Your child’s first dental visit should happen around the time they get their first tooth in, typically between the ages of six months and one year. This first visit allows your child’s dentist to ensure that their tooth development is on track, discuss oral hygiene, and ensure your little one’s teeth are healthy.
What should you expect during that first visit with your child’s dentist? Here’s what you need to know when scheduling that first appointment.
You Can Stay With Your Child If You Like
It’s likely that your child won’t be old enough to go with the dentist on their own during their first visit, especially if you schedule the appointment around the time that their teeth are first coming in. Know that it’s perfectly normal and acceptable if your child isn’t old enough to be on their own or doesn’t want to be without you during the appointment .
You can sit on the exam chair and hold your child during the visit to keep them comfortable and ensure they feel safe while the dentist examines their mouth. This way, you can feel better about being with your child, and your child will likely feel more secure and confident when interacting with the dentist.
Talk About Your Child’s Health History
Be prepared to discuss your child’s health history during that first dental appointment. Your dentist will likely ask about any medical conditions or previous illnesses your child has had, as well as about your child’s behavior, diet, and pacifier use or thumb-sucking habits, if applicable .
However, your dentist will also review your child’s fluoride exposure with you to ensure their teeth are protected against decay. Your dentist will also provide tips for best feeding practices, as well as brushing and flossing at home to help you keep your little one’s teeth healthy as they develop.
Not Every Visit Includes a Cleaning
Not every dental visit will include a teeth cleaning. For example, if your child is very young and their teeth look fine, your dentist will likely conduct a simple oral exam and spend the rest of the visit discussing their oral care and development with you .
You can always contact your dentist before the appointment and ask if a cleaning will be involved so you and your child can better prepare for the visit. For example, if you’re bringing a toddler to their first dental appointment for a cleaning, it’s best to make the appointment during a time when your child will be fed and rested to reduce fussiness.
Ask Your Dentist How to Prepare
Being prepared for that first dental appointment can help ease anxiety for both you and your child during the visit. Contact your dentist and ask for any additional tips on how to prepare to ensure the visit goes smoothly and your child has a positive experience with their oral care from day one!