Absolutely. Baby teeth can still develop cavities, and even though they may not have deep roots, the teeth and gums can still be painful and tender, causing problems with eating as well as difficulties in school and even during social activities. Plus, an untreated cavity or infection can damage the adult teeth that are forming below the gums, resulting in problems as the child gets older. Baby teeth also act as placeholders for permanent teeth, so keeping them healthy is important to ensure the adult teeth emerge as straight as possible. Finally, seeing the dentist on a routine basis can help identify alignment issues and other concerns early so treatment can be provided that may help avoid the need for more costly care later on. And of course, when a child sees the dentist regularly from a young age, they’re more likely to continue to practice good oral hygiene and to have fewer problems as adults.
Pediatric dentistry is focused on the unique oral health needs of kids, and pediatric checkups provide them with the evaluations and treatments they need to enjoy optimal oral health. During the checkup, the teeth and gums will be carefully examined and a teeth cleaning will be performed to remove plaque and tartar. Children will receive guidance about how to improve their brushing and flossing habits at home, and they may also learn about healthy food choices that can help them avoid painful cavities. Dental x-rays may be taken to evaluate the teeth below the gums and fluoride treatments and sealants may be applied to prevent decay. Finally, if cavities or other issues are noted, a treatment plan will be developed to address those issues.
Kids should see the dentist twice a year, just like adults, to check for problems so they can be treated in their earliest stages and to to have a dental cleaning. Ideally, a child should have his or her first dental appointment before their first birthday to check for developmental issues that may need early intervention.