New parents often wonder; “when should my child have their first dental checkup?” The answer to this question may be surprising to many, but your child’s first dental appointment is as important of a milestone in your baby’s life as the first hug, or first step.
Taking your first steps for your baby’s dental health
It is recommended that your child visits a pediatric dentist by the age of one. The reasoning for this is that during your child’s first exam, a dentist can check your child’s existing teeth for decay, examine their bite, and look for any potential problems that they may encounter as he or she grows, such as problems with their gums, jaw and/or oral tissues.
There are many common misconceptions many parents have about their child’s first dental visit such as:
• My child doesn’t even have teeth yet
• These are just baby teeth, so it doesn’t matter
• He/she doesn’t have any cavities yet
• They are not going to be able to sit in a chair that long
The goal of your kid’s first dental visit is to educate, prevent, and also create a positive dental experience. At your first visit to the dentist, you can expect to learn more about your baby’s dental health. Your dentist will explore topics with you such as:
• How to maintain healthy gums, teeth and prevent cavities
• Proper use of fluoride for your child
• Developmental milestones
• Oral habits – thumb/finger sucking, lip sucking etc.
• Proper nutrition to aid in a healthy mouth and teeth
Why is it so important to bring your 1 year old in for a visit to your dentist? By the time children are 3 or 4 years old, damage can already have begun to affect their overall dental health, which can impact their oral health for years to come. Your child’s baby teeth serve several critical functions in their growth and development, such as permitting proper chewing, aiding speech development, and helping proper development of permanent teeth.
Going to the dentist with your child can be a very positive experience, even at the age of one. One of our goals of is to create a positive experience for your child at their first dental visit, to help create a confident dental patient for years to come because each appointment is just a check up. If you wait to bring your child into the dentist, these positive check up’s can turn into your child having many cavities within their first appointments.
It’s important to understand that taking proper care of baby teeth is just as important as your permanent teeth. Your child’s baby teeth can help aid the development of healthy, cavity-free teeth in the future. Children who have their first preventive dental visit early in life, are more likely to have successful preventive visits and less restorative or emergency visits in the years to come. So plan ahead for your baby’s dental health and make sure you mark your child’s first dental checkup on your calendar!