Most parents are surprised at how early they should take their child for their first dental appointment, but more children are getting cavities than ever before. More than 1 in 4 children have had a cavity by the time they are four years old, and many have had a cavity by age two!
Proper dental care is vital to your child’s oral health, and the best person to turn to for help and advice is your family dentist.
When should I take my child for their first visit to the dentist?
In general, you should take your child for their first dentist visit either six months after their first tooth appears or by their first birthday. Bringing your child to the dentist early not only acclimates them to the dentist office and staff but also sets the stage for a lifetime of proper dental care and oral hygiene.
How do you prepare for the first visit?
Before your first visit, contact your dentist’s office to find out exactly what happens on that first visit. You want to be prepared, calm, and confident because your child will pick up on your emotions. If you are feeling anxious so will your child.
Do I need to see a pediatric dentist?
No, you do not need to bring your child to a specialized pediatric dentist. Dentists are trained to work with children of all ages. If you are unsure if your dentist is prepared to work with young children, call and ask them at what age you should bring your child in for the first visit. If they say by age one or six months after the first tooth has appeared, then you know they have experience with young children.
What happens on the first visit?
The first visit is as important for the parent as it is for the child. Your dentist will perform a gentle but thorough examination of your child’s teeth, gums, jaw, and bite and look for any potential problems. Your dentist will also explain to you how to take care of your child’s oral care at home and answer any questions you might have. They’ll also talk about teething and proper nutrition.
When do I schedule the second visit?
A typical exam schedule is every six months. This allows the dentist to keep an eye on your child’s development and catch any potential problems early. This also allows your child to become familiar and comfortable with your dentist and establish long-term rapport.
How do I take care of my child’s teeth at home?
Just as with your own teeth, proper nutrition and daily oral care are important to your child’s long-term oral health. Here are some daily habits to practice:
- If your child is an infant, wipe their gums with a clean, warm, damp cloth after each feeding.
- When their teeth come in, use a small brush with extra-soft bristles. Use water instead of toothpaste.
- Never give your child a bottle of juice or sweetened liquid as a pacifier at naptime or bedtime.
If you have any questions about your child’s first dental visit, call us or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Main Street Dental Clinics has offices in Rochester, MN; Owatonna, MN; Mankato, MN; Blooming Prairie, MN; and New Richland, MN.