Common questions that parents ask are when should a child first visit a dentist and what will happen during that initial appointment? Here is a quick guide to help educate you and prepare your child.
When is the First Visit?
We recommend that you take your youngster to a child-friendly dentist, called a pediatric dentist, by age one at the latest. You can do so earlier than that if you wish. Ideally, it is within six months of when their first tooth appears.
As for how often to go to the dentist, the oral professional will let you know the frequency based on their examination of your child’s teeth. Typically, for toddlers who have no tooth issues, the visits are spaced six months apart from each other.
What is the First Dental Visit Like?
When you choose a pediatric dentist, the office will be kid-friendly, and the dentist will speak to your child in age-appropriate ways about topics such as why fluoride is important for oral health. The professional will do a complete dental exam, which includes checking the teeth, gums, oral tissues, and jaws for any developmental issues.
The dentist will also decide whether to do a first cleaning, gently. If so, the process involves polishing the teeth, removing any tartar or plaque, and showing your youngster how to floss properly. As well, your child’s bite will be examined to make sure their jaw and teeth correctly align.
Altogether, a first visit takes about 30-45 minutes. As each child’s mouth is different, the process is tailored to the individual patient.
The Parent’s Role
You have made the best first step by booking the initial visit. During the appointment, the pediatric dentist will tell you about any issues they see in your child’s mouth. A concern could be a jammed baby tooth that potentially affects the growth of an adult tooth or baby bottle tooth decay. Feel free to ask any questions of the professional that come to mind.
The pediatric dentist will also provide you with details about how to create a good oral hygiene routine for your child’s teeth and gums. You will also get details about teething, nutritional practices, finger-sucking behaviors, and fluoride essentials.
By taking your child regularly to the pediatric dentist, they will become familiar with what a visit entails and develop positive habits for maintaining a healthy smile. We look forward to seeing you and your little one soon!