Preparing for Your Child’s First Dental Visit

Take Care of Your Child’s Mouth During Sports
March 4, 2016
What You Should Know About the Different Types of Floss
May 4, 2016
Show all

Preparing for Your Child’s First Dental Visit

As a parent you know when your children start getting their first teeth—they are probably a little more cranky than usual, drooling, and chewing on things. You do what you can to help ease the pain of teething, but did you also know that you should be calling to schedule a dental appointment? If you’re not sure when to go or what to expect for your child’s first dental visit, here are some tips to prepare and understand the importance of this visit.

First Visit Timing

Most dentists recommend that babies should see a dental professional by the time they have their first tooth, or by the time they turn one year old, whichever comes first. Many parents wait much longer, though, which can cause problems if your child’s teeth start to show signs of decay at an early age. Preschool-age kids today have a 1 in 4 chance of having cavities, and many kids start getting those cavities as early as 2 years old. The only time that your child’s teeth are completely decay-free is right when they come in, so that’s the best time to visit the dentist and learn how to keep a child’s teeth healthy throughout their lives.

Other Benefits of a First Dental Visit

In addition to helping parents identify potential risks for decay or cavities, the first dental visit is beneficial because it will help you:

  • Learn how to properly care for an infant or toddler’s mouth—since it can be different from caring for an adult’s mouth
  • Ask questions and get recommendations on fluoride supplements if they are not in your water
  • Identify habits than can impact oral health, such as thumb or finger sucking
  • Learn about proper teething milestones to watch for
  • Get some tips for a healthy diet that can keep teeth from decay

What Will Happen at the Visit

If you take your child in before or around his or her first birthday, as pediatric dentists recommend, the first visit is pretty simple. Since your child won’t have many teeth, it won’t be like your regular cleanings and checkups. Instead the dentist will have you hold your infant or toddler on your lap and they will quickly check the gums and teeth to make sure they look good. Then they can give you some recommendations to ensure that you keep your child’s teeth healthy.

Parents should take the time to find a dentist who has experience working with young children, toddlers, and infants. While most dentists will have some training in pediatric dental care, a specialized pediatric dentist in Utah is often a better choice than just any dentist because they will understand proper tooth development, have experience working with children, and likely have an environment that is more conducive to helping kids feel happy and avoid stress at the dentist’s office.

Even though they will lose their baby teeth, it’s important to help children keep those teeth healthy until they are ready to fall out. Preventing decay and cavities at an early age starts with proper dental care.