Life is filled with rites of passage: wedding days, graduations, and even retirement. One tradition that should start as soon as possible is seeing the dentist for regular exams. The bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease don’t wait until adulthood to start causing trouble. They begin their dirty work as soon as we’re born.
What Your Dentist Can Do for Your Young Family’s Health
Dental professionals are trained to notice important details that the rest of us can miss. They can often see signs of future problems soon after a child is born, such as misaligned teeth. They can also spot symptoms of oral health conditions that could affect your little one’s health sooner.
For this reason, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends taking your newborn to see your family or pediatric dentist at around six months of age, definitely by their first birthday. This is a great way to get a head start on their lifelong dental health.
What to Expect during an Initial Dental Visit
A very young child will have no idea he or she is at the dentist’s office, of course. For you, however, this is the perfect time to establish a cordial relationship with the staff members. It’s also a great time to review your contact information and coverage details with the office manager.
The highlight of the visit will come when you speak with the dentist. He or she will perform a gentle exam of your child’s mouth, lips, and face, and tell you right away about any possible areas of concern. You’ll also get tips on teaching your family how to brush and floss, eat a well-balanced diet, and avoid harmful substances such as tobacco and illicit drugs.
Children who have been going to the dentist from their earliest days may experience little to no anxiety during later dental visits. Nonetheless, it’s only natural for children to be curious and to have concerns. Here are some ways to deal with these challenges:
- Schedule an informal meet-and-greet with the dentist prior to the next regular appointment. This will help your kids to see the dentist as a friend and helper, not as a scary stranger.
- Ask the dentist to explain the basics to your child. Most dentists, especially family and pediatric dentists, have a real knack for putting kids at ease and explaining how the children’s dentistry process works.
- Listen to your child’s concerns with empathy. Trying to belittle your child or dismiss his or her fears will only make them worse.
- Use positive reinforcement. For example, you might reward your child with a trip to the zoo or a favorite sugar-free dessert, but only if he or she has a good dental report and behaves during the visit.
It’s never too early to teach your children the importance of regular dental care. By starting now, you help to ensure a healthy, happy future, both for them and for yourself. We wish you and yours nothing but happy smiles in the days and years to come.
About the Practice
The professionals at Indianapolis Family Dentistry have the equipment and expertise needed to provide outstanding dental care to all members of your family. The clinic has ample parking and is designed with your convenience and comfort in mind. You can reach the office online or by calling (317) 898-3384.