Teeth and Toddlers: What to Expect on Your Kids’ First Dental Visit

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dentalA trip to the dentist is important, especially for kids. But when exactly should the first visit happen? Most new parents often wonder about it, when the answer is actually really simple: the first visit should occur by the child’s first birthday.

Pediatric dentists say it is best to take children to a family dental clinic by the time they turn a year old. This, or at least within 6 months after the first tooth erupts.

Purpose of the Visit

The reason to take your child to the dental clinic this early is to learn more about their oral health. By consulting the dentist, you’ll be able to take proper steps in caring for their unique dental needs. Another reason is because as a parent, you will want to know about potential dental problems your child may have. Dental problems are better identified in the early stages for immediate treatment to prevent the likelihood of worse problems.

This dental visit also serves as a concrete action plan in reinforcing how important oral health is. The simple act of consulting the dentist instills in young minds the responsibility of taking care of dental health.

More importantly, this early trip to the dentist is crucial as it sets the tone and sends kids a message that they can be at ease whenever at the dental office. This takes away the anxiety and fear, making future visits stress-free.

Expectations for the Visit

First appointments always involve the dentist checking the child’s over-all oral health. They will inspect if there are tooth decays or problems with bite, gums, jaw or oral tissues. More than these actual check-ups, dental practitioners also inform parents about simple oral health care habits and possible dental developmental problems.

Your family dentist is also likely to suggest hygiene practices to ensure that your child’s teeth are free from cavities. They may also discuss common oral habits children are used to, including thumb sucking or tongue thrusting. You should watch out for these behaviors, as they may contribute to dental problems.

Dentists are also likely to arrange a fixed schedule of appointments. Most will set check-ups every 6 months, which is the ideal schedule to improve child’s comfort and confidence level during dental visits. It also allows dentists to keep an eye on the development of teeth and treat developing problems.

Remember the rule: first visit by first birthday. Make the first dental visit a rewarding experience by preparing yourself and your child.

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