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Oral Health Buzz

Dental Care for Children: Choosing a Pediatric Dentist

Deirdre Mundy

It has finally happened! Your baby has his first tooth, and it is beautiful. After you take those pictures and share them with your friends, it will be time to do a bit of research. Now that your baby has teeth, you need to start thinking about dental care for children. That means it is time to choose a good pediatric dentist.

Baby's First Dental Checkup

You have been taking your baby to the doctor for regular checkups, and a visit to the dentist is next on the list. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists, you should schedule the first appointment when your child cuts his first tooth. If your child is a slow teether, make sure you get him into the dentist by his first birthday.

At the first appointment, the dentist will check your child's gums and teeth for any abnormalities. He will clean the mouth and will give you important tips on dental care for children. After the first appointment, you should return every six months throughout your child's life.

Why Pediatric Dentists Are Different

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you take your child to a pediatric dentist. These dentists specialize in care for children. They have special tools and techniques for small mouths. They often practice "gentle dentistry" techniques to make appointments easier on your child. Finally, they have special training that helps them to spot developing problems peculiar to children. A good pediatric dentist can sometimes catch tooth issues early and prevent expensive orthodontia down the road.

The dental hygienists at the pediatric dentist also specialize in dental care for children. That means that they have the ability to put kids at ease. These first dentist appointments will help your child learn to trust these professionals rather than fear them. By making these first experiences pleasant, you can put your baby on track for good dental health habits.

Picking Your Dentist

To pick a dentist, first get a list of pediatric dentists in your area. Check out their websites to learn about each dentist's training, services and the amenities that each office offers. Ask your friends who their favorite pediatric dentists are and why. Remember, you are trying to make these first appointments as pleasant as possible for your child. You may need to visit a few offices in person to find one that fits your child's personality.

Preventive dental care for children is an important part of your baby's health regimen. Select a good pediatric dentist you feel comfortable with for your child and continue to keep on the six month schedule. If you keep appointments positive and fun, you can raise a child who looks forward twice a year to his cleanings.

Learn more about pediatric dentists in the Colgate Oral Care resources.

Source: Flickr/Eram Kassin

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