What Age Should I Bring My Child To The Dentist?

frist-dentist-visitI would like to take this opportunity to talk to you about your baby’s teeth. I reckon these things should be mentioned in advertisements on television, along with the repetitive instruction to use their brand of toothpaste. I also realized that every pediatrician should have a pediatric dentist as a partner (or be briefed about these things), because while all parents understand that vaccination and visits to the pediatrician is a must, many parents neglect the teeth until after their children first complains of a toothache.

Anyway, here it goes. (Mind you, I am not an expert on parenting,not even in Dentistry, but I feel that this world would be a better place, if all parents knew about these), so What age should I take my child to the dentist?

1. The incisors are the first ones to erupt. The lower incisors can come out as early as 6 months, the upper ones can come as early as eight. Their teeth continue to erupt into their gum pads until 33 months and the complete set is composed of 20 teeth (ten on the upper, ten on the lower).

2. The 1st permanent molars erupt when your baby is 6 (hence they are called “the 6-year old molars”) and they erupt at the back of the last baby molar. It does not replace any baby teeth and because of this, parents do not realize that this molar is already permanent. Being the first ones to erupt into the mouth, they are also the first ones lost (due to decay). The next permanent teeth to erupt are the permanent incisors, at age 7 to 8 years.

3. Milk is the “meanest” culprit for tooth decay in children (hence the term: milk caries) and it is important for parents to make sure that their babies don’t sleep sucking on milk.

4. The moment your baby’s first tooth comes out, you are immediately responsible for it.You cannot come to the dentist blaming “the nanny” or your child (believe me, I get moms who wash their hands and blame their children). As the parent, you are the authority and this is your responsibility

Given the above information… WHAT CAN YOU DO??????????

  • It is important to brush your baby’s teeth. Sometimes it is not even important to use toothpaste. The most important thing is that you remove the milk from the surface of the teeth. You can use toothbrush with or without toothpaste. You can even use cotton and water. Just as long as you are able to clean the teeth before the baby sleeps, that will be fine.
  • If your baby cannot sleep without his bottle, wait until he is almost about to doze off and switch the milk bottle with a bottle of water, to wash away the milk on the teeth.
  • If you cannot do the switch properly (or if your baby does not permit you to trick him/her), wait until you baby is already asleep and get a toothbrush or cotton (with water) and try to clean the teeth and tongue. Make tooth brushing an enjoyable thing to do. Brush your teeth with them, if you must. Play his or her favorite song and encourage them to brush their teeth for the entire length of the song (or 2-3 minutes).

As soon as your baby can be spoken to, can take small instructions, take him/her to the dentist (or before their 1st birthday). This first appointment does not have to be anything more than just “chit-chatting” and “counting teeth”. In my clinic, I use the first appointment to get to know the patient. I do not even show the dental chair immediately, unless I feel that it is going to be okay.

dentist-for-childRegular visits to the dentist is important, especially during the time when the permanent teeth are already due to come out. Extractions can be timed so that the baby teeth will not be a hindrance to the eruption of the permanent teeth. NEVER choose to “prolong the life” of any of his primary teeth, especially if the permanent successor is already erupting. If you want to save money on Orthodontic treatment (braces), take this seriously. Loosening of teeth in the gums is a good indication. If you can pull it out with cotton you can do it at home (believe me a lot of my teeth were taken out that way), but please do not do the “string on the door” method.

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