If you’re the parent or caregiver of young children and wondering when you should start bringing them to the dentist, you’re not alone—it’s one of the most common questions parents have about children’s dentistry. Some people will tell you that there’s no need to see the dentist until all of the primary teeth have erupted, but the Australian and New Zealand Society of Paediatric Dentistry recommends that all children see a dentist by their first birthday or within six months of the eruption of their first tooth.
The Importance of Early Dental Visits
Early Childhood Caries is among the most common childhood diseases. While dental caries may not be a serious concern for adults, for children, they can have a significant impact on their development and health, particularly if they are left untreated. This is why children’s dentistry is important.
Primary teeth aren’t simply placeholders for secondary teeth—they play a role in speech development and they allow children to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet to nourish their growing bodies. Early Childhood Caries have been linked to lower than ideal body weight, infection, pain, and lost time at school. Moreover, dental disease in childhood can set the stage for lifelong oral and general health compromises.
Early preventive dental care is an investment in your child’s well-being. Research has shown that children who have their first dental visit before the age of one year have dental costs that are 40 percent lower in their first five years than children who do not see a dentist before their first birthday.
What Happens at a Child’s First Dental Visit
Parents may wonder, “How will my child even sit still for a dental exam at the age of one?” It’s important to take a more relaxed attitude about this dental visit—rather than having your child sit in the dentist’s chair for an hour while each tooth is examined and cleaned, we’ll likely ask you to hold them on your lap while we count their teeth and look for signs of tooth decay.
Parents & caregivers play a critical role in keeping a child’s teeth and gums healthy, so a child’s visits are about you as much as they are about them. We’ll talk to you about any concerns you might have, provide you with tips on brushing and flossing, and discuss other ways to take care of your child’s oral health. A child has great teeth when the Team of dentist & caregiver coordinate to achieve the ultimate goal in mind.
As your child becomes more comfortable during their visits with us, we’ll begin to perform more thorough exams and dental cleanings. By starting slowly, your child will have little anxiety about visiting our practice.
Establishing Your Child’s Dental Home
Ensuring that your child is comfortable with our team is an essential part of establishing our practice as your family’s dental home. The dental home describes the relationship between your child’s dentist, your child, and the rest of your family. This relationship allows us to manage your child’s oral healthcare in a comprehensive, coordinated, and family-centered way. When your child has a dental home, they view their dentist’s practice as a place full of familiar routines and friendly faces.
Schedule a Dental Appointment for Your Child
If it’s time for your little one’s first visit to the dentist, you’ll be pleased to know that Caring 4 Smiles provides children’s dentistry services. Contact us today at 09 631 5416 to schedule an appointment.