The answer to that question may be more obvious than you think. The first dental visit should be scheduled after your child’s first tooth appears in their mouth. A baby’s teeth start to come in around 6 months of age and most will have a full set of primary teeth by their 3rd birthday. A nice goal would be to have their first dental visit prior to or around their 1st birthday. One strategy can be to have your child accompany you or a sibling to one of your routine appointments.
The importance of early dental visits should not be overlooked. Here are several advantages to scheduling a dental visit soon after your child’s teeth erupt.
- It is best to have the child’s first dental visit when there are no dental problems. Waiting until the child is in pain to schedule a visit can set the child up for a lifetime of avoiding the dentist.
- Scheduling a dental visit allows you to meet the dentist and establish a dental home for your child. This can make return visits that much easier for your child if they do get a toothache or injure a tooth.
- Parents of the child can get their questions answered and get necessary information to keep their child’s mouth healthy.
- It allows the dentist to do an exam and advise the parents if there are unhealthy habits taking place like baby bottle tooth decay. Baby bottle tooth decay can be caused by putting a child to bed with a bottle filled with sugary liquids such as fruit juices, milk or soda. The effects of such habits can show up early, lead to cavities and discomfort.
- A parent can also get tips on how to best clean their child’s teeth, discuss teething, pacifier use, and when it is advantageous for finger/thumb sucking to stop.
It is important to know that tooth decay can be prevented with healthy habits and routine dental visits. Getting your child in to see a dentist early and routinely is a great first step toward a keeping your child’s mouth healthy for a lifetime.
Brandon Helgeson DDS, Denmark Dental