Dental care plays an important role in keeping mouths and bodies healthy for all age groups, but even more so during early childhood when the dental system is developing. Introducing a child to the dental team earlier rather than later provides an opportunity to create a positive relationship where a child is not fearful or anxious of a dental visit, but actually views it as a time of positive reinforcement and reward. Bringing a child to the dentist for the first time with a dental issue can be overwhelming for the child, as not only are they having to deal with meeting strangers for the first time they’re also faced with potential tooth discomfort.
A Happy Visit Helps Create Healthy Smiles
There’s a lot of good things that come from a happy visit with a dentist. Offered primarily to toddlers and young children who are meeting the dental team for the first time – a happy visit is a stress-free time when a ride in the chair and a treat from the treasure chest starts to build a relationship based on trust and confidence. When a child is in pain due to tooth injury, infection, or dental decay; treatment is more readily accepted if they have previously met the dentist. Dental confidence is developed in childhood and is built on controlled appointments where treatment doesn’t scare or alarm the child.
Early Checkups Help Prevent Cavities and Tooth Decay
Dental decay not only robs a child of their smile but can cause pain and discomfort that prevents them concentrating at school and being able to eat a balanced and nutritious diet. Early and regular monitoring of a child’s dentition helps ensure that tooth enamel is not being destroyed by oral bacteria. Young children lack the dexterity and concentration to brush their teeth thoroughly, which puts them at risk of developing dental decay due to food remnants and plaque (bacteria) remaining on tooth surfaces and between teeth. Though a parent may notice decay forming on the chewing surfaces of molars – it’s almost impossible to detect decay forming between teeth without the use of a dental tool. Regular dental visits from a young age also help to explain and reinforce good brushing – and reward a child for doing a great job of taking care of their teeth.
Poor Tooth Alignment is Caught Early
Good oral health doesn’t just consist of cavity-free white teeth, but also encompasses the health of jaw joints, gum tissue, and tooth alignment. A bad bite that includes crooked and misaligned teeth can quickly jeopardize the entire health of the mouth by increasing the risk of decay, increasing gum inflammation, and putting additional stress on jaw joints during functional movement. When a child sees a dentist regularly their bite can be monitored for signs of poor tooth alignment and early intervention can be started in the hopes of correcting bite issues so that extensive orthodontic treatment is not required at a later stage.