Parents are swarmed by information about raising children including those related to oral care and the pediatric dentist. While most parents know they need to teach our children about proper mouth care, they don’t always know the when’s, why’s, or where. Below we will breakdown the most common questions about your child and when they should visit a pediatric dentist.
Fact: According to the CDC, Cavities are the number one chronic infectious disease of childhood.
When Should Your Child First Visit a Pediatric Dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children see the dentist at one year old, or six months after the eruption of their first tooth, whatever comes first. While this may seem young to some, primary teeth begin growing around six months allowing exposure to a variety of elements that may change the course of their overall oral health. Starting your child early at the pediatric dentist creates the added benefit of a dental home where they feel more comfortable for each subsequent visit.
The Importance of Baby Teeth
The truth is, baby teeth are a key part of the lifelong journey of oral health. The key to a healthy mouth is always prevention. The first dental appointment serves as a guide for parents to learn proper techniques about brushing and flossing to maintain a healthy smile.
According to the AAPD, keeping primary (or “baby”) teeth in place until they are lost naturally is paramount. Primary teeth are important for many reasons:
- Helping children chew properly to maintain good nutrition.
- Involvement in speech development.
- Helping save space for permanent teeth.
- Promoting a healthy smile that helps children feel good about the way they look.
What to Expect at Commonwealth Dentistry
At Commonwealth Dentistry, we are happy to serve every member of your family. We proudly offer preventative dentistry, restorative dentistry, sedation dentistry, and more.
Preventative care is the cornerstone towards long term, healthy oral care. For children, preventive care includes anticipatory guidance, routine cleanings and exams, fluoride treatment, sealants, and orthodontic referrals. You can start bringing your child to our dental office at the age of one year old, or when the first tooth erupts – whichever comes first.
|Age||What To Expect|
|First tooth eruption-1 year||First visit. Creation of a dental home and get to know the pediatric dentist.|
|1-5 years||Assess overall dental health, talk healthy habits, and gain familiarity with the pediatric dentist. Schedule regular dental visits.|
|6-12||Children begin loosing and gaining baby teeth. Assess overall health. Make recommendations for orthodontic care.|
|Teens||Continue ongoing care, visit the dentist every 6 months or more if oral health conditions are diagnosed.|
Another paramount pillar of overall dental health is Restorative Care, because dental issues can arise regardless of age. Restorative dental care includes any service we provide to restore your child’s natural smile and oral health when one or more teeth are damaged or missing. This care can include cavity fillings, tooth extractions, crowns, and more.
Many children (and adults) have a fear of the dentist. However, there are many ways to help children understand and calm fears of the pediatric dentist. Our specially trained team takes every measure to ensure you and your child feel comfortable and at ease. We work with each family on an individual basis, based on the child’s needs, and we will discuss all of your concerns with you before your visit.
Sedation Dentistry is one way to calm dental fears associated with the pediatric dentist. We typically recommend sedation for long or multiple procedures, but also for children with fear, special needs, or an inability to sit still.
Before Your Pediatric Dentist Visit:
Sneak Previews: Lead by example and bring your child with you or older siblings to dental appointments. They will feel more comfortable at their appointment by seeing people they trust in the hot seat.
Talk About It: Talk about teeth care, make silly songs, have fun! This will encourage your child to want to brush and floss. There are a variety of fun stories, books, even shows that can help children feel comfortable at the dentist.
Pretend Play: Kids love interacting with you! Practice being the dentist and the patient. Make the visit fun by bringing a favorite stuffed animal or toy with your little. The toy can partake in the dental visits while also offering comfort.
Time: Running behind can add undue stress to any situation, plan plenty of time so that the dental visit is not rushed.
Rest: Make sure your child is well-rested before the visit so that he or she feels relaxed and comfortable. Also, consider nap times when scheduling your appointment.
Be Prepared: Think ahead about any questions you have regarding dental care for your child.
Meet Dr. Jennifer Dixon
Our board-certified pediatric dentist, Dr. Jennifer Dixon, is here to take care of your children’s dental needs. She attended the College of William and Mary, where she graduated with a degree in biology and minor in chemistry, and later she earned her Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from VCU School of Dentistry. Jennifer and her husband Mark live in Richmond with their two children, Kate and Emma, their goldendoodle Max, and their Dutch Warmblood horse Touchdown. As recent as 2020, Dr. Jennifer Dixon was selected by her peers as a Top General Dentist according to Richmond Magazine. To learn more about Dr. Dixon check out her full bio here.