AT WHAT AGE SHOULD YOUR CHILD FIRST VISIT THE DENTIST?
Many parents have asked us “When should I bring my child to see the dentist for the first time?” and we thought it was time to explain.
In this article we will review:
- The best age to bring in your child to the dentist.
- Some common misconceptions about baby teeth.
- How to prepare for your first visit.
THE BEST AGE FOR FIRST DENTAL APPOINTMENTS
Generally, all children should start seeing the dentist by the age their teeth start coming in. However, most dental and medical professionals recommend seeing the dentist well before. A visit by age 1 may seem young, but it helps set a precedent for your child’s oral health and gets them comfortable around their future dentist. These baby oral exams also give your child the opportunity to explore the surroundings of a dental office and avoids any future development of anxiety. Most children that have not been acclimated to a dental office until they are older have a higher degree of caution and nervousness at the dentist office.
Also, bringing in your child ahead of time allows dental professionals to ensure that your child’s development of baby teeth is coming along as expected. Dentists will examine their mouth, head, and neck so the sooner the child is brought in for an appointment the better.
The best course of action in oral health for your child is prevention. Many cases we see of children who present with decay are due to misconceptions about baby teeth. Did you know that baby’s teeth can decay soon after they first appear? This problem is frequently referred to as “Baby Bottle Tooth Decay” which is caused by long time exposure of a child’s teeth to liquids containing sugars and acids. These liquids, such as milk or juice, should be diluted to help with weening the child off of sugary liquids. You can also take a clean wash cloth with water and wipe the gums to prevent any sugars from remaining on the gum surface.
Dentists can also address other issues that present during the development of baby teeth and can recommend special preventative care for: teething irritations, gum disease, or even prolonged thumb-sucking.
HOW TO PREPARE FOR YOUR CHILD’S FIRST DENTAL VISIT
First, we suggest checking your child’s dental coverage with your dentist. Signing up for dental benefits at birth will ensure they are covered in time for early screenings.
The first dental visit will consist of a general overview of your child’s oral health. Be sure to bring your insurance card, photo ID, and filled-out paperwork. An examination will include: reviewing your child’s health history, an examination for normal growth and development, checking for cavities, and educating parents on good oral healthcare. This can range from brushing and flossing techniques to fluoride instructions and beyond. At Lane & Associates, we specialize in Baby Oral exams and Child’s First Dental Visits, read more about our specialized care and what our programs have to offer here.
With good oral healthcare you can be certain your child will have a beautiful and healthy smile for life!