your tot should visit based on their personal dental health.



Who is a pediatric dentist?

Pediatric dentists are the pediatrician doctors of dentistry. A pediatric dentist possesses a 2 to 3 years of specialty training following dental colleges and restricts his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are specialty and primary oral care providers for infants and toddlers through adolescence, including those with special dental health care needs. A good pediatric dentist should be able to answer any questions you have and try to make both parents and their little one comfortable throughout the session. The dentist and his entire dental team should provide a non-threatening and soothing atmosphere for your child.



How safe are dental X-rays for children?

There is very less risk linked to dental X-rays. Pediatric dentists are specifically cautious to limit the level and frequency of radiation to which children are exposed. High-speed film and Lead aprons are used to guarantee safety and reduce the amount of radiation.



How can parents help prevent tooth decay?

Parents are required to take their children to the dentist regularly, starting with the appearing of the first tooth. Then, the dentist can prescribe a definite program of brushing, cleaning flossing, and other procedures for parents to supervise and educate to their children. These at-home oral health care procedures, when added to a balanced diet and regular dental visits, will help equip your child with a lifetime of healthy habits.

For making a safe and a balanced diet for your child, make sure your child’s serving has each of: fruits and vegetables, cereals, milk and dairy products, breads and eggs, meat and fish. Limit the servings of refined or added sugars and starches will also help in preventing your tot’s teeth from decay and cavities. Your pediatric dentist can also recommend you with selected foods that can aid in protection of your children's teeth.

Remember that your toddler is too young to care or even understand about healthy habits about oral hygiene. Parents or caregivers are the ones to take care of their child’s tender teeth and mouth and steadily teach them to do the similar on their own.

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