If you are a new parent or have a toddler running around, you’ve probably gotten used to the many doctors appointments by now. But have you scheduled a dental exam for your child yet?
In case you haven’t, here’s a quick, helpful guide on knowing just when to arrange your little one’s first pediatric dentist visit.
When should I bring my child in for their first pediatric dentist appointment?
As parents, our plates are constantly full, so do not worry too much if you haven’t scheduled a pediatric dentist appointment just yet. The question is: what age should a child go to the dentist for the first time?
The best time to bring a child in for their first dentist appointment is within six months of the first tooth popping through (at most) or by age 1, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).
This appointment is important for the dentist to catch any dental problems early on, answer your questions on caring for your little one’s teeth, and advise you on how to clean those teeth.
How early is too early?
Many people think that children do not have to go to the dentist until they’re well into their toddler years since they don’t have many teeth. However, a child should see a dentist once the first tooth comes—which generally happens before a child turns 1.
It might be too early for a pediatric dentist visit if your child has no teeth or if they’re below 6 months old. However, if they have at least one pearly white, consider setting up an appointment in the near future.
How to Prepare Your Child for Their First Dental Appointment
Pediatric dentistry can be overwhelming for new parents (or parents of small children) if it’s the first visit. While your child may be teething and used to sucking on toys or their hands, they likely aren’t comfortable with others’ hands (or possibly even a toothbrush yet—though you should start brushing their teeth once the first tooth emerges).
The initial dentist appointment tends to go a lot smoother and less stressful for children (and parents) if you practice putting your hands in your child’s mouth for a few days leading up to the appointment. That will help them to be more comfortable when it’s time to see the dentist.
You can also talk to your child about what to expect at the dentist appointment, show them pictures of what will be done, and make it fun. Answer their questions (if they’re old enough to have them!), and help them feel comfortable.
Unusual Reasons to Bring Your Child to the Dentist
Here at Summit Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, pediatric dentistry and baby dentistry are two areas we work with the most. No matter your child’s age, we’ll work alongside you to help your little one feel comfortable at their first visit and every visit after.
Aside from the initial appointment, here are some other times to bring your child in for a visit:
#1: Issues With the Jaw
Does your little one’s jaw seem off? A pediatric dentist can inspect all areas of the mouth, including the jaw, for problems. As these problems can affect your child’s eating and development (speech), early intervention is important.
#2: Problems With the Gums
If your child’s gums appear swollen or painful, a dentist appointment is in order. Even if your child lacks teeth, don’t worry. Dentists examine the full mouth for oral health—not just the teeth. This allows them to pinpoint issues early on and recommend plans for treatment if necessary.
A good time to think about a pediatric dentist visit is when you see those first teeth come in. It’s an exciting time for new parents, and while it might feel overwhelming at first, try not to worry too much. Our pediatric and baby dentistry experts are here to ease your concerns by ensuring a comfortable, welcoming environment at all times for you and your little one.
Schedule your child’s first dentist appointment today. Summit Family and Cosmetic Dentistry is a family-friendly office that works with kids of all ages. Contact us here to book.