Are you trying to decide if it’s time for your little one to have their first dentist visit?
Pediatric dentistry is a specific kind of dentistry that’s focused on children. Any good pediatric dentist will tell you that the sooner your child gets a dental checkup, the better.
But when is the appropriate time to start bringing your child in? We’re here to talk about it. Keep reading to learn all about when you should introduce your child to the dentist, and why going early will set them up for great dental health in the future.
Dentistry for Kids: How Young Is Too Young?
If this is your first child, you might be shocked at how young they should be when they first visit the dentist.
Believe it or not, your child should see a dentist by their first birthday, if not sooner. Many dentists recommend that you visit as soon as baby teeth start erupting!
Most babies start growing teeth at around six months of age. While these teeth are tiny and they’ll fall out in a few years, they’re still important enough to warrant a visit with the best pediatric dentist near you.
Many people have dental anxiety that extends down to their children. While this is normal, you need to overcome it and bring your child in if you want them to have and maintain good oral health for as long as possible.
What Can I Expect from the First Visit?
Your child’s first dental visit won’t be very intense. This is where you can start getting your child familiar with the dentist. This will hopefully prevent dental anxiety in the future.
The dentist will perform a dental exam for your child. Much like an adult dental exam, they’ll sit your child down and encourage them to open their mouth. You’ll be there with them to provide comfort.
The dentist will look for cavities or potential problems. Most children don’t have cavities at this age, so you shouldn’t have anything to worry about.
The dentist will talk to you about your role in your child’s oral health. They may talk to you about how you’re supposed to brush your child’s gums and teeth, the best toothpaste to use, and what to avoid.
If your child sucks their thumb, the dentist may talk to you about the potential dental health outcomes that could result from that.
This is, for the most part, a “get to know you” visit. You’re establishing your child as a patient.
Why Should The First Dentist Visit be So Early?
So if your child has tiny teeth that they’re going to lose anyway, and they’re not even eating hard foods yet, why bother going to the dentist? Does the child really need someone examining their teeth that early?
Here are a few reasons why your child needs to have their first visit as early as possible.
Catch Problems Early
When it comes to oral health, you want to catch dental problems as soon as they happen. If not, you risk serious decay, breakage, or even tooth loss.
Many people think that baby teeth don’t matter. While it’s true that these teeth will fall out and get replaced with permanent teeth by the time your child is a teen, bad oral health can impact your child for the rest of their life.
Children are not immune to gum disease, and that can start with early tooth decay. They can also experience significant pain or jaw problems that a dentist can identify while they’re still easy to fix.
Establish Good Dental Habits
When you start your child’s dental journey while they’re a baby, you’re establishing a routine. As they get older, they’ll recognize dentist visits as a part of everyday life, rather than an anxiety-inducing event.
Roughly 19% of adults have some form of dental anxiety. You can help your child avoid this by getting them comfortable with dental visits before they’re aware of them.
Seeing a dentist should be no different from seeing a primary care physician or pediatrician. Routine visits will keep your child’s mouth clean and healthy, even when nothing is wrong.
You want to get children comfortable with the dentist, so they can maintain this habit for a lifetime. Many adults struggle with going to the dentist due to a lack of experience, dental anxiety, or because it’s not a priority.
When you show your child that the dentist is a priority, that will follow them for life.
Inform Parents and Caregivers
The dentist also helps you and the child’s other caregivers!
As the adult in the house, you’re responsible for keeping your child’s teeth healthy and clean until they’re able to do it on their own. Then, you’re responsible for teaching them and monitoring them.
Not everyone knows how to brush teeth correctly, even if they’ve been doing it for decades. A dentist will tell you how to brush your child’s teeth and gums, and the best ways to help your child do it on their own.
Is It Time for Your Child’s First Dentist Visit?
Set your child up for success. Schedule their first dentist visit when you start to see baby teeth coming in, so you know that they’re going to have happy and healthy smiles in the future.
If your child is already past their first birthday, that’s okay! The best time to take them was during their first year, but the second-best time is right now.
Are you looking for a wonderful pediatric dentist? At KY Toothfairy, Dr. Wheeler is an experienced children’s dentist who’s ready to help. Between standard preventative checkups, sedation dentistry for children, and restorative dentistry, she can do it all.
Contact us to set up your child’s first appointment. We can’t wait to meet you!