When Should My Child Go to the Dentist?

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that parents take their child to the dentist no later than the day they turn 1. Parents who follow this advice can ensure proper oral health and reduce the risk of their child developing a variety of dental issues down the road.

Dentist Visits Prevent Cavities

Cavities are one of the dental issues that can be prevented by taking a child to the dentist at an early age. Due to the fact that baby teeth are far softer than adult teeth, bacteria can easily invade them and cause cavities. When a baby tooth has a cavity, it’s easier for surrounding teeth to get them as well. Therefore, it’s essential for a child to start visiting the dentist when their first tooth appears.

Dentist Visits Promote Healthy Teeth and Gums

Although baby teeth eventually fall out, keeping them healthy is crucial. They are designed to provide a path for adult teeth to grow in correctly. Additionally, they encourage healthy chewing and make it possible for children to develop proper speech.

A dentist can inform parents on how to clean their infant’s teeth and gums. He or she can also educate toddlers and older children on how to properly brush and floss their teeth so that they develop healthy oral hygiene that lasts for years.

Preparing for Dental Visits

If possible, it’s a good idea to schedule a child’s dentist appointment earlier in the day since that is when children are typically fresh and alert. Parents with a child who is under 36 months may be required to sit in the dental chair and hold them during a dental exam. In some cases, parents may sit out in the waiting area so that the dentist can develop a relationship with the child. This is important before the discussion of wisdom teeth removal or tooth extractions could come up a little bit later in life.

Prior to taking children to the dentist, parents should get their children excited about the dentist and inform them of what they can expect if they are old enough. They should also come up with a plan of action for if their children get fussy and are not able to cooperate.

Fortunately, pediatric dentists have the training and skills necessary to help infants, toddlers, and older children cooperate during a teeth cleaning, examination, and dental procedure and can make the entire experience easier for both parents and children.