As a loving parent to your little one, you get to experience countless “firsts” right by their side — including their first dental appointment. We want to ensure your child’s first trip to the dentist is fun and memorable for all the right reasons, setting the tone of healthy habits your child will retain for the rest of their lives. Here, we’ll dive into when you should schedule your child’s first dentist appointment, what you should expect, and what you can do to ensure the experience — and your child’s ongoing dental health — is as positive as possible!
How Old Should My Child Be When They First Visit the Dentist?
The Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that kids go to their first oral health checkup when their baby teeth begin to emerge or by the time they turn one. Though it may seem a bit early, this visit is crucial to making sure your child does not have any signs of gum or tooth decay and that their teeth are developing properly. Baby teeth can emerge as early as six months; make sure their first dental appointment is not far behind!
Believe it or not, tooth decay is the most common childhood disease. Yet, almost always, it’s preventable. Kids may come in to their first dentist appointment at age three or four with cavities and tooth decay that should have been prevented with a routine checkup. Don’t underestimate the importance of starting them young!
Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist: What You Should Expect
Our staff takes great care to make sure your child has fun at their dental visits, and they’re as comfortable as possible. If your child is apprehensive about their first dental appointment, we welcome parents to bring them to our office to take a look around, meet the staff, and get familiar with our clinic before they come in for their first appointment.
When appointment day comes, a hygienist will:
- Examine and clean your baby’s teeth
- Let you know how to properly clean your baby’s teeth and promote oral hygiene
- Review diet and fluoride needs
- Recommend oral care products.
Your dentist will join you and your baby, and will:
- Examine your child’s mouth to check for tooth decay
- Discuss any concerns they may have pertaining to your baby’s oral development
- Answer any questions regarding your child’s teeth and oral development.
How Do I Prepare My Child for Their First Dental Visit?
Your baby hits a new milestone every day — and their first dental is another momentous occasion that belongs in the baby book! Here’s what you can do to prepare:
- Play dentist: Dentist games for kids can be effective in demystifying the entire experience — get started by playing dentist! Break out your child’s toothbrush and have them sit in a chair. Then, pretend you’re the dentist, counting and brushing their teeth. Then, swap roles!
- Don’t schedule a dental appointment during naptime: Pick a time your child is well-rested and cooperative.
- Don’t bring them hungry: Ensure your child has had a light meal and brushes their teeth before the appointment. Also, save snacks for after the visit!
Ready to Schedule Your Child’s First Dental Appointment?
You care about your child’s dental needs, which is why it pays to partner with experienced dentists that can work with you to ensure your child’s oral health — and positive attitude about it — is maintained. When you’re looking to schedule your child’s first dental appointment, trust our kid-friendly team of pediatric dentists today! For more information about our general dentistry services or the earliest age for wisdom teeth, contact us today.