Dental Care for Children: Choosing a Pediatric Dentist

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.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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What To Expect During a DENTAL VISIT

On your first visit, your dentist will take a full health history. On follow-up visits, if your health status has changed, make sure to tell your dentist. Here’s what you can expect during most trips to the dentist.

  • A Thorough Cleaning – a dental hygienist or dentist will scrape along and below the gum line to remove built-up plaque and tartar that can cause gum disease, cavities, bad breath and other problems. Then he or she will polish and floss your teeth.

  • A Full Dental Examination – your dentist will perform a thorough examination of your teeth, gums and mouth, looking for signs of disease or other problems.

  • X-Rays – X-rays can diagnose problems otherwise unnoticed, such as damage to jawbones, impacted teeth, abscesses, cysts or tumors, and decay between the teeth.