Time flies when you’re fighting cavities. Most of us know that we need to see the dentist every six months. It’s just hard to keep track of! As parents, we get so busy that we don’t even notice the days go by before it’s time for another checkup.
At Hacienda Pediatric Dentistry, we try our best to remind our patients and their families when their next checkup is. Getting your teeth examined and cleaned by a professional regularly is one of the most effective ways to prevent cavities. Of course, the number of dental visits a patient needs varies with each case. That’s why we’ve created this handy guide to help parents understand when to visit the pediatric dentist for their kids.
Seeing the Dentist for Babies and Toddlers
It’s never too early to get a headstart on your child’s dental health. No really, ensuring your child has strong and healthy can start as early as when they’re in the womb! What an expecting mothers eat and how they take care of their teeth can actually affect their babies.
When it comes to taking your baby to the dentist, the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry recommends going once the first tooth erupts or when the child turns one, whichever comes first. Even infants who do not have teeth can benefit from seeing a pediatric dentist! Bacteria doesn’t discriminate. It can even build up in mouths without teeth. That’s why it’s important to wipe your child’s gums and clean their tongues after they eat.
When you see a pediatric dentist for the first time, remember to bring your family’s dental history! They will need it to determine what diseases or issues your child is at risk for. A few other services pediatric dentists can provide for babies of any age include:
- Nutritional counseling
- Oral hygiene guidance
- Teething tips
Most importantly, pediatric dentists are trained to care for babies. When you bring your child to a pediatric dentist early on, you are establishing a dental home for them! The pediatric dentist will be able to bond with your child early on and gain their trust.
After you take your child in for an initial checkup, you can follow-up in 6 months. Babies grow fast, so it’s a good idea to take your child to the pediatric dentist often. The pediatric dentist can check that your child’s teeth are developing properly.
Getting Checkups for Children
Children need to get dental checkups every 6 months just like adults do. Since your child needs to see the dentist so often, it’s important that they have a positive relationship with their provider.
At Hacienda Pediatric Dentistry, we provide positive reinforcements and rewards for good behavior. Our pediatric dentist will happily explain procedures before operating, so your child feels at ease in the office.
Sometimes, children need to see the pediatric dentist more than twice a year and that’s totally normal! Here are some common reasons you may want to make an appointment with the kids dentist for your child:
- Wiggly tooth
- Gum disease
Since children have school for most of the day, summer and winter breaks are the perfect time to schedule dental appointments. While you can take your child to the dentist after school, it can be hard to schedule time off work to do so. That’s why Hacienda Pediatric Dentistry is also open on Saturdays from 8 AM to 1 PM. We try our best to accommodate our patients’ needs!
Pediatric Dentistry for Adolescents/Teens
Adolescence is a sensitive time. Kids are going through a lot of changes during this stage of life and it can often cause a rift them and their parents. Luckily, our pediatric dentist is trained to manage behaviors and communication with patients of all ages, including teens! They also work hard to maintain positive relationships with their patients through every stage of life.
The pediatric dentist will also be sure to coordinate with your child’s orthodontist (if they have one) to make sure your child’s teeth are clean and healthy throughout the orthodontic process. Here are common reasons teens need to see the dentist besides routine checkups:
- Gum disease
- Wisdom tooth removal
- Custom mouthguards (for sports or bruxism)
This is also a good time to get your child in the habit of making their own dental appointments. Teens are always busy with school or friends, but you can give them reminders to call the office to schedule a time with the pediatric dentist. This will prepare them for when they’re adults and need to take control of their own dental health.
Once our patients turn 18, they are usually ready to move to a general dental practice! Our pediatric dentistry team will do our best to help them with the transition.
What Dental Emergencies Are
It’s important to see the pediatric dentist as soon as possible when a dental emergency occurs. Give us a call before you arrive at the dentist’s office, so we can prepare for your situation! The most common dental emergencies include chipped or fractured teeth. If your child has a head injury, we strongly suggest heading to an ER or urgent care before the dentist’s office.
As much as we love to see our patients, we don’t want to inconvenience them! We also want them to have strong, healthy teeth that don’t require constant attention from the pediatric dentist. To minimize the number of dental visits they take per year, parents can help their children practice healthy dental habits at home! This includes brushing, flossing, and using antimicrobial or fluoridated mouthwash regularly. Kids can also eat tooth-friendly foods that are packed with vitamins, fiber, calcium, and antioxidants to boost their dental health. Drinking lots of water and limiting sugar can also reduce cavities and the risk of periodontal disease.
Hopefully, this gives you a better idea of when it’s appropriate to visit the dentist for your child at each stage of development! To learn more about pediatric dentistry or to book an appointment today, give us a call! Our pediatric dentist treats patients in Hacienda Heights, Walnut, Whittier, and Diamond Bar.