Believe it or not, the best time to schedule your child’s first dental appointment is when they reach one year of age or when that first tiny tooth erupts, whichever comes first. If these milestones have passed without a dentist visit, consider it your sign that it’s time for one!
We do recommend a checkup every six months after the initial visit to keep those teeth clean and detect early signs of dental problems. However, you may encounter other signs that it’s time to come in.
So, what should parents stay on the lookout for when it comes to their child’s dental health? How do you know that it’s time to schedule an impromptu visit?
Read on for seven signs that your child should come and see us at Capitol Kids Dentistry.
1. Mouth and Jaw Pain
Mouth and jaw pain can be very unsettling and disruptive no matter how old you are. If your child is showing or expressing signs of mouth and jaw pain, it could mean that they have a dental problem like a cavity, tooth decay, or a propensity to grind their little teeth.
Tooth pain can also result from accidents that caused a tooth to crack or chip. If your child is expressing mouth pain after sustaining a mouth injury, call your pediatric dentist. A quick checkup will help to determine if more steps need to be taken to address the problem.
2. Tooth Sensitivity
Has your child expressed a strange and unpleasant sensation when they eat or drink? Do they suddenly seem disinterested in hot or cold foods and drinks? If so, they may be experiencing tooth sensitivity.
Like adults, children can develop tooth sensitivity in reaction to a variety of tooth issues, from cavities to enamel erosion. Visit your pediatric dentist to determine the source of the sensitivity. Oftentimes, switching to a better toothpaste can help to fight and prevent sensitivity.
3. Excessive Gum Bleeding
When your kiddo is brushing in the morning or before bed, take note if they’re spitting out pink in the sink. A small and irregular presence of blood after brushing could indicate that they’re applying too much pressure to their gums. However, if you notice a lot of blood or they’re spitting out pink every time they brush, it’s time to get your dentist involved.
Excessive gum bleeding usually indicates an infection, which could be temporary or a sign of gingivitis. Other notable signs include gums that are swollen or bright red. Whether temporary or not, it’s always useful to have a dentist investigate signs of gum infection.
4. Tooth Staining or Discoloration
If your kiddo still has their baby teeth, you may think it’s no big deal if one or several of those teeth start to become stained or discolored. After all, they’ll fall out eventually, right?
While they will fall out, you still want to tackle staining or discoloration head-on, as it can be a sign of poor oral care or decay. Staining and discoloration can take many forms, so take note of any off-color or white spots or teeth that turn grey, brown, or black. Baby teeth should remain white until they fall out and these changes in color are, in fact, abnormal.
5. Wiggly Permanent Teeth
We all expect those baby teeth to start wiggling at some point, often starting somewhere around age six. Baby teeth start to wiggle, loosen, and come out when the permanent teeth are ready to erupt, and this process can take between five and seven years from start to finish (with the exception of wisdom teeth, which tend to come in during the late teen or early adult years, if at all).
What happens if one of those permanent teeth is starting to wiggle? If that’s the case, it’s time to schedule a dentist visit sooner rather than later. Loose adult teeth can indicate a number of issues ranging from gum disease to severe misalignment, all of which your dentist can help to address the right way.
6. Stinky Breath
Your child leans in close to tell you something and all you can think is, “P-U!” If your child doesn’t have bad breath often, they may have missed a brushing session and can remedy the situation with some quick oral care. If you’re noticing halitosis on a regular basis, it’s time to ask your dentist what the culprit is.
Bad breath is most often the result of bacteria on the teeth and tongue. Your dentist may discover that your child needs a more vigorous at-home oral care routine and suggest a new toothbrush or toothpaste, or they may discover that your child has gingivitis or another treatable infection. Either way, tackling stinky breath is the way to go.
7. Tooth Crowding or Misalignment
Some children may require orthodontic intervention as soon as the first few adult teeth grow in. This is the case when crowding or misalignment is causing jaw pain and other issues or is preventing other adult teeth from growing in.
Most of the time, your pediatric dentist will take note of crowding and misalignment at one of your child’s regular checkups. However, if the issue is bad enough that you’re starting to notice secondary problems, it doesn’t hurt to ask your dentist to take a look.
Schedule Your Kiddo’s Next Dentist Visit Today
It’s important to schedule a dentist visit every six months. However, some issues can’t wait that long, and you may need to schedule a visit in between your child’s last checkup and the next one. If any of these signs sound familiar, you may want to give your children’s dentist a call.
At Capitol Hill Dentistry, we’re proud to serve the families of Frankfort, KY. To schedule an appointment or find out more about any of these signs, contact us today!