On average, children in the United States do not visit their family dentist for the first time until they are well over the age of 2. This is much later than is recommended by the average dentist.
Most dental and medical professionals would recommend that you take your child to see a dentist by the time they are 12 months old, or no later than six months after their very first tooth has erupted. Usually, children’s primary teeth start to grow when they are six months old, but they can come in earlier, which is why you should ideally count six months from the first eruption when working out when to see a dentist.
A lot of parents neglect to take their children to the dentist in an appropriate amount of time because they simply do not understand the importance of primary teeth. They think that, because these teeth will eventually fall out to make way for adult teeth, their health is not all that important, but they couldn’t be more wrong.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, it is extremely important that primary teeth, or baby teeth as they are more commonly known, are cared for and kept in their proper place until they come out naturally to be replaced by adult teeth. The reasons for this are:
- They help children to chew effectively
- Speech development is easier
- Space is kept for adult teeth
- It’s good for self-esteem
The sooner you get your child to a dentist, the more likely it is they will develop good oral hygiene habits.
Things the Dentist will Look for
When you take children to the dentist, there are certain things they we look out for depending on your child’s age:
2 and Under
When babies and toddlers come to the dentist, they will be checked for a number of things including oral habits like thumb sucking that could cause issues, as well as oral decay, issues with their bite, problems with gums and general oral hygiene.
6 and Under
When your child is 6 and under, one of our primary concerns will be checking for the quality of brushing. Many children do not learn the right technique for brushing, or they neglect to change their technique as new teeth come in and this can lead to poor hygiene and cavities.
Our dentists will also pay attention to potential issues with overcrowding or crooked teeth which may need to be removed or corrected at a later date. Signs of decay are, as always, looked for too.
Children who are ages 7-12 will be checked for signs of decay and helped to identify any issues with improper brushing as well as being checked for cavities. They may also be monitored for impacted teeth or overcrowding with a view to having braces fitted, or other orthodontic treatment.
Teenagers will be assessed for orthodontic treatment such as braces/extractions as well as all of the previous checks once they reach the age of 13 and our dentists have a good idea of their orthodontic health.
If you have not yet brought your children to the dentist, it’s never too late to start. Get in touch with us at Ustick Dental Office on (208) 375-8720 to make a pediatric dental appointment today.