If Your Baby Has Teeth, It’s Time for Dental Care! Here’s Why

Your baby’s first tooth is a major milestone. The appearance of that perfect little pearly white is exciting—and a sign that it’s time to make an appointment for your baby’s first dental visit.

That’s right: Even if your little one is just a few months old, their teeth can get cavities. The American Dental Association recommends that infants see a dentist for the first time after they get their first tooth, but before their first birthday. Doing so ensures that your child’s teeth get off to a healthy and strong start and that they grow up comfortable and confident when seeing the dentist.

 Young boy gets comfortable in the dentist chair while holding a friendly puppet.

At Newtown Dentistry, Dr. Chris and her team are experienced pediatric dental professionals who love helping kids of all ages maintain bright, healthy smiles. And kids love coming here, too! We understand, though, that many parents have questions or concerns about bringing babies to the dentist, so we’ve compiled this fact sheet to help you understand why your baby’s first dental visit is so important, what to expect, and what sets Newtown Dentistry apart.

“But My Baby Only Has A Few Teeth!”: Common Concerns About The First Dental Visit

Many parents are surprised to learn that their baby needs to see a dentist so early in life—even if they only have one or two teeth. In fact, some people are under the impression that children don’t need regular dental care until all of their teeth have erupted, or until their permanent teeth have come in.

These misconceptions are often due to misinformation about what happens during a child’s first dental visit, questions about treatments, and other common concerns. We hear many of these worries from our families who ask questions like:

Is it really worth seeing a dentist so soon? My baby doesn’t have many teeth and they are just going to fall out anyway!

Dental care is more than just cleanings and cavity checks. Seeing the dentist early on can help identify issues that may be problematic later, ensuring your baby starts off on the path to a lifetime of oral health.

But early appointments are also about establishing a dental home. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that families have a dental home, a practice they consistently visit. Not only are children more comfortable with a dentist they know and see regularly, but seeing the same dentist improves the quality of care. Not to mention, children who have a good experience with dental care from the start are less likely to develop dental anxiety or phobias that can affect them for the rest of their lives.

Are dental X-rays dangerous for children?

Many parents have questions about X-rays and are hesitant to have their children’s teeth and jaw x-rayed at the dentist due to concerns about radiation exposure. Dental X-rays are a vital tool for the detection of disease and damage, and for evaluating tooth development.

Babies do not receive X-rays at their very first dental visit. Most children typically get their first set of images between the ages of 3 and 5, depending on their oral health and risk for tooth decay and other problems. Newtown Dentistry is committed to patient safety and well-being, and that’s why we use low radiation imaging equipment, which reduces radiation by up to 90%. Our X-ray imaging process is as safe as possible, so you can rest assured.

What about fluoride? Is it really necessary?

A toddler enjoys playing with puppets at  Newtown Dentistry.You may have heard that fluoride is potentially harmful to your child. However, most of the concerns related to fluoride use are due to ingesting excessive amounts of the mineral—far more than what would ever be used in a dental setting.

Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by preventing demineralization, which weakens teeth and leaves them vulnerable to harmful bacteria. We recommend applying a fluoride varnish to children’s teeth every 2-4 months beginning at six months (or when they get their first tooth) through age five.

Newtown Dentistry also uses silver diamine fluoride to treat tooth decay in toddlers and children. Because they are still developing good oral hygiene habits, children are susceptible to cavities. Applying silver diamine fluoride is a safe and effective alternative to fillings, as it can stop the progression of a small cavity. Instead of a potentially frightening dental procedure, fluoride is a fast, non-invasive way to protect the tooth until it falls out.

What to Expect at Your Baby’s First Dental Visit

As you might expect, your baby’s first dental visit isn’t going to be like the visits you are used to. A significant part of the visit is spent on education, with the doctor getting to know you and your child, discussing your questions and concerns, and providing advice and information on how to best care for your child’s teeth as they erupt and grow.

For the actual exam, you will sit in the chair with your baby on your lap while Dr. Chris:

  • Counts teeth and looks for signs of tooth decay
  • Examines their lips and tongue, and the inside of their cheeks for any unusual spots or bumps
  • Inspects their gums for anything unusual
  • Checks for lip and tongue tie
  • Evaluates their bite

During the appointment, don’t hesitate to ask questions about your child’s dental health, teething, signs of problems to watch for, or any other concerns you have. Dr. Chris will also apply a fluoride varnish to the surface of the teeth, to help prevent or slow tooth decay.

Schedule Your Baby’s First Dental Visit at Newtown Dentistry

If your baby’s first tooth has appeared, don’t wait to make an appointment to see the dentist. A lifetime of good oral health starts now, and Dr. Chris and the entire team at Newtown Dentistry are committed to making the experience as enjoyable as possible for everyone.

Schedule your child’s appointment today here, or call us any time at 215-774-5193.

  • AUTHOR

    Newtown Dentistry

  • DATE

    March 9, 2022

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