Are Baby Teeth Really that Important?
There are a lot of firsts throughout your child’s life, especially in the beginning. First tooth. First word. First steps. First haircut. And of course… first dentist appointment!
Some parents wonder about the importance of early dental visits for their children, thinking “Those baby teeth are going to fall out anyway, how much could they really matter?”
You’re probably not surprised that they do matter – a lot. Young children are particularly susceptible to cavities, especially if they use a bottle or pacifier. Early dental visits are a major key in making sure your child stays as healthy as possible.
Not only does making a commitment to healthy baby teeth (also known as primary teeth) instill good oral hygiene habits early in your child’s life, it also helps to make sure that permanent teeth come in strong and remain healthy.
Baby Steps for Baby Teeth
We know that going to the dentist, especially for the first time, can be scary for your child. But one of the keys to overcoming the anxiety that can be associated with dental exams is to help your child become accustom to visiting the dentist at an early age. TheAmerican Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that a child visit the dentist before their first birthday or after their first tooth has erupted – whichever comes first.
When it comes to our patients who are 3 years old or younger, our main goal is for a quick and easy visit. Whether they can’t or just don’t want to, we know some kiddos have trouble sitting still for very long. That’s why we aim to get them in and out of the appointment in about 10-15 minutes. During that time, we’ll do everything we can to make your child comfortable and reassure them that everything will be okay if they start to get worried or scared.
For most of our friends under 3 years old, their visit will consist of a very basic exam, called an infant lap exam. During this exam, a parent/guardian will sit knee to knee with Dr. Gambill and your kiddo will sit on your lap facing you. We will then gently lay the child back on your legs while resting their head on Dr. Gambill’s knees. The exam is quick and comfortable but is a great way for Dr. Gambill to check all teeth and give them a great cleaning.
We’ll also use this time to discuss any concerns that you may have or answer any questions. Just like older children and adults, young patients are encouraged to have check-ups every 6 months. Not only will this help make sure that teeth are remaining healthy and developing properly, but it will help your child begin to become more familiar with our staff and office. We’ve found that this is often a major factor to helping kids feel comfortable with treatments they will need in the future like cleanings, fluoride treatments and x-rays.
Call us to Set Up and Appointment
If your child is nearing or has passed (no judgment) the time for their first dental visit, give us a call to schedule an appointment. We’re happy to answer all your questions. Happy and healthy smiles are our main goal at Pediatric Dentistry of Shreveport-Bossier. And that means making our patients AND their families happy!