Selecting a pediatric dentist for your child can feel like a big decision for many parents, and it’s a crucial first step to ensure a lifetime of healthy oral habits.
The first dental visit is educational and helps to establish a Dental Home – or home base – for your child’s dental needs. At the first visit, the pediatric dentist will examine your child’s teeth and may also discuss brushing techniques or take a model of the child’s teeth, depending on the stage of growth.
Since pediatric dentists receive 2-3 years of additional training beyond dental school, they are experienced in making your child feel comfortable during the visit and will help ensure you have the necessary tools and information to help keep your child cavity-free. You can also consider a “get acquainted” visit before your first appointment in order to get your child familiar with and comfortable in the office.
You may call 1-844-LEAPKID or fill out this form to request an appointment. You will receive an email or phone call from Leap to confirm your appointment details.
Be sure to include the primary purpose of the appointment, and if there is a specific day or time that works best for you and your child.
WHAT EVERY PARENT NEEDS TO KNOW
When should I take my child for their first check-up?
When their first tooth appears. Or no later than age one.
Why are baby teeth so important?
Baby teeth are important for eating, development of jaw bones and speech development. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt.
When should I start brushing my child’s teeth?
The sooner the better! Starting at birth, clean your child’s gums with a soft infant toothbrush or cloth and water. Parents should use a tiny smear of fluoride toothpaste to brush baby teeth twice daily as soon as they erupt and a soft, age-appropriate sized toothbrush. What foods can be harmful to my child’s teeth?
How do I make my child’s diet safe for his teeth?
Treats should be treats. Teeth and bacteria are always present in the mouth, so we need to focus on the intake of sugar. Although the decay process is very complex, restricting the amount of sugar and the frequency of the intake of sugar can help reduce the risk of dental decay. Sugar is in all of our foods it seems, so to say ‘don’t eat sugar,’ isn’t very realistic. A better approach may be to limit the intake of sugar-containing foods and beverages to only be served at mealtimes or snack times.
When should my child begin flossing?
When he or she has two teeth side-by-side. We recommend using the child-sized flossing sticks daily. Unfortunately, we see many children with cavities between the teeth. Many foods and snacks (especially the sticky ones like gummies and soft, fruity shaped candies and vitamins) get stuck between the teeth. Without flossing, brushing alone usually doesn’t remove it.
Should my child have bottles in bed?
Don’t put your child to bed with a bottle or cup of milk or juice, unless you plan to brush their teeth before they nod off. The problem with letting your child fall asleep with the bottle without washing or brushing their teeth off before falling asleep is SUGAR. The sugar in any type of milk will decay your child’s teeth. This is especially true for those children who fall asleep holding their own bottle and the milk is left to pool in their mouths.
What about thumb sucking?
Thumb and pacifier sucking habits will generally only become a problem if they go on for a very long period of time. Most children stop these habits on their own, but if they are still sucking their thumbs or fingers past the age of three, a mouth appliance may be recommended by your pediatric dentist.
Should we ditch the pacifier?
The AAPD recommends that it be stopped by age 3. The dental changes that may be caused by the use of a pacifier is greatly influenced by the intensity of suction, the frequency and how long they suck. Thumb sucking and any kind of non-nutritive sucking can cause the same dental damage as a pacifier.
What is the difference between a general dentist and a pediatric dentist?
Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.
Ger more details from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentists.