Parents all struggle with the question, “When is it time for my baby to visit the dentist?” Although the answer depends on you, there are some medical professionals who put time frames on when a baby’s first dentist appointment should be scheduled. The American Academy for Pediatrics states that all children should have their first dental visit no later than their first birthday.
If you take your child to see the dentist when his first tooth appears, that is acceptable too. The decision is entirely up to you, but remember you want to prevent dental problems in the future, so the sooner the visit, the better.
Importance of Dentist Visits
In the past, it was not uncommon for children to wait until they were 3 years old to have their first dentist appointment. Times have changed, and pediatric dentist do not suggest you wait that long before brining your child in for a visit. You should generally bring your child in once he has begun to eat anything other than milk. This will increase his chances of tooth decay, and you want to prevent any cavities and abnormities from developing.
What Happens on the First Dental Visit?
When you take your child to his first dental visit you can relax. You will sit in the room with your child, and the dental staff will do its best to make the experience as comfortable and pleasant as possible for you and your child. While at the dentist visit your child will be familiarized with the dentist’s chair and other surroundings.
Parents are taught how to properly care for their children’s teeth on the first dental visit. Your children’s teeth help them speak clearly, and chew in a natural manner. Your children’s baby teeth will give way to their permanent teeth later down the road, which is why you want to care from them and prevent dental issues that will have lasting affects.
Some Tips Given on First Dental Visit
You will learn in detail how to properly care for your child’s teeth. Do not worry; you will continue to learn helpful tips and steps to take from your child’s pediatric dentist over the years. Some of the most common tips are:
• Brushing your child’s teeth with a small head, soft-bristled toothbrush.
• The importance of breaking thumb-sucking and pacifier habits.
• Using warm salt water and cold compresses to treat toothaches until a visit can be scheduled.
• How to prevent tooth decay.
Once your child has had his first dental visit, it is your responsibility to ensure he has regular check-ups thereafter. Most pediatric dentist will suggest your child schedule dentist appointments at least twice a year; but this will be based on your child’s oral health.
“When Should I Take my Child to the Dentist?” WebMD. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/when-should-i-take-my-child-to-the-dentist. Accessed on August 7, 2013.
“Frequently Asked Questions.” American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Retrieved from http://www.aapd.org/resources/frequently_asked_questions/. Accessed on August 7, 2013.