Why Should My Infant See a Dentist?

Feb 02, 2023

Why Should My Infant See a Dentist?

Your baby is hitting all sorts of milestones: laughing, crawling, eating with utensils — and next up, the dreaded teething stage. What's worse is that those teeth that make such a fuss coming in are only temporary. 

So, why are we so worried about you making an appointment to check up on teeth destined to fall out? 

In this blog, Lifetime Dental Care, PLLC. Drs. April Toyer, Leonard Toyer, Edward Park, Christy Hark, and Payal Patel highlight a few reasons you should add a dentist to your baby's care team. 

Does a baby really need a dentist?

Our opinion? Absolutely. It may seem a little early, but you should already be thinking about your baby's first dental appointment. You should be in our office in Woodbridge, Virginia, within the first six months of the time they sprout their first tooth or by the time they turn a year old — whichever comes first. 

During your appointment, we check your baby for early signs of decay, delayed tooth eruption, and other potential oral health problems. 

It also gives you the opportunity to ask us questions and bring up any concerns you might have. For example, you can talk to us about strategies for developing a healthy oral hygiene plan. 

If you suspect a problem or even notice a cavity already, let us know at your appointment. Family history of cavities and a habit of falling asleep with a bottle or while nursing may put your baby at a higher risk for developing early tooth decay. 

Other changes you should let us know about include white spots on the teeth, ulcers or lesions in the mouth, bruises where a tooth is growing, tooth grinding, and tongue issues.  

Bringing your child to the dentist early also gives them a chance to become comfortable with our dentists and our office, making future appointments much easier for both of you. 

Who should my baby's dentist be?

You might think that any dentist will examine temporary teeth, but you really should take your child to an infant or pediatric dentist. We have the experience and training to address your baby's unique needs. We know exactly what they need and how to make them feel comfortable during their appointment. 

What can I expect from the first appointment?

This first appointment is usually quick, easy, and all about the basics. We begin by greeting your baby, gently counting their teeth, and examining their gums, lips, tongue, and insides of their cheeks. We also examine their bite. 

Typically, we have you stay in the room for the first appointment. Your presence can help your child relax, and we may need an extra pair of hands to keep them from wiggling around. 

Once we give your baby's oral health the green light, we turn to you and your questions and spend some time talking through them. We can discuss things like:

  • Teething
  • Family dental history
  • Oral hygiene
  • Pacifier use
  • Feeding
  • Sleeping habits
  • Thumb-sucking
  • Tooth-friendly foods

Don't hesitate to come up with a list of questions. 

How can I prepare?

Are you picturing candy bribes and meltdowns? We understand. Especially if you're a new parent, the thought of taking your kid to the dentist may trigger panic. But remember, your baby isn't born with ill will toward the dentist — they learn it. 

You can make a trip to the dentist as fun as a trip to the zoo if you play your cards right and employ these kid-friendly strategies:

  • Read books about visiting the dentist
  • Role play going to the dentist
  • Use positive language when talking about the dentist
  • Bring any and all comfort toys and distractions
  • Plan something fun or tasty for afterward

Most importantly: Stay relaxed and positive. Remember, your baby takes their cues from you. 

Got more questions about your baby's oral health needs? Ready to get their first appointment on the calendar? We'd love to talk with you. Call our friendly staff or use our online booking tool to schedule an appointment today.