What age should children have their first dental visit?
Your child should start seeing a dentist earlier than you might think. I know this is going to sound real crazy, but we would like to see your child as early as 12 months old. The first dentist visit is a great opportunity to learn how best to care for your child’s teeth. In this blog I will explain why a young age is important, why baby teeth (which are also call primary teeth) are important, and help you prepare your child for a great first visit. This is not the information your grandma used!
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the child’s first visit be when the first tooth erupts and no later than 12 months of age. I know that sounds young to sit your child in the dental chair. Rest assured, we are not going to sit your child in the dental chair and quiz them about flossing (like we do you, lol). Your child can sit on your lap while we take a peek inside their mouth (comprehensive exam), apply fluoride if necessary, and determine future appointment needs. This first visit allows us to talk with you about tooth development, discuss how to care for their new teeth, assess dietary habits that contribute to decay, and discuss what to do if trauma should occur. The first dental visit should be a calm and informative experience so you can establish a comfortable and happy dental home for your child.
Baby teeth don’t matter because they eventually fall out -NO WAY! The truth is they do matter. Did you know that most children do not loose their last baby tooth until age 12, 13, or 14? That’s a long time to keep baby teeth healthy and cavity free. At all ages teeth need to be cavity free for proper chewing to maintain good nutrition. To assist in speech development. Baby teeth are guide markers to tell adult teeth where to come in. Decay of a baby tooth can cause pain and infection and even damage the underling adult tooth. As a parent, I am positive that you want to promote a healthy smile so your child feels good about the way they feel and look.
The best thing you can do for your child is to prepare them for a great first visit. There are lots of books and online resources geared toward dental health you can read together. Examine your child’s teeth by counting them with your fingers. Plan plenty of time so the visit is not rushed and make sure your child is well-rested before the visit so he or she feels relaxed and comfortable.
Sandy Queen of Dental Hygiene