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Your Child’s First Dental Visit

Baby teeth are called primary teeth and they are very important.  Healthy primary teeth help your child chew and pronounce words.  By the time they are born they have 20 primary teeth that have formed inside their gums.  Both of the front teeth typically appear when the child is between 6 and 12 months.  Most children will have a complete set of primary teeth by age 3. Parents wonder why there is concern about baby teeth becoming decayed because they will be replaced by permanent teeth, but decay in primary teeth may damage the permanent teeth that are forming below the gums, and if a primary tooth is lost early, the teeth can shift into the space – leaving no room for the permanent tooth to erupt into the mouth. 

You can protect your child’s teeth by starting checkups early.  The American Dental Association and the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that the first dental visit occurs within 6 months of the appearance of the baby’s first tooth but no later than the child’s first birthday.  At this visit the dentist will check your child’s teeth for early signs of decay, show you how to care for your child’s teeth, discuss fluoride needs, and recommend products that are appropriate for children.  

Some tips for a positive dental experience for your child are to schedule a morning appointment when the child is rested and cooperative, and (most importantly) emphasize the positive, keeping to yourself any anxiety you may feel about dental visits.  Preventive care from your dentist will not only save you time and money, but it will make your child’s visits to the dentist enjoyable.  

– from Pam B. (Dental Hygienist)

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