The arrival of a baby’s first tooth is met with joy and celebration. Then comes the task of caring for that tooth and the many others that will follow. According to the Center for Disease Control, tooth decay impacts 60% of U.S. children by age five. Fortunately, tooth decay is preventable if children are engaged in a daily oral hygiene routine and have regular visits to a pediatric dentist beginning around their first birthday.
What To Look For In Choosing A Pediatric Dentist
A good pediatric dentist will partner with parents in providing quality oral health care, so choosing the best dentist for your family is important. What should you look for in choosing your dentist?
- Look for a dental office that has a child and parent-friendly atmosphere and encourages dental visits by a child’s first birthday.
- Choose a dentist that is gentle and kind towards your child and who is responsive to your concerns and questions.
- Make sure the dentist is specific with you about how to care for your child’s teeth. They should be willing to show you proper techniques and give advice for follow-up care.
- Choose a dentist that will provide you with a way to communicate with them in case of emergency.
- The dental office you choose should feel comfortable and safe.
What to Expect On Your Dental Visit
When it is time for that first visit, you will want to make sure that your child is well-rested and fed. Bring along a favorite item, such as a toy or blanket to give them comfort.
On this visit you should expect to discuss with your dentist:
- Teething and tooth development.
- Care of gums and cheeks.
- Oral habits such as sucking.
- Risk factors such as cavities.
- Preventative care such as diet, hygiene, and fluoride use.
- Trauma prevention.
Your child’s dental care needs are only beginning, and your pediatric dentist will become a familiar face to your child. It is recommended that your child have dental checkups every six months.
ore baby teeth will begin to sprout in your child’s mouth. Most children have twenty baby teeth which will be replaced between the ages of six to twelve years by thirty-two adult teeth. During the years of age six to twelve, you will need to think about the following dental needs.
- Around the age of six children will begin to lose their baby teeth.
- Children must develop a regular routine of brushing and flossing.
- Sealants may be suggested to help keep your child’s teeth protected from cavities.
- By age seven, the American Academy of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic consultation.
For teenagers dental attention should include:
- Remembering that cavities can happen at any time.
- Reinforcement of healthy hygiene habits.
- Setting up dental appointments every six months.
- Protecting teeth from trauma by wearing a mouthguard while playing sports.
During the young adult years (ages 19-25) wisdom teeth may appear and cause problems. A dental evaluation can determine if these teeth need to be removed. Dental visits during this age will include a check for gingivitis and oral cancer.
From age 25 to 65 these dental needs may occur:
- Cavities may occur around existing fillings and decay on the root surfaces of the teeth may become more common.
- Tooth sensitivity may increase.
- Crowns may be needed to strengthen damaged teeth.
Senior-aged adults over sixty-five years old may encounter possible tooth and gum loss, cavities, and dry mouth. Keeping well hydrated, avoiding caffeine and alcohol may help prevent dry mouth. As at any age, regular six-month check-ups continue to be the rule of thumb.
Good dental health is paramount to avoiding dental problems and maintaining your beautiful smile for a lifetime.
This guest post contribution was made possible by Leavitt Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, a local Pocatello dentist that Southeast Idaho patient’s trust with their dental needs.