New parents frequently ask when their child should be brought for their first visit to a dentist. Well, the short answer is that they should see their dentist at least once by their first birthday, and pediatricians nationwide agree. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that children who pose risks for cavities see a dentist by age one. In order to explain when and why your child should see a pediatric dentist, Dr. Deborah Himelhoch and her team at Smiles in Framingham are here to break down the elements of pediatric dentistry near Wayland, MA.
Why Visit a Pediatric Dentist?
The notion of such early dental visits is startling to some new parents near Wayland, MA. However, studies have shown that children of preschool-age are now getting more cavities as compared to past generations. Dr. Deborah Himelhoch says that more than 25% of children in the US will have at least one cavity by the age of four, and many children will have them as early as two years of age. In order to prevent early childhood cavities, parents need to be informed of their child’s risk of cavity development. It’s also imperative for parents to learn to manage their child’s diet and hygiene to prevent problems.
Cavities, though, aren’t the only thing that parents need to know about their child’s dental health. One of our Smiles in Framingham friends mentions that the first visit allows for dentists and parents to discuss:
- How to care for your child’s teeth
- Links between diet and oral health
- Oral habits like finger and thumb sucking
- Teething and stages of development
- Prevention of damage to the teeth or face
Following the first visit, your dentist should schedule a number of follow-up visits in order to monitor your child’s oral development. Dr. Deborah Himelhoch mentions that many dentists used to schedule visits every six months, but now visits are scheduled on a case-by-case basis according to the needs and risks of the patient.
How to Choose a Pediatric Dentist
Recently, many dental schools prepare graduates to provide care for young children. However, many professionals are less familiar and comfortable in treating infants and toddlers. In order to find a dentist that can provide adequate care for your child, you should:
- Call the office and ask when children should first see their doctor. Find an office that says to schedule an appointment when your child’s first tooth begins to emerge, or by the first birthday.
- Look for a dentist who specializes in the care of young children. You can look online at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry’s “Find a Pediatric Dentist” page.
First Visit Preparation
The purpose of the initial visit is for the dentist to get an accurate understanding of your child’s oral health and how to care for your child’s individual needs in the best way possible. Many dental problems can be prevented or easily treated early on, so it’s important to find a dentist that you can trust and feel comfortable with. Dr. Deborah Himelhoch says that the best way to prepare is to list your concerns, what you want to look for, and what you expect. You should look for an office that is:
- Focused on your child’s needs
- Child and parent friendly
- Knowledgeable about children’s oral health, development, and growth
- Gentle, kind, and patient with your children
In conclusion, it’s important to visit a pediatric dentist with your child in order to prevent or treat any oral health issues. If you’ve been seeking a professional pediatric dentist near Wayland, MA, then Smiles in Framingham is the dentistry practice for you.