In years past, dentists advised parents to make their child's first appointment around the age of three or four. However, today, the recommendations have changed. Pediatric dentists today recommend that children visit the dentist for the first time shortly after their first baby tooth has erupted. On average, the first baby tooth erupts between six and nine months of age.
Why So Early?
Dentists want to track your child's oral development starting at an early age. They want to ensure that you take proper care of your baby's teeth to promote future oral health, providing vital home care instructions.
When a child visits the dentist as a baby, they will become accustomed to the office's sights and sounds. They will build a close and trusting relationship with their dentist and hygienist. When a young child knows the dental chair is a safe and fun place, this relationship may reduce dental anxiety later in life.
Your Child's First Dental Visit
The first visit is typically a "getting to know you" experience where the child can become familiarized with the office. Later appointments will be more in-depth.
Routine Dental Appointments for Children
Babies and toddlers should see the dentist every six months, like their parents and older siblings. Routine appointments for children are like those performed for adults, with a cleaning and comprehensive oral exam.
Children typically receive X-rays starting at about age two to three. The first few X-rays will help your child become accustomed to the process. By the time the primary teeth touch at the back of the mouth, the dentist will give regular annual X-rays.
Caring for Your Child's Teeth at Home
Home oral care for infants and young children does not need to be complicated. Parents should wipe their children's gums with a clean baby washcloth before the first tooth emerges. When the first tooth appears, use a tiny smear of kids' fluoride toothpaste on a soft baby brush and gently brush it.
Continue to brush your child's teeth for them until they are approximately six to seven years old. Supervise as necessary.
Start flossing when your child's teeth fit closely together, typically between the ages of two and six. Helping a young child become accustomed to flossing can teach them valuable lifelong oral care habits.
Ask your dentist if a fluoridated rinse is appropriate for your older child. Some dentists recommend at-home fluoride rinses in addition to in-office treatments.
Call Smile Shack
If you have an infant at home, don't forget to make their first dental appointment. We provide expert dental care to young patients starting at the age of six months. Early dental care leads to better oral and overall health outcomes for the child's entire lifetime.
We want your child to have a positive, comfortable experience with the dentist. Call Smile Shack at 631-928-7500 to schedule an appointment.