When to Take Children to Visit the Dentist for the First Time

Oral health

Although children lose their baby teeth, it is still crucial that they attend regular dental appointments. Visiting the dentist approximately every six months allows any issues to be identified early on, which will positively affect their dental health into adulthood.

Getting accustomed to going to the dentist from a young age can also make your child less likely to suffer from dental anxiety in the future, but when should you take them for their very first appointment?

When to Take Children for Their First Dental Appointment

In the first few years of a child’s life, they pass so many milestones that it can be difficult for parents to keep track of their developments. The widely recommended advice is to make your baby’s first appointment when they are a year old.

However, many infants grow teeth before their first birthday and, if this is your child’s case, there’s no harm in visiting the dentist earlier. Keep a close eye on your baby’s mouth, and if you spot any irregularities, such as lesions, white spots, or bleeding, contact your dentist immediately.

Why Should You Take Your Baby to the Dentist So Early?

Parents are sometimes surprised when they find out how early they should take their baby to the dentist, but there are several reasons why visiting the dentist from a young age is essential. According to the American Association of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD), almost one in five children under five experience tooth decay.

If your dentist can catch issues in your child’s dental health early on, the chance of more serious problems developing is considerably reduced. Additionally, if your child gets used to going to the dentist from a young age, they will feel less afraid of going in the future.

Tips for Taking Your Child to the Dentist

Taking a child to the dentist is a much different experience than going yourself, so it’s crucial to take the time to prepare. Following these useful dental tips ensures the experience is as pleasant as possible for all involved:

  • Take your child to a pediatric dentist. These professionals are experienced in treating children, meaning you will get the best possible treatment, and your child will be made to feel extremely comfortable.
  • Introduce your child to the idea of the dentist early on and continue to refer to it as they get older; this will normalize the experience. Read books and watch children’s TV shows that include positive experiences of the dentist.
  • Tell your child what to expect from the experience, so they aren’t surprised.
  • Make the experience fun: talk about it as though it’s an exciting adventure and create positive associations with the experience.
  • Be careful not to let your own fears affect how your child sees the dentist.
  • Schedule your appointments for a time when your child will be alert and fresh: going when they’re grumpy right before or after nap time can create a negative association.
  • Ask your dentist if you can fill out any paperwork ahead of time so that you don’t have to hang about in the waiting room for longer than necessary.
  • Get all the advice you can from your dentist so you can ensure the best practices at home. Prepare some questions ahead of time.
  • Let your dentist know if there is anything your child is afraid of or doesn’t like.

Early Dentist Appointments Have Numerous Benefits

Staying on top of your child’s oral health from a young age sets them up for the future. By seeing them regularly, your dentist can spot any issues your child has early on.

Creating positive associations with the dentist and normalizing the experience will make your children much less anxious about going for their appointments, making them more likely to have good dental hygiene practices as an adult.

Pediatric dentistry is an integral part of Hinsdale Dental’s work. Our pediatric dentists are highly trained and experienced in treating children of all ages. Schedule your child’s first dental appointment with us today.

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