Early childhood dental visits are some of the most neglected dental visits in a child’s life. We understand the logic behind it.


Parents think that their child is only going to have that first set of teeth until they’re about 10, all of them will fall out, and they’ll get a fresh start with their permanent teeth. The permanent teeth are the ones parents have to worry about, right? 


Well, that’s true, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Neglecting these early dental visits can be extremely problematic, and they can even have lifelong consequences. 


Today, we’re going to go over the importance of early dental visits for children, what you should expect, and what can happen if you don’t commit to them. 


Let’s get started.


How Often Should You Take Your Child to Early Dental Visits? 


Before we start talking about all the ways that early dental visits help your child and why they’re important, let’s talk about how often these visits need to occur.


This tends to be a big reason behind parents simply not making the appointments. It seems as if they’re frequent and just added chores to an already busy life. We understand that perfectly. 


However, it’s not a frequent chore at all.

Alt Tag: Dentist educating a child about the importance of early dental visits.

In most situations, your child only needs to go to the dentist twice per year. This is based on a once-every-six-month timeframe. That’s the American Dental Association recommendation. 


However, some dentist offices do schedule appointments quarterly. So, depending on your dentist, you might expect to go once every 3 months. That’s still not bad. Especially considering regular dentist visits are quick and easy. 


Now, that’s not to say that you will only go to your child’s dentist twice a year. There are a few milestones where you need to book an appointment, and of course, your child will suffer oral injuries or develop cavities that need immediate care.


However, on average, twice a year is a good starting point.


Why Early Dental Appointments Are Important


While regular dental appointments aren’t too frequent, they do still require you to occasionally add yet another thing to your schedule.


So, you should probably know why they’re so important to consistently commit to. What do you and your child get for going to one of these regular dental appointments? 


Well, you both get a lot. 


The baby teeth aren’t just placeholders for the permanent teeth your child develops later. They set the tone for your child’s lifelong oral health


There are several reasons this is an important part of your child’s oral health in the short term and the long term, and we’ll cover each one individually. 


1: Creating the Pathways for Adult Teeth


Baby teeth, as they’re often called, aren’t just there for show or as temporary ways to mash through your child’s first solid foods. They play a pivotal part in preparing the mouth for permanent teeth


This is mostly because they cut through the gums and create the initial pathways that the permanent teeth will use later on in your child’s life.


In essence, your child’s baby teeth create the path for the teeth they’ll have for the rest of their life, and like any foundation, it can either be solid, or it can have some issues that affect everything else.


2: Damaged Baby Teeth Can Damage Permanent Teeth


Did you know that your teeth damage each other? At least, they do when one gets damaged. You’ll notice that if someone has one rotten tooth that is left untreated, they’ll eventually suffer from all the surrounding teeth having cavities, fractures, and other issues


That’s not just because of a general lack of an improper dental routine. That often plays a part in it, but every cavity and other issue builds up bacteria and other nasty things that will start attacking the teeth adjacent to the original messed up tooth.


So, once one of them gets messed up, and that isn’t caught quickly, more tend to get messed up in time whether they start a normal hygiene routine or not. 


3: Regular Early Dental Visits Include Serious Screenings


The dentist’s primary objective during a regular checkup is to examine the mouth, see if there are any issues, and provide an in-depth tooth cleaning. However, a very serious situation can be noticed early during these early visits. 


Oral cancer isn’t overly common in children, and you shouldn’t panic over it, but it is possible. This is one thing that can be detected early by going to the dentist as instructed. 


Unless there’s a serious risk of developing it due to being predisposed to it, this is just lumped in with twice-annual visits. It’s not an extra commitment, but it’s important if it does ever become an issue. 


4: Preventative Care is Administered


During early dental visits, the dentist will provide an in-depth tooth cleaning that goes far beyond what you and your child can do at home. This leaves your child’s mouth sparkling clean and free of all the things that create cavities and other problems. 


Of course, this only happens twice a year, and a proper at-home hygiene routine is crucial, but this helps supplement that, and you only get it by going to the dentist.


5: The Ability to Fix Minor Issues Early


Dentists aren’t going to put braces or other serious dental solutions into your child’s mouth at an early age. The goal is to only use those things when they’ll have a lasting impact on your child’s quality of life. Unless the specific situation deems it necessary. 


However, there are plenty of minor fixes that can and should, be done even if your child still has their baby teeth. 


Caps, fillings, and similar things can be used to prevent the teeth from decaying if a cavity or other problems do appear. Remember, damage can pass down to permanent teeth if left unchecked. So, this is crucial. 


Your child’s dentist can recognize these issues, and the need for a solution, much earlier if you’re going to your child’s early dentist appointments.


6: Learning How to Properly Care for Your Child’s Teeth


This isn’t an insult. If you’re a new parent, everything is new to you. Dental standards also change, new technologies make new things possible, and the dental hygiene world is likely different than when you were a kid. So, you can’t even rely on your personal experience. 


When you take your child to early dentist appointments, the dentist will provide effective dental care tips specifically tailored for kids’ teeth.


They can also recommend products that will be more effective, help you with unique circumstances, and generally, guide you through the process of keeping your child’s mouth healthy.


The Consequences of Not Going to Early Dental Visits


Going to all of your child’s early dental visits is important, but it’s also important to know exactly what can happen if you don’t. It’s not as simple as letting their baby teeth fall out and waiting for their adult teeth like a “re-do”.


There are serious consequences that you should know about, and they can potentially impact your child’s life well into adulthood


1: Not Forming Good Dental Habits


The first thing that we tend to notice is that children don’t tend to have the best dental habits when they don’t go to these early dental visits. They’ll come in at 15 with cavities and broken teeth, and we’ll find out they’ve only been to a dentist once or twice.

Alt Tag: Dentist teaching a child about the importance of early dental visits.

That’s not true for everyone, but it is common. 


As a parent, we know you try your best, but there’s just something about having a professional who is officially trained and qualified specifically in the treatment of teeth that helps children build the habits they need. 


This is a lifelong benefit, and without it, it can be a lifelong curse. They are far more likely to deal with painful, costly, and even life-threatening, dental problems in the future when they don’t go to a dentist when they’re young.


2: Growth Issues with Permanent Teeth


If your child’s teeth are crooked or simply didn’t come in properly when they had baby teeth, they will almost certainly have alignment problems with their adult teeth.


However, if that problem can be resolved with the baby teeth, there’s a far greater chance that their adult teeth will come in just fine. As we said, baby teeth create the foundation for permanent teeth


That doesn’t just mean your child’s smile won’t be perfect. It’s not just a superficial thing. There are real consequences to improperly aligned teeth. 


Improperly aligned teeth can push teeth together and hold in germs and food until cavities form that your child can’t even avoid via proper brushing. 


Improperly aligned teeth can also create issues with eating, talking, and other things depending on how bad the misalignment is. 


In general, your child’s teeth become more susceptible to damage and they have a widespread impact on their ability to function. It’s best to take their early childhood dental treatment seriously to avoid all that.


3: Late Oral Cancer Diagnosis


This isn’t too common. It’s not something the vast majority of kids have to deal with, either. So, don’t panic.


However, oral cancer is something that is looked for during regular checkups. At least, dentists look for all sorts of things that can be signs of oral cancer, and if they’re concerned, they’ll dig deeper to find out. 


Mostly, this just comes down to the dentist looking for persistent sores, obvious tumors, or troublesome spots that won’t go away in a short period as normal mouth issues do. 


In any case, this is something that is always best to stay on top of.


4: Painful Tooth Decay with Age


As an adult, you have likely had a bad toothache. We all have at some point. Even if we take great care of our teeth.


Now, imagine your child, who doesn’t have a pain tolerance, having to deal with that. Also, a lot of the OTC medications used to treat toothaches effectively aren’t suitable for children at younger ages. So, they don’t have many options for relief. 


That’s not just a painful issue during childhood, either. Because early forms of decay tend to continue into adulthood, your child can have a lifetime of similar issues. Eventually, they can end up with dentures or no smile at all, because the damage continues to develop undeterred. 


Yes, there are extensive treatment options that can fix all of this, but those are typically very expensive, and painful in their own right, and not everyone gets access to them. They’ll also never replace a natural smile. 


So, it’s a lot better to prevent this issue starting in your child’s earliest years to give them the best chance possible of enjoying a healthy smile well into adulthood.


5: Braces During Their Pre-Teens


Braces are probably the most common consequence of poorly maintained baby teeth. This is due to the alignment issues we mentioned earlier. Braces are used to correct that. 


Braces aren’t horrible, and many children have them between the ages of 10 and 14, but they’re also not pleasant.

Early dental visits - a child wearing braces.

Beyond being slightly different than the other kids who don’t have them, and all the unnecessary problems that unfortunately cause, they also cause quite a bit of pain, discomfort, and general annoyance


If you don’t take care of your child’s teeth, you’ll likely notice them growing awkwardly later, and they’ll end up getting braces. 


Not to mention, the twice-a-year visit the average child gets suddenly turns into a dentist visit every few weeks. So, you’ll be driving to the dentist’s office a lot more often.


Early Dental Visits are Essential


Early dental visits only occur twice a year for most children, set your child up for a life of high-quality oral health, and help your child avoid a lifetime of painful oral health conditions. Committing to dental care early can help your child.


Of course, you also need a great dentist to provide that care. In that case, Dino Kids Dental is here to help with the highest quality pediatric dentists and a child-friendly environment your kid will love to come to.


Book an appointment with Dino Kids Dental today!