Why Do You Need A Pediatric Dentist?
As adults, we know that we have to go to the dentist on a regular basis. The same applies when our children start to get their permanent teeth, but do we really need to take them to the dentist before that? Given the fact that younger children are going to lose their first set of teeth anyway, do they really need pediatric dental care?
The answer is a resounding “yes.” In fact, it is generally recommended that you take your baby to the dentist no more than six months after their first tooth erupts. Although this seems very early, problems with dental development can start to show up by this age, and a dentist will be able to spot these by carefully examining your child’s mouth. In addition to this, they will also be able to advise you on preventative actions you can take to stop problems developing.
For example, it is not uncommon for infants and young children to develop tooth decay at an early age – this is often referred to as baby bottle tooth decay. This happens when sweetened liquids or those that have natural sugars in them – such as milk and fruit juice – stick to a baby’s teeth for a long period of time. Just like in adults and older children, this causes bacteria in the baby’s mouth to grow and generate acids that attack the enamel of the teeth. This often affects the top front teeth in babies, although it can also occur elsewhere in some cases.
Although your child will lose their baby teeth when their permanent teeth arrive, losing them before it is time due to decay can have bad long-term effects. Baby teeth act as a placeholder for adult teeth, and if your child loses one for any reason, this can affect their smile for the rest of their life. Not only will it greatly increase the chance that their adult teeth will come in crooked, it can also result in speech problems and poor eating habits.
When you take your baby to the dentist for the first time, you will get advice on how to avoid baby bottle tooth decay. There are many things that can be done to help prevent this condition, including regularly cleaning your baby’s gums after you feed them, as well as starting to brush their teeth from an early age. Your dentist can show you the best way of doing this, and may also recommend other treatments. For instance, they may apply a special sealant to your baby’s teeth to prevent bacteria from coming into contact with the enamel.
One of the things to consider when taking your child to the dentist for the first time is whether or not to choose a pediatric dentist as opposed to a general dentist. If your existing dentist does treat a lot of families, then it may be okay to use them for your baby as well. However, to be on the safe side, it is often a good idea to choose a pediatric dentist who is specifically trained to treat infants and young children. Children are not adults – their teeth need to be treated differently, and there are also other difficulties such as working in the confined space of their little mouths. In addition, going to the dentist can be a scary experience for some children, and a pediatric dentist will be able to calm them down and get them to cooperate.
As your child gets older, it is important to take them to the dentist on a regular basis to spot any problems before they become serious. However, it is also important that you spend time with your child to teach them good dental hygiene habits that will last a lifetime. To start with, you should show them how to use a toothbrush once they are ready – this varies from child to child, but if they are able to dress themselves, they should be able to clean their own teeth as well. Also start flossing their teeth as soon as they get to the point where the gap between two of their teeth is narrow enough that food could get stuck in there. Again, you need to do this for your child until they can floss their own teeth. However, even when they do start to do this on their own, you should continue to supervise them for a while to make sure that they are actually doing it and are using the right technique.
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