Being a new parent presents many challenges, from feeding to changing to healthcare, and even oral care. There’s a lot to learn, and it’s okay to ask questions along the way. While you may not always be able to turn to a grandparent or partner for advice, you can always turn to a professional for information on your child’s needs. Your child’s pediatric dentist can answer quite a lot for you, and they likely know what you may have questions about. Here are a few questions that might come up on (or before) your first visit to the pediatric dentist.
Q: When should my child visit the dentist for the first time?
A: Children should visit the dentist sometime prior to their first birthday.
Once their teeth start to come in, it’s important to follow up with your pediatric dentist as to how you should care for baby teeth and to ensure nothing is wrong as the teeth start to come in. This is also the perfect opportunity to get some helpful tips on caring for your child’s teeth generally. You may also want to ask when you can expect the teething to stop, and when to expect adult teeth to start coming in (don’t worry, it won’t be right away!).
Q: Is it okay to give my child a pacifier or let them suck their thumb?
A: Until the child’s teeth start to come in, using a pacifier or allowing the child to suck their thumb is perfectly fine as many children are calmed and relaxed by it.
However, once the child’s teeth start to come in, this should be limited and ultimately phased out to ensure your child’s incoming teeth aren’t affected by having something in the mouth.
Q: How should I brush/clean my child’s teeth?
A: For infants who don’t have a complete set of teeth yet, you should start by wiping the mouth down after each feeding with a damp cloth to remove any sugars or bacteria from the mouth that may cause the teeth to decay.
Once your child has a full set of baby teeth, begin brushing (or letting your child brush when they have the needed motor skills) for 2 minutes twice a day to prevent tooth decay.
Q: What should I do if my child has a dental emergency?
A: Depending on the severity of the dental emergency, your child may need cared for by their pediatric dentist rather than physicians at the Emergency Room.
If a tooth has been chipped, cracked, or knocked out, make sure your child has no other injuries that are potentially more threatening than the tooth. Other issues like toothaches or bitten tongues/cheeks may be remedied at home, but if pain or bleeding continues, visit your pediatric dentist. For severe injuries, visit the Emergency Room.
While this may not answer all questions posed by new mothers, these are common occurrences for young children that your pediatric dentist is equipped to handle. For further questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact your child’s dentist.