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At What Age Should a Child First See a Pediatric Dentist?
A pediatric dentist is trained to handle problems that are particular to children. They can take care of your child’s teeth, mouth and gums throughout the different stages of childhood. However, parents are usually not sure about when to take children to see pediatric dentists. Read on to learn about the ideal age your child should first see a pediatric dentist.
First pediatric dentist visit
Baby teeth also referred to as primary teeth, are as important as permanent adult teeth. Taking proper care of baby teeth is beneficial because teeth serve many critical functions. Baby teeth foster good nutrition by allowing chewing, help speech development and aid the proper development of permanent teeth by holding space between them. Pediatric dentists usually recommend a dental visit for babies by age 1.
Parents are usually advised to take children to the dentist at a younger age. This is often within 6 months of the first tooth erupting or by about 12 months at the latest. This period is ideal for a variety of reasons. Tooth decay can happen as soon as a child’s first tooth comes in, on average between the ages of 6 and 12 months.
Some parents usually wonder why they should worry about decay in primary teeth since permanent teeth will replace them. The problem is that tooth decay in baby teeth increases the risk of decay in the permanent teeth. If the decay is severe, it can also harm a child’s overall health. Undetected and untreated tooth decay can lead to many problems including loss of teeth, infection and expensive and, in many cases, preventable emergency and restorative interventions. The pain associated with tooth decay can also prevent a baby from eating properly, which impacts overall development and health.
Advantages of early dental checkups
It is beneficial to protect the teeth of children by beginning dental checkups early. Some pediatric dentists recommended visiting them before the first baby tooth appears. This is important because it enables the child to start a lifelong dental care program to minimize cavities and tooth decay. Pediatric dentists can identify early tooth decay, determine fluoride needs and provide the parents with information on good oral and facial development. Visiting a pediatric dentist early can also save parents money. It is important to note that children who wait to have their first dental visit until age 2 or 3 have a high likelihood of requiring restorative and emergency visits.
Contact your pediatric dentist
You should always prioritize the proper care of your child’s primary teeth. Healthy, strong baby teeth can help your child to speak and chew. These teeth also hold the space in your child’s jaws for the permanent teeth that grow under the gums. The first dental visit should occur within a period of 6 months after your child’s first baby tooth appears but no later than your baby’s first birthday. If you have any other questions on why dental care is important during the first year of your child’s life, contact your pediatric dentist as soon as possible.
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