A child's first dental visit should take place when the first tooth appears, but no later than the first birthday. Why so early? As soon as your baby has teeth, he or she can get cavities. Being proactive about your child’s dental health today can help keep his or her smile healthy for life.
For children younger than three years, parents and caregivers should begin brushing children’s teeth as soon as they begin to come into the mouth by using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice. Brush teeth thoroughly twice per day (morning and night) or as directed by Dr. Lovda. As your child grows older, supervise their brushing to ensure that they use the appropriate amount of toothpaste.
Your child’s baby teeth are at risk for decay as soon as they first appear which is typically around age six months. Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often referred to as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay. It most often occurs in the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected. In some cases, infants and toddlers experience decay so severe that their teeth cannot be saved and need to be removed.
Additionally, brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they appear reinforces excellent oral hygiene habits from an early age. Research indicates oral health is highly connected to overall health and confidence.
A child's first visit to our Hoffman Estates dental office will involve an examination and cleaning, if possible. At this appointment, Dr. Lovda will assess if your child is at risk for developing tooth decay, monitor growth, and establish a pleasant atmosphere for your child to remember for all future appointments. Positive first impressions are key!
You can help create a positive dental environment with the following tips:
- Consider making a morning appointment when children tend to be rested and cooperative.
- Keep any anxiety or concerns you have to yourself. Children can pick up on your emotions, so emphasize fun and positive.
- Never use a dental visit as a punishment or threat.
- Never bribe your child.
- Talk with your child about visiting the dentist.
Your child should visit Lovda Family Dental every six months for regular dental cleanings and checkups. We recommend fluoride treatments twice a year along with cleanings to keep teeth their strongest. Tooth sealants are also recommended because they “seal” the deep grooves in your child’s teeth, preventing decay from forming in these hard-to-reach areas. Sealants last for several years, but will be monitored at your child’s regular checkups.