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Your child’s first few trips to the dentist are quite important, but many parents are unsure of when these appointments should begin. Some parents believe it is best to wait until a certain age while others fret over issues such as impacted teeth and thrush. If you have recently had a child and are wondering when to schedule their first dental appointment, then read ahead for a look at a few signs that your infant might be ready for a checkup.
- Their First Birthday Is Coming Up
According to the American Dental Association, children should have their first dental checkup no later than their first birthday. According to the Salt Lake City dentists at South Temple Dental, even if your child’s first teeth have not erupted, your dentist will be able to start the process of tracking their bite pattern, jaw development, and gums. Not many parents realize that the single most common childhood disease is tooth decay, and this pervasive medical issue can be completely avoided by the vast majority of children with the proper preventative care.
In addition to checking for tooth decay and gum disease, you will also be able to speak with your dentist about any other concerns you have regarding your child’s oral health. This might include issues such as respiratory infections, thumb sucking, congestion, and trouble eating. Just as with tooth decay, most of these problems can be avoided with preventative care.
- Severe Oral Discomfort
Many parents find it difficult to accept the fact that their child is going to experience some pain and discomfort while teething. For most families, there are a number of simple steps that can be taken to minimize this discomfort. Options such as cleaning the baby’s gums with a wet cloth and freezing their pacifier will allow most families to get through this stressful time, but it is not always enough. Some parents will find themselves dealing with a cranky and crying baby for weeks at a time, and all of this can be exacerbated by unusual sleep habits.
There are a few signs that the discomfort should be addressed by a dentist. Most importantly, parents should keep an eye out for erupting teeth. If the child appears to be teething for quite some time but no teeth are visible, then they might have an impacted tooth.
- Gum Irregularities
Bacterial issues such as thrush are not extremely common, but it does affect around 5 percent of babies. In many cases, thrush is first identified by the infant’s primary healthcare provider. Your doctor might suggest either letting the condition go away on its own or consulting with a dentist. Luckily, a baby’s immune system will typically get rid of these bacterial infections within a few weeks. When the thrush lasts for longer than a few weeks, however, it is time to contact a dentist.
Parents should also be wary of any gum conditions that are affecting the skin around their infant’s mouth. Untreated thrush does have the possibility of spread to their lips and the nearby soft tissue. You should also keep an eye out for any secondary issues that are accompanying the thrush. This includes a fever, excess vomiting, or severe diaper rash. Other gum irregularities that you should take note of include unusual white bumps that do not go away, shiny gums, and inflammation. While the vast majority of these issues are not serious, it is always a better idea to get them checked out early.
Preventative checkups will allow your child to avoid many of the most common oral health issues as their jaws, gums, and baby teeth continue to grow.