At What Age Should You Schedule Your Child’s First Dental Visit?

This is a question that many parents have, and the answer will vary from child-to-child. Some parents take their children on the first dental visit the moment a tooth appears; this is perfectly normal. However, it is not a requirement. If you do not take your child to the dentist when his or her teeth begin to come in, you will need to make sure she visits the dentist on or before her first birthday. When you take your child to the dentist at a young age, you can learn how to care for her teeth properly, and your child could avoid various dental problems, including tooth decay.

Baby Teeth

Your child’s primary teeth – also known as baby teeth – are just as important as permanent teeth. The primary teeth begin coming in when a child is six months old. It is important that those teeth remain healthy and strong in order for your child to chew and speak. The primary teeth also hold space in the jaws where the permanent teeth are growing under your child’s gums. Tooth decay can begin as soon as the first tooth erupts, which makes going to the dentist extremely important. You should not wait to take your child to the dentist when she has oral issues; instead, stay ahead of the issues by taking him to the dentist as soon as his teeth come in.

What to Expect at the First Dental Appointment

Many parents are shocked to learn that their children need to visit the dentist within six months of the first tooth eruption. However, this is necessary to prevent cavities, which could affect children as early as age two. In order to prevent early childhood cavities, you must learn your child’s risk of developing cavities, which is something a dentist can determine. On the first dental visit, you could learn how to manage your child’s diet, fluoride intake, and oral hygiene. However, dental visits at age one cover more than cavity prevention; you will also discuss:

  • Teething milestones and developments
  • How to prevent bad oral habits, such as thumb-sucking
  • Methods that could prevent accidents that cause damage to the face and mouth of a child

After the first visit, you should schedule your child’s dental visits once every six months, depending on his needs and oral health risks.

Choosing a Dentist for your Child

Although many dental schools have prepared graduates to provide oral care for young children, some dentist are not as familiar or comfortable with infants and toddlers. The best way to determine if the dentist is the right choice is to call and ask what age your child should come in for her first dental appointment. The best choice is the office that suggests your child come in when her first tooth appears. Another factor to consider when choosing a dentist is the type of care that he provides. It is best to search dentists that provide, or specialize, in pediatric care.

Your child should have his first dental visit after his first tooth erupts, and no later than his first birthday. Every child will have different oral care needs; however, preventative care has the potential to save time, money, and teeth.