When Should my Child Go to the Dentist?

Taking your child to the dentist for the first time can be a stressful experience for both parent and child, especially because both parents and children may be unsure about what is going to happen. Understanding what will take place during your child’s first visit to the dentist can help clear up any fear or confusion both of you may have about the visit.

The Visit

A child should be seen by a dentist for the first time by the age of one, or about six months after their first tooth comes in. The first dental exam will probably involve very little actual treatment for the child. Its goal is simply to ensure that the teeth, gums and jaws are all developing well. It also has the benefit of helping build a relationship between the dentist and the child so that subsequent visits will not be as frightening. The dentist may allow you to sit with the child on your lap in the dental chair, making it easier to examine a squirming child. During the exam, the dentist will check all of the child’s existing teeth for decay and will look for any issues with the gum, jaw and other oral tissue. The child will then receive a quick cleaning of their teeth by the dentist or hygienist.

Other Considerations
Finally, the dentist will discuss any additional issues with you and answer any questions you may have. The most important issue is proper brushing and hygiene practices to ensure that the child and parent prevent cavities and promote healthy gums. The dentist may or may not recommend additional fluoride use. Proper nutrition for your child is another factor the dentist may discuss with you, since it can go a long way toward preventing tooth decay and gum issues. The dentist may ask about habits like thumb sucking since they can sometimes cause oral health issues later in life. The last thing the dentist will most likely discuss is the need for regular dental checkups. Most dentists recommend seeing children every six months in order to monitor their developing teeth and to treat any problems that may arise.

Scheduling and Follow-Up

After scheduling your child’s follow-up appointment, your time at the dentist is over for at least six months. Now you can take a nice deep breath and realize that the appointment was not so hard after all. If the appointment was difficult for the child, you should keep in mind that by regularly scheduling dental appointments, you will help your child’s confidence grow; these dental visits will become easy in no time at all. So go make your child’s first dental appointment and begin their journey to healthy teeth and gums!

Victoria a freelance writer dealing with dental health issues. She enjoys helping companies like The Invisible Orthodontist reach new online audiences.