Your Child’s First Dental Visit

Visit the Dentist Long before the Tooth Fairy Visits

In all likelihood, one of your child’s first words will not be dentist. The arrival of your child’s first tooth, however, means it’s time to visit a dentist in Portland OR. In accordance with the American Dental Association, the American Pediatric Dentistry Association, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, Dr. Joy Arend of East Portland Dentistry encourages families to start children on a regimen of good oral health by scheduling a well-baby checkup within six months of welcoming the first tooth or by age one.

Even though they are temporary, baby teeth require proper oral care because they are susceptible to tooth decay. When baby teeth fall out prematurely, permanent teeth may not come in correctly. Essentially, primary teeth serve as placeholders in the jaw for permanent teeth that are developing under the gums. Without the healthy structure of baby teeth in place until the permanent teeth are ready to come in, the permanent teeth can shift, making it tricky for other permanent teeth to later find room. When cavities weaken the baby teeth, the end result may be crooked or crowded permanent teeth. As part of our mission to prevent tooth decay, we at East Portland Dentistry educate parents and caregivers about the importance of proper oral care so that the focus of the child’s future dental visits is routine maintenance, not restorative or emergency care.

As part of the well-baby checkup, our dental team will examine the jaw and teeth for proper development. This includes checking for oral injuries and cavities. The next step is cleaning the teeth. Our dentists and hygienists realize that your baby may find this new experience unsettling or uncomfortable. Thus, we invite the accompanying parent or caregiver to sit in the dental chair and hold the baby in lap. (We’ve also been known to give a resounding vroom! vroom! when we take children for a ride on the up and down chair.) We do not want ‘dentist’ to be a word that triggers fear. Correspondingly, another benefit of the well-baby checkup is that with regular visits from a young age, your child will have time to establish deep roots (we love dental puns!) of trust and a solid rapport with the East Portland Dentistry team so that your child will comfortably open wide and say ah rather than shriek AH!

The well-baby visit is also an educational session for the parent or caregiver. Our knowledgeable team will discuss healthy feeding practices, how to ensure that children get enough fluoride to ward off cavities, and how to prevent baby bottle tooth decay. We address concerns about teething, thumb-sucking, and using pacifiers. We also provide tips for daily oral care.

At East Portland Dentistry, we believe that a child’s oral health starts with well-informed parents who follow dentist-recommended advice in regard to their infant’s oral hygiene. Together, parents and the dental team at East Portland Dentistry can keep babies smiling. Call today to make an appointment for your child!