Spokane Family Dentist Discusses Early Childhood Visits

Written by Dr. Collins on Jun 24, 2011

Your child’s baby teeth are very important and need to be properly cared for. Many parents inquire about the need for early childhood dental care, so today I’d like to talk to you about the importance of establishing a routine of dental visits at an early age.

When should my child first see a dentist?

A child should be seen at our Spokane Family Dentist Office as soon as his or her first tooth erupts, usually between 6 and 12 months of age but no later than their first birthday. This visit will establish a pattern of proper dental care for your child and help to avoid “dental phobia” that many adults experience because of an absence of early childhood dental visits.

Why so early? What dental problems could my baby have?

It’s vital that children develop strong, healthy teeth to chew, speak and have an attractive smile. Baby teeth also act as a placeholder in the jaw for permanent teeth, and if a child loses a baby tooth too soon, the teeth beside it may begin to shift into the empty space.  This shift may cause permanent teeth to be crooked or crowded. Routine office visits enable us to monitor these teeth as they emerge and determine if early orthodontics are necessary.

However, the primary reason for early childhood visits to your Spokane, Cheney Family Dentist is to begin a thorough prevention program. Dental problems can develop early, and besides checking for tooth decay and other potential problems, my staff and I can show you the proper way to clean the child’s teeth. Once a child’s diet includes anything besides breast-milk, erupted teeth are at risk for decay. It’s important to remember that the earlier the dental visit, the better the chance of preventing dental problems.

Will my child require dental sealants?

A sealant is a thin, plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of molars, premolars and any deep grooves (called pits and fissures) of teeth.  More than 75% of dental decay begins in these deep grooves.  Teeth with these conditions are hard to clean and are very susceptible to decay.  A sealant protects the tooth by sealing deep grooves, creating a smooth, easy to clean surface. Sealants can protect teeth from decay for many years, but need to be checked for wear and chipping at regular dental visits. Routine early childhood visits will enable us to monitor your child’s dental development and determine if sealants are necessary.

What steps can I take to ensure the good dental health of my child?

The best thing you can do as a parent to help your children maintain a lifelong healthy smile is to provide them with a well-balanced diet, limiting snacks, ensuring that they brush twice per day and floss once per day, and scheduling regular dental checkups for them. Our Spokane and Cheney Family Dentist offices can handle a variety of dental needs. In our convenient locations your children can easily have their regular dental cleanings and general dentistry taken care of along with early orthodontic treatment as necessary.