Sandia Pediatric Dentistry recently celebrated its first birthday! First birthdays are big milestones and a great time for a child’s first dental visit. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), American Dental Association (ADA), and American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) all recommend a dental visit for children by age one.
The AAPD sponsored a survey of parents to see what they knew about proper oral health care for children, and discovered that an alarming number of parents did not know infants need to see a Pediatric Dentist before their first birthday.
Many parents do not realize that baby teeth, also known as primary teeth are just as important as permanent teeth. They are necessary for children to chew and speak as well as hold space for developing permanent teeth below the gums.
Benefits of visiting a Pediatric Dentist by age one include:
- Beginning when your child is young will allow your child to become familiar with visits to the dentist and establish a dental home. A dental home is important for comprehensive oral healthcare.
- Pediatric dentists can detect early tooth decay, provide parents with information on proper oral hygiene and development, and answer questions.
- ONE + ONE = ZERO. ONE dental visit when there’s ONE tooth can equal ZERO cavities.
- The year one dental visit can save money. A study in the journal of Pediatrics showed that children who have their first dental visit before age one have 40% lower dental costs in their first five years than children who do not, due to the cost of dental and medical procedures that may be necessary as a result of poor oral health.
According to the CDC, more than 40% of children have cavities by the time they start kindergarten.
Dental problems can begin in children as young as 15 months.
Recent studies have also shown that early childhood tooth decay is on the rise. A Pediatric Dentist’s goal is to prevent childhood tooth decay through education and regular visits.
The age 1 visit is similar to a well-baby check with the pediatrician. The purpose of the age 1 dental visit is to learn about your child’s oral health and how to prevent any problems before they occur. Many dental problems can be prevented or more easily treated in the early stages.
Here are some tips for making your child’s first dental visit a successful one:
- Be positive. Show excitement before and during your child’s first visit to the dentist. Don’t let your child see any anxiety that you may have about visiting the dentist.
- Learn and read about it. There are many good books and resources to help prepare and get your child familiar with visiting the dentist. Delta Dental has stories and activities for kids on their children’s website.
- Timing is key. Plan for plenty of time and arrive early so your visit is not rushed. Make sure your child has plenty of rest before the visit so that he or she is comfortable. Morning is the best time for young children to visit the dentist.
- Start healthy habits early. Beginning proper oral hygiene at an early age is not only important to prevent problems, but to start healthy habits. The more familiar your child is with washing or brushing their teeth and gums, the more comfortable they will be when they visit the dentist.
Pediatric Dentists are specially trained to treat young children and educate parents and children about proper oral health and development. Our office provides an encouraging, friendly environment for children in addition to specialized training. We welcome families to our office for a tour prior to their child’s visit to become acquainted with the staff and office. It is never too early to establish a dental home for your child. We invite you to make Sandia Pediatric Dentistry your child’s dental home.