Knowing that some dental problems start at an early age can worry a lot of parents. Even a one-year-old child may have white/chalky spots or tooth decay, especially if you put them to sleep with a juice or milk bottle. That’s why a child should see a dentist early on.

Unfortunately, many parents don’t know when to start dental care for their kids or when to take a child to the dentist. Are you wondering when should a child see a dentist? Here are a few signs that it’s time for your little one to have a checkup.

1. White or Brown Spots on the Teeth

Chalky or white spots are some earlier signals that a child should see a dentist. This can signal tooth decay resulting from improper or delayed dental care.

White spots can also arise from poor feeding habits. You may be bottle-feeding or breastfeeding your child. Fluorosis or accumulation of calcium deposits on the enamel can also cause spots. 

Meanwhile, brown spots can be a sign of enamel hypoplasia, which occurs because of a lack of calcium, injury at birth, or maternal illness. Only a pediatric dentist can diagnose the cause of the spots and remove the discoloration.

2. Swollen Gums/ Bleeding Gums

Bleeding gums in kids can be frightening. They may be severe and are an early warning of gum disease. Your child’s gums can bleed, become sore, or become tender. 

Pay attention if you notice blood on their toothbrush. But what causes swollen or bleeding gums in toddlers? Most of the time, it’s a buildup of plaque that causes bacteria to flourish and inflame the gum tissue.

You can prevent or reduce bleeding gums by encouraging your child to brush twice a day. But if the problem persists, it’s time for your child’s first visit to the dentist.

3. Sensitivity to Cold and Hot Extremities

If you’ve experienced teeth sensitivity, you know how distressing it can be. The tingling or tormenting feeling on the teeth can keep you off hot coffee or frozen treats. For children who may not understand what’s going on, the pain can cause a lot of frustration.

Tooth sensitivity happens when the enamel or the gums recede to expose the dentine. Your kid may cry or scream when brushing or drinking acidic, sweet, hot, or cooler drinks.

It can be difficult to know when a child should go to the dentist because of sensitivity. You can mention the problem in your child’s first dental visit. However, it would be best to schedule a dental appointment right away if the sensitivity lingers on.

4. Tooth Aches

Gum disease and tooth decay are the leading causes of toothaches. Tooth decay can start during bottle feeding and breastfeeding. Sugars from formula, milk, or juices can cause plaque and boost bacteria in the mouth. 

A toothache can cause headaches, fever, or throbbing pain for your little one. This can cause your child to cry non-stop or become inactive. You can also figure out the problem if they have a swollen face or are struggling to eat.

A toothache is the quickest sign that a child should see a dentist. Don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment to avoid further issues.

5. Bad Breath

Bad breath often occurs after a serious issue such as gum disease has worsened. Chronic bad breath may also signal a severe mouth or a throat infection. Sometimes, it results from a blocked nose, sinusitis, or dental abscess in a child.

To tackle bad breath, book your child’s first dental visit. But don’t worry about the bad breath which occurs when your child wakes up. This breath clears away after brushing or having breakfast.

6. Tooth Cavities or Decay

A brownish or white spot on the tooth is often a sign of an upcoming cavity. If you don’t act or ensure proper dental hygiene for your kid, it can grow into a cavity or cause horrible decays.

Some of the causes of tooth cavities are sugary foods, starchy diets, bacteria, un-fluorinated water, or low saliva. Not brushing or flossing your child’s teeth can also cause cavities. Your dentist will be able to fill most holes in the tooth or use dental veneers, crowns or inlays to remove the decay. 

7. Misaligned Jaw or Teeth

This is one of the most visible signs that a child should see a dentist. You may notice your child’s upper teeth mismatching the lower teeth alignment. It may also be a tooth or a set missing the typical arrangement.

Severe misalignment can cause problems when eating, speaking, or breathing. It can also cause pain or discomfort to the child. Unfortunately, it may also affect your child’s self-esteem or attract teasing from other kids.

Don’t assume anything when it comes to a possible misalignment or dismiss it without a checkup. Take your child to an orthodontist who can examine whether it needs treatment.

8. Dental Abscess  

You may also notice a pocket of pus around or on your child’s tooth. This is an abscess and it occurs when the body fights bacterial infection. 

Dental abscess in a child can cause swollen gums and excruciating pain. Your child may struggle to chew and report an awful taste in their mouth. If it persists, it can swell the jaws and lead to fever.

When should a child see a dentist if they have an abscessed tooth? Take your child for treatment right off the bat. Most of the time, a tooth abscess doesn’t heal quickly and it can destroy the tooth tissues if left untreated.

A dentist will incise the infected part to drain out the abscess. They can also prescribe antibiotics to help your child fight the bacteria. 

When Should a Child See a Dentist?

So, when should a child see a dentist? Experts recommend taking your child to see a dentist when the first tooth pops up. Mostly, this is between the ages of 6 to 12 months. That way your kid can get comfortable and familiarize themselves with dental checkups. 

An early checkup allows the dentist to advise on common behaviors like teething, baby bottle tooth decay, mouth cleaning, and finger sucking. It also enables them to trace any signs of tooth problems and start remedial procedures. 

If you’re looking for a trustworthy team of dental professionals in Colleyville, feel free to contact us for an appointment today.