When Should a Child Start Going to the Dentist?
Many parents don’t consider taking their children to the dentist until they at least have one tooth - or often more. After all, what good is going to the dentist if you don’t have any teeth, right?
Well, believe it or not, according to the American Dental Association, your child should have their first visit with the dentist within 6 months of getting their first tooth - or by their first birthday. Babies develop at different rates so even if your child doesn’t have any teeth by 12 months, it is time to see the dentist.
Your Child’s First Dental Appointment
If you are wondering why your child should visit the dentist at such an early age, know that there is a good reason. A few of them, actually. During this visit, you may either hold your baby. Or, if they are able to sit in the dental chair, they may do so.
Assessing Growth and Development. A dentist may treat teeth, but they also address oral health in its entirety - including development. So this first appointment is a good chance for your child’s new dentist to examine the teeth (if there are any) and gums. Dentists will assess the jaw, too, looking for any potential areas of concern.
The dentist will visibly look to see if any teeth are getting ready to erupt. But, don’t worry - unless there are high-risk concerns, no x-rays will be used until they are about 5 or 6 years of age as adult teeth are getting ready to come in.
Easing Into a Positive Environment. This time also gives your little one the opportunity to find comfort in a non-threatening environment. Many adults have anxiety and fear when it comes to the dentist due to not having a positive experience when they were younger. As a result, they end up with dental health concerns that could have been avoided had their experience been different.
Easing your child into dental visits when there is no dental work to be done can teach them that it is a safe place. And this alone can set the tone for the future of their oral health. You will find that most dentists will wait until the child is comfortable before using any major dental equipment.
Ask Questions. Finally, this first appointment is a great time to ask questions, bring up any concerns that you may have, and seek advice on how to care for your child’s oral health at different stages.
Advantages of Starting Dental Visits Early
It is not uncommon for kids to never see the dentist until they have a toothache or experience dental trauma, such as due to trauma. Yet, there are many advantages to starting your child’s dental visits early.
- Addressing any oral health issues before they get out of hand
- Ease them into dental visits before using dental tools or having to undergo any procedures
- Learn how to properly care for your child’s oral health - and have someone to discuss any concerns with
Dunedin Dental Associates
Getting your child comfortable with the dentist at an early age can help to set a strong foundation for a lifetime of good oral health. And at Dunedin Dental Associates, we want to make sure that it is a positive, comfortable experience.
To learn more about your child visiting the dentist and whether or not the time is right, contact us today at 727-734-3321.