At What Age Should My Child Have Their First Dental Visit?
We should view our child’s first dental visit as we would any other firsts in their life. As a necessary part of our ongoing focus on health and wellness, we parents know that the sooner we start our little ones on the road developing good oral hygiene habits, the better.
Thankfully, the first dental visit is usually short and fun. It allows your child to meet their dentist and start forming a relationship of trust.
So, when should we start, and what can we expect?
What’s the Best Age to Start?
Ideally, the best age to take your child for their first dental visit is within six months of their first tooth erupting, which will usually be within their first year.
This way, not only do they get to experience a dental appointment first-hand in a non-threatening situation, but the dentist can check for any potential problems.
A fear of dentists often comes about because people associate the dentist’s chair with pain. Of course, if you’re only visiting the dentist when you have a major problem then that will be the obvious psychological result. This is why so many family dentists encourage an early visit and regular cleaning appointments to ensure that children don’t suffer from unnecessary anxiety. It simply becomes part of life’s routine.
What Happens During the First Dental Visit?
Your child’s first dental visit is as much for you as it is for them. During this time, you can discuss any concerns you may have or ask those nagging questions that require a professional opinion.
Some dentists will encourage you to sit with your child on the chair, whilst others may feel that your baby should experience their first visit in the chair on their own. Either way, a good family dentist will make sure that they are gentle, kind, and careful with your little person.
What questions should you be asking? What will the dentist be looking out for during this visit?
There is a strong link between good dental development and ongoing oral health, and your child’s nutrition. Your dentist will no doubt offer advice on healthy snack choices as your child grows, those which are high in water content and lower in sugar. They will also be able to answer questions on foods that are high in calcium and which will help to build strong teeth.
First-time parents, in particular, can get a little stressed about brushing in those delicate little mouths. During this first dental visit, your dentist can show you exactly how to do this gently and effectively.
If your child sucks their thumb or has any other common oral habits that you are concerned about, a frank conversation with your dentist can help you to deal with them before they become a problem.
For the most part, the level of fluoride present in most kinds of toothpaste is sufficient to reduce tooth decay. In some areas, there may be a need, though, for additional fluoride products in the form of drops, lozenges, or chewable tablets. This is certainly something to discuss with your dentist if you have concerns about dental cavities, and they will be able to guide you as to if or when these supplements should be introduced.
If you are a new parent, then this is the perfect time to confirm what you can expect in terms of dental milestones. Your regular visits to the dentist will allow them to track your child’s progress and ensure that any signs of dental issues can be caught early.
X-rays may be required to confirm that the adult teeth are correctly positioned to come down on time and in the right place. These can also determine potential bite problems or crowding and can be attended to right away.
Good oral hygiene doesn’t just happen, and we need to teach our children from an early age that dentists are not scary places that they need to avoid. Rather allow them to experience their first dental visit while they are young and malleable, and before any serious work needs to be done.
A regular schedule of check-ups and cleaning with your friendly local dentist is just what your little person needs to form valuable habits to take into adulthood.
If you’ve been meaning to book an appointment and you just haven’t gotten around to it, please take a moment to call us on 01420 550 616. It will be our pleasure to assist you.