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When Should Dental Care Begin for a Baby?

Baby dental care can be a confusing topic for first-time parents. When should you see a dentist? Should you see a pediatric dentist? How will you keep your baby’s mouth clean? Do you even need to care for your baby’s teeth when they’re only consuming milk or formula?


Don’t worry, these are all common questions parents ask, and you’re not alone. Let’s explore these questions about a dentist for your baby and how you can keep their mouth clean before their first tooth erupts.


When Should It Begin?


Now, let’s ask the real question: When should you schedule your baby’s first dental appointment? Generally, an infant’s first tooth starts emerging within their first six to twelve months. You can schedule your child’s first baby dental care appointment around that time.


In some instances, an infant’s first tooth erupts before six months. If you’re in this situation, you can schedule their first dental visit sooner. The timing can vary from child to child, but a general rule of thumb is to have your baby’s teeth examined when they show signs of their first tooth.


Here are some symptoms you should keep an eye out for:

  • Constant gnawing and chewing
  • Drooling more than usual
  • Irritability and fussiness
  • Swollen gums
  • Trouble sleeping or eating


Preparing for the First Appointment


First off, why should you choose a pediatric dentist over a family dentist? A main reason is that pediatric dentists have completed additional training in the specialty of pediatric dentistry, giving them the knowledge and skills to address the unique oral needs of children. Plus, pediatric dentists know how to adapt their care to meet the needs of children, including dental growth and development, teething, and age-specific dental health issues.


When it comes to your baby’s first dental visit, preparation is key. For a first-time parent, caring for your baby’s teeth is a new experience for you and your child, so making the process as comfortable as possible is essential. Here are some tips to prepare for your baby’s first appointment:

  • Try and schedule the appointment during a time when your baby is usually well-rested and in a good mood
  • Bring along comforting items such as a favorite toy or blanket
  • Bring along any previous medical records, including vaccination history
  • Make sure to have all necessary insurance information ready


Making their first visit a positive experience will set the tone for the rest of their dental appointments, so you should ensure they feel comfortable and at ease during the process.


Can a Dentist Help with Teething?


Your baby’s pediatric dentist can also provide helpful advice and guidance on teething. Teething can be a challenging time for both parents and babies, but there are ways to help ease the discomfort.


Your pediatric dentist may recommend using clean fingers or a cool compress to massage your baby’s gums gently. They may also suggest over-the-counter pain relief medication if necessary.


Aside from assisting with teething, regular dental visits for your baby can also help prevent any potential dental issues. Early detection and intervention are vital in maintaining good oral health for your child.


How Can You Help Your Baby Teeth Comfortably at Home?


Teething is not a pleasant experience for infants. However, there are numerous ways you can help make the experience less distressing for your child. Here are a few tips:

  • Wipe your baby’s gums every after mealtime with a clean, damp cloth
  • When the first tooth appears, gently brush it using a soft-bristled toothbrush and water
  • Only use toothpaste formulated for infants that your dentist has recommended
  • Don’t give your baby sweetened liquids in their bottle, especially before bedtime
  • Minimize bottle time to avoid tooth decay


Who Should You See?


Finding the right pediatric dentist for your baby can be tricky, but it’s critical that you do your research thoroughly. Experience should be one of the top qualities you look for in a dentist. Dentists and clinics typically include credentials and certifications on their website, making it easier for you to evaluate their experience.


In line with professional experience, expertise in baby dental care is another crucial factor to look for. Read the dentist’s reviews, browse their case studies, and talk to other parents about their experiences with the dentist or clinic. Your child needs to have a positive first dental experience, so choose a pediatric dentist or clinic that makes your baby feel comfortable and at ease.


Schedule Your Kid’s First Dental Check-Up Today


A baby’s first tooth is a memorable experience for every parent. To ensure that you and your baby have a delightful experience, schedule a visit with an experienced and reputable pediatric dentist. Bay Area Kids Dentist is a reliable dental clinic that offers exceptional dental care from board-certified pediatric dentists for infants and children in the area. Contact us today to schedule your child’s first dental check-up from one of our four Bay Area locations.