Kate's Fear of TMJ

Does Your Toddler Need To See A Dentist?

Being a parent is tough. On top of the physical demands of the job, you're often left wondering what you're supposed to be doing. Is it time to start potty training? Does your child need preschool or should you wait for kindergarten? When does your kid need to see a dentist? Well, the answer to the last question, at least, is contained below.

When should a child's first dental checkup be?

The general recommendation is when your child gets their first tooth, or no later than their first birthday. If you're like many parents and have already missed the boat on that recommendation, it isn't ever too late. Even if you believe your child's teeth to be free of decay or other maladies, a visit to the dentist does two things: 

  1. It makes sure you're not missing a problem, like small areas of decay that are easily treated, but could turn into major problems.
  2. It helps your child adjust to visiting the dentist and can help prevent fears of the dentist later on.

Does a child need a special dentist?

Some dentists bill themselves as "family dentists," and they are more than happy to accept young patients. Others prefer to treat adults only. Either way, if your child needs any dental treatment it is likely they will be referred to a pediatric dentist. Dentists who practice pediatric dentistry receive specialized training in the needs of children and the use of more powerful sedatives. Adults who are afraid of the dentist can usually cope a little, but when a child is afraid they can become violent or traumatized by routine dental work. In that case, a pediatric dentist can administer sedatives to help them cope, keep them calm during treatment, and prevent pain and bad memories associated with the dentist.

What signals a child's need for an immediate appointment?

Kids can be tough to read sometimes. If you're wondering whether you need to make an appointment for your kiddo, here are a few surefire signs your child needs to be seen by a dentist:

  1. Swelling of the jaw or cheek. This can indicate an abscessed tooth, and will need immediate treatment.
  2. Chipping teeth. This is a sign of a significant amount of tooth decay.
  3. Refusing to eat or drink. Your child may have tooth pain if they are otherwise not ill and are refusing to eat or drink.

Knowing what a kiddo needs from a dentist is a great way to set your child up for a lifetime of healthy teeth.