Published in September 2019.
Even grown-ups are scared of the dentist, so how is a kid supposed to react?
There are many myths that prevent people from bringing their kids to the dentist. Some think their children are too young, or just don’t have enough teeth. But as far as dentists are concerned; the earlier, the better.
Starting Early is Best
Even though dentists tend to deal more with a full set of teeth, a single tooth is reason enough for your child’s first visit. The Canadian Dental Association recommends that children visit the dentist at least once in the six months after the eruption of their first tooth, or before their first birthday because of the sensitive and delicate nature of baby teeth.
As a parent, you know that even squirmiest of toddlers can be convinced to sit. You may have to listen to Baby Shark for the 5,000th time that day, but it’ll be worth it. A good family dentist will work with you to help your child feel at home and even offer toys as a reward for being a good patient.
It really does benefit children to see the dentist at a younger age. Studies have shown that the “fear factor” is decreased as children recognize their dentist from a younger age and therefore learn to associate the dentist with a more positive experience.
Taking children for dental check-ups at a younger age also allows dentists to find problems earlier, improving oral health as well as confidence. Procedures like x-rays ensure that teeth are growing in properly, they can prevent tooth decay from early cavities and get some helpful advice for maintenance. And a healthy white smile from a young age greatly improves self-esteem.
How often should we see you?
The first 12 years of a child’s life are very exciting in the world of teeth. Most baby teeth have grown in by 33 months, and most baby teeth fall out by 12 years of age. While the tooth fairy works hard during those pivotal years, your child’s dentist is definitely working harder.
After the initial visit, ideally, children should visit the dentist every six months. Regular visits allow dentists to detect oral diseases earlier. No matter how efficiently or carefully you take care of your children’s teeth, you just can’t see everything. Sometimes the dentist will notice something subtle, and a follow-up visit helps them monitor any changes. Regular visits and follow-ups ensure that such smaller symptoms don’t go ignored. And perhaps, you might learn a thing or two about your own oral health.
So Why Bother?
We get this sometimes when it comes to baby teeth. “Baby teeth will fall out anyway, why should I see the dentist so soon?” Teeth are teeth and like any other good habit, it is important to start them early.
Regular visits promote the proper development of baby teeth and ensure the correct placement of adult teeth as they grow. Oral health can last for life, so why start later? Regular visits will acquaint your child to the dentist’s office, minimizing the fear associated with them (and other health professionals). We at Sandhurst Family Dental have a number of methods in place to make your child feel more comfortable, including magic tricks and a visit to the toy chest!