A child’s first dental visit is an important step towards dental health. A child’s first visit should be between 18 and 24 months old. The first dental visit is to help motivate your child and familiarize him or her to the dental instruments in a playful way. The Dentist /pedodontist will examine your child’s mouth to detect decay, assess tooth development, identify abnormal facial development, teach proper oral hygiene techniques and give guidance regarding oral habits. Depending on your child’s co-operation few x-rays may be taken to help detect hidden cavities.
The first tooth usually erupts between 6-9 months of age. However there is a wide range of tooth eruption and it is not unusual for a child to have delayed eruption of teeth. When your child is teething he or she will be restless, may drool, gums may be sensitive, may have a low grade fever and diarrhea. Treatment can include – massaging sore gums with a finger or teething rings, placing ice or frozen rings on gum areas. The best remedy is your child’s pediatric dose of Tylenol or fever reducing medication for pain. Orajel type products may work for a short period of time, but are not recommended.
Proper oral hygiene should be instituted as early as when the first tooth comes into the mouth. Teeth should be wiped off with a gauze pad, diaper or thin washcloth. A toothbrush is not necessary as most young children will chew on it and destroy it in a day. Toothpaste is not necessary as most children will swallow it. If toothpaste is needed due to stain on the teeth, a non fluoride toothpaste should be used until a child can spit out. Wiping off the teeth and gum pads will massage them and help reduce teething discomfort. Plaque will form on any tooth and the gum pads around them causing potential inflammation and teething discomfort.
Dental problems can begin very early. The primary cause of dental decay in young children is nursing or baby bottle tooth decay. A baby may get severe decay when he or she nurses constantly from the breast or a bottle containing milk or juice during bedtime or naps. A child should not be put to bed with a bottle of milk, juice, or sweetened liquid. If a bottle is used, only water should be used. A pacifier is preferable. It is advisable to stop bottle or breast feeding by one year of age.