“What age is it best to bring my child to the dentist for their first visit?”
Contrary to the common belief about milk teeth being transitional and therefore not important, many parents are starting to realize that emerging baby teeth need to be looked after just as carefully as we look after our own teeth. As well as their obvious importance for chewing and speaking, they help proper jaw development and reserve spaces for permanent teeth to come through later. The front teeth will last until age of 5-7, and molars until about 12 years of age.
Whilst it is never too late, we recommend your child’s first visit to the dentist to be just after their first birthday. The best way to begin your child’s dental life is through prevention, and introducing your child from an early age will ensure health during baby teeth development, adult teeth development, and overall health in the long run. The dentist will look for:
How can you help prepare your child before their first dental visit?
It helps to be relaxed with your child when talking about the dentist, treating it as a normal event rather than a ‘big deal’. Be mindful not to use negative words or pass on any feelings of fear and anxiety which you might have. Your positive attitude can help your child feel at home and have lots of fun! Read more.
Early childhood caries (decay)
Children’s teeth are much softer than adult teeth, and therefore prone to decaying more easily. This can be due to their dietary habits, their saliva composition, their general health, or because of genetics. An interesting report from the Australian Dental association is outlined below:
“Tooth decay has ﬁve times the prevalence of that of asthma among children, and each year sees 11 million newly decayed teeth develop. According to government reports, tooth decay is also the second most costly diet-related disease in Australia, which is all the more concerning given that the vast majority of all dental disease is preventable. Almost 35% of parents report their children are only brushing once a day with more than 60% accepting that their children will get tooth decay at some point in their lifetime“ – Australian Dental Association 2012
The prevalence of decay is an alarming fact, but it is more alarming that so many Australians accept their children will at some point be affected by decay. We will screen for this in your child through thorough examination of the anatomy of their teeth, and will help you and your child should they suffer from this condition.
Early recognition of seemingly trivial problems such as snoring, teeth grinding, thumb sucking may actually be signs of sleep apnoea. Accompanying signs may be mouth breathing, narrow jaw structure and dark circles under the eyes. Sleep apnoea is a reduction in breathing efficiency while asleep, which can result in compromised oxygen supply and the quality of sleep your child receives. This can affect your child’s ability to concentrate at school and affect their general behaviour.