Early Dental Care
What is Early Dental Care?
Early dental care should begin around age one or within 6 months of the appearance of the first tooth. Many parents are unaware that babies should see a dentist at such a young age. Early dental care is important for a variety of reasons. Dental and oral health problems can begin before there are any visible teeth. Early dental evaluations also provide a baseline for which to measure growth and development of the jaw and teeth.
Benefits of Early Dental Care
Starting early with professional dental care has many benefits:
- Prevent tooth decay. As soon as teeth are visible above the gums they are susceptible to decay. Early dental care removes plaque that develops on the teeth before it can lead to cavities.
- Prevent gum disease. Gum disease can occur before any teeth have erupted through the gums. It is important to clean your baby’s gums with a clean cloth or infant toothbrush to remove bacteria from the grooves and folds of the gum tissue. Early oral evaluations can identify gum disease if it is present.
- Detect soft tissue abnormalities. An important part of early dental appointments is an oral evaluation to detect any soft tissue abnormalities. Most of the time nothing is found, and if so it is usually benign. But early detection of a problem significantly improves the outcome.
- Establish positive feelings about dental care. When children start going to the dentist as infants they become used to the routine and are less likely to be anxious or fearful. A positive experience with dental care from a young age establishes the foundation for a lifetime of dental health.
We provide the following early dental care services:
- Comprehensive oral evaluations. We perform a thorough evaluation of the teeth, soft tissues of the mouth, neck, and head to assess current health and determine if any treatment is necessary.
- Dental cleanings. Any teeth that are visible will be cleaned to remove plaque and polished to be smooth.
- Fluoride treatments. We begin applying fluoride treatments to the teeth at an early age to strengthen the enamel and make it more resistant to decay.
Why Choose Attleboro Pediatric Dentistry?
As a pediatric dental practice, children’s dental care is our area of expertise. We begin seeing patients in infancy to give them a healthy start with dental care. We are strong advocates for early dentistry because we’ve seen the amazing benefits it provides for children’s dental and overall health.
Oral health is an excellent indicator of a child’s physical wellness. Healthy teeth allow children to chew properly in order to get necessary nutrition. Unhealthy teeth may indicate a diet high in sugar and low in essential nutrients.
The friendly and positive attitudes of our dentist, dental team, and staff help children feel comfortable, cared for, respected, and valued. We make children the center of attention during dental appointments, treating them like the guest of honor. They leave smiling and feeling motivated to take care of their teeth.
Frequently Asked Questions About Early Dental Care
What if my baby gets upset or refuses treatment?
We never force or pressure infants and young children to cooperate. We gently persuade with patience and understanding, especially for the first appointment. If your baby won’t let us look in their mouth or clean their teeth without getting upset, we simply try again next time.
Is there a minimum age for fillings?
Babies as young as 6 months with visible teeth can develop tooth decay. There is not necessarily a minimum age for getting a cavity filled. Tooth decay should be treated as soon as it is detected to prevent it from worsening.
What if my baby is older than one and has not been to the dentist?
It is never too late to start dental care. If your baby is older than one and has not yet been to the dentist, schedule an appointment. Some children reach school age without ever having a professional dental exam, making them more likely to develop tooth decay and gum disease. The earlier treatment begins, the better for your child’s dental health.
Are dental cleanings and exams covered by insurance?
Most insurance plans cover preventive dentistry, which includes dental cleanings and exams every 6 months. Contact your dental insurance provider or refer to your benefits guide for more information about your plan and coverage. Medicaid also covers preventive dental care for children.
Can children get oral cancer?
It is extremely rare for children to develop oral cancer. Most soft tissue abnormalities discovered in children are benign. Early dental care helps rule out the possibility.
To learn more, call 508-409-6160 or contact us today to schedule an appointment.