When to take your child to the children's dentist

Children have different dental needs to adults, but it is just as important that they receive regular dental check-ups and that they learn the importance of regularly going to the dentist. Here are some of the reasons why you may need to take a child to the dental surgery.

1. They get their first milk teeth

A child's first tooth is likely to emerge at about twelve months. This is a good time for their first dental appointment. As there are unlikely to be any problems the visit should be a positive one and the child with have a good experience of seeing the dentist. They will become familiar with the environment and will get used to unusual things such as having to open their mouth for the dentist's inspection. It is also never too early for advice from the dentist on how you and your child can look after their teeth and prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

2. Regular check-ups

After the first visit, get into the habit of taking your child for a regular check-up every six to twelve months (your dentist will tell you how often you should go). This will ensure that any problems are detected early and should not become too serious. Try to be positive about the visit and make it a fun event, so that your child does not pick up any worries or fears about the dentist.

3. They need corrective treatment

Once you are going regularly, keep an eye on your child's teeth to check that they are growing straight and that they are not misaligned in any way. It is easy for such problems to be corrected, but the sooner they are addressed the better.

4. Injuries and disease

Finally, children seem prone to hurting their teeth during sport or other rough play. Encourage them to wear a mouthguard for sport, and take them as an emergency if they crack, chip or knock out a tooth. You should also take them if their gums start bleeding or leaking pus, or if their teeth become loose. These could point to gum disease or an abscess, which will need to be treated as soon as possible.

Regular dental check-ups are a vital part of your child's health care and are an opportunity to teach them good habits that will protect their teeth for the rest of their lives. Just talk to your children's dentist if you have any further questions.