When is the right time for my child’s first dentist appointment?
Every parent wants to do everything they can to ensure their children’s health and safety, and sometimes these days that feels like an uphill battle. There is endless information and countless, often countering, opinions on what to do and when.
When it comes to bringing your child to the dentist and pediatric dentists, the same thing applies — there is plenty of information (and misinformation) out there.
The generally accepted idea is about six months after the first tooth erupts or by age 1. That might seem young but there are plenty of reasons to acclimatize your child to the dentist at an early age.
Let’s be clear about one thing — when a one-year-old comes in for an appointment, they will not be undergoing any kind of dental treatment at that age. The reasons are more precautionary and to begin a record that will stay with the child as they age. The more information that is gathered about a little one while their teeth are coming in will be very helpful down the road if any problems happen to arise.
It’s also important and very beneficial for a child to build trust with their pediatric dentist from an early age, before any kind of fear sets in. When a one-year-old comes in for the first time, they are curious and it’s a great time to forge a relationship. We make it as comfortable as possible for both the parent/caregiver and the child so that the experience is relaxing and even enjoyable.
Cultivating a relationship with parents is also important to us because there may be situations down the road where parents need to make decisions that are financially taxing or stressful in other ways. When we have been documenting a child’s development and oral health for most of their lives, the lines of communication are already open and healthy, benefitting everyone.
Many people assume that since baby teeth (or milk teeth) are bound to fall out, there’s no point in visiting a pediatric dentist until their permanent teeth come in. We hope you will think twice if you have heard that advice!
A child’s first teeth are important to monitor because they are also tied to the following:
- Chewing and ingesting food properly and maintaining good nutrition
- Proper speech development
- Helping save space for permanent teeth and monitoring the development of permanent teeth
So how do you prepare to take your child to their first pediatric dentist appointment? Here are a few tips.
- Give them a sneak preview. Take them go along with a parent, sibling or other family member. The more they see the space as safe and the procedures as non-threatening, the easier it will be for them.
- Prepare them. Make sure the child is well fed and rested and has a safety toy or blanket to keep with them.
Learn more about pediatric dentists, (but not too much!). Like we said at the beginning, it’s very easy to get overwhelmed with information that’s “out there” and from a potentially non-professional source so the best way forward it to book an appointment and let us get to know you and your child one-to-one.