Do Babies Need a Dentist?

Every child develops at their own pace, so your baby’s first teeth may erupt earlier or later than other children their age, or even their siblings. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), even babies need to see a dentist. Parents are advised to schedule the baby's first dental appointment by their first birthday, or six months after the first tooth erupts. 

At Oasis Pediatric Dental Care & Orthodontics, our pediatric dentist, Dr. Nathalie Phaeton, and our orthodontist, Dr. Ki Youn Kil, offer dental care for babies and pediatric dentistry services at our office in Falls Church, Virginia.

Why babies need a dentist

Despite the fact they eventually fall out, primary teeth lay the foundation for the permanent teeth that will follow. Orthodontic problems can be detected as early as age six, and regular pediatric dental visits allow our team to monitor your baby’s development and spot any issues as early as possible.

Babies and young children are also vulnerable to, and at risk for, “adult” dental and oral health problems like tooth decay. Formula, baby food, sugary drinks, and snacks can all attract bacteria buildup on your baby’s gums (even before they have any teeth).

What to expect at your child’s first dental appointment

A pediatric dental exam includes checking the child’s gums and any teeth for signs of decay, as well as examining their bite pattern. Our dentists also give them a gentle cleaning of the gums and teeth. We discuss their diet and nutrition with you, and can provide you with useful information about how to handle issues and milestones like teething, thumb sucking, and bottle feeding. We answer all of your questions and show you how to care for your baby’s gums and teeth at home as they begin to erupt.

In general, baby teeth start to erupt around six months of age, and most children have all of their primary teeth in place by age two. Like adults, children should see their dentist every six months (unless your dentist tells you otherwise) to prevent tooth decay and monitor their development.

Along with the oral health benefits, pediatric dental care can help young children establish trust and an ongoing rapport with the dentist, which can lower the risk that they’ll develop dental anxiety and neglect their oral health in the future. A lifetime of healthy teeth and gums starts when they’re babies. 

For more information about when to schedule your child’s first appointment with the dentist, call Oasis Pediatric Dental Care & Orthodontics today at 703-498-2440, or schedule online.

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