One of the most important dental appointments your child will go to is their first. New parents are often surprised when we tell them how early they should go! After all, why would a child without any teeth need to go to the dentist? That’s a fair question. There are a few compelling reasons to schedule their first appointment before they turn a year old.
Why Do Babies Need to Go to the Dentist?
Your child’s first tooth can erupt anywhere from the first 4 to 12 months of their life. For some, eruption can happen as late as 18 months old. Once that first tooth erupts, it’s already exposed to the same bacteria that causes tooth decay in every stage of life. So, not only can your pediatric dentist provide guidance about how to keep your infant’s teeth healthy during the first few years of their life, but they can monitor their developmental progress.
As an added bonus, taking your child to the dentist early and often will prepare them for a life of diligent oral hygiene. They may be less likely to develop a fear of the dentist if they have positive experiences early on.
There’s a lot going on in an infant’s mouth while it revs up for a full set of teeth. Teething itself can be painful, even when nothing goes wrong. In some infants, a fluid-filled hematoma may appear over the tooth as it is erupting. Seeing something like this for the first time can cause a panic.
While eruption cysts are fairly normal and usually resolve on their own (and with little or no pain to the infant), they can on rare occasions prevent a tooth from erupting. If you notice a cyst forming over a teething gum, it won’t hurt to ask your dentist if an appointment is needed.
What Happens at an Infant’s First Dentist Appointment?
Much of your child’s first appointment will include a conversation between you and the dentist. They will want to understand your child’s oral habits as well as your concerns and expectations. To ensure that your infant’s oral health starts off right, they may offer advice about brushing, toothpaste, foods, teething, or nursing.
Then, your dentist will feel their gums and examine any teeth to make sure they’re healthy. They will most likely not perform a dental cleaning at this visit.
Here are some things your dentist may ask about during this visit:
- Whether your child is bottle-fed or breast-fed
- Whether they use a pacifier or suck their thumb
- Whether they thrust their tongue or suck their lips
- Teething habits and symptoms
- Delayed or absent teething/eruption
Visit Harlandale Kids for Infant Pediatric Dental Checkups
We want to help you establish healthy routines for your children at the earliest opportunity. At Harlandale Kids Dental, we take pride in creating a child-friendly environment that fosters their curiosity, accommodates their anxiety, and teaches long-lasting healthy habits at the same time.
To schedule an appointment with our San Antonio pediatric dentist, call 210-791-9172.