One of the most common questions we get from parents, or parents-to-be, is, “What age does my child need to be to see the dentist for the first time?”
The simple answer: Before your baby turns a year old, or within 6 months after they’ve cut their first tooth – whichever comes first. Having proper dental care right from the get-go is extremely important, because by about 36 months, most children have cut all of their baby teeth, all of which are basically holding space for permanent teeth. In addition, proper dental care of baby teeth will help prevent decay, which can increase the risk of decay of permanent teeth.
What can you expect for your baby’s first visit?
Dr. Aaron Huslig says your baby’s first visit is just as exciting for us as it is for you! “We love children! While each appointment is unique we have goals in mind for your baby and you. Answering any questions you have is the most important service we provide. We will examine your baby’s teeth, gums, and tongue. Then we review what we see with you. Finally, we give advice on how to care for you baby’s teeth, good nutritional habits, and how often they should visit our office.”
How to prepare for baby’s first trip
There are a few things you can do to prepare for the first visit. “Make a point to be excited about their first visit and they will be exited as well. Have them practice leaning back in a chair (if possible)” says Dr. Huslig, “Talk about the importance of brushing and flossing, how clean their teeth will feel after they have been polished, and that they will be given a new toothbrush.”
Thumbs and Pacifiers
Be sure to let your dentist know if your child sucks their thumb, or uses a pacifier as it could affect your baby’s teeth and jaw.
Although you may not need to worry about that first visit to the dentist before your baby is a year old, or has cut teeth, parents certainly need to keep a close eye on the inside of the baby’s mouth. Healthy gums are “coral pink” in appearance if your child is Caucasian but may be brown if of African or Asian descent. If your child’s gums appear to have a purplish-blue spot it most likely is an Eruption Cyst. You can click on the link to read more!
Just as everything to do with having a baby, your child depends on you to ensure they are properly taking care of their teeth! Practice good oral hygiene with your child early. Be sure to use a kid-size toothbrush suitable for your child. Also, you want to avoid sugary snacks. Try and get them in the habit of brushing after they’ve had breakfast and before they go to bed. You will need to floss for them (daily) until they develop the motor skills necessary to take over this task. Finally, it’s always a good idea talk about your community’s water. Our dentists can ensure your child has a fluoride treatment right for them.