When Should My Child Start Seeing the Dentist?

When Should My Child Start Seeing the Dentist?

The moment a baby’s first pearly white emerges from his or her gums is a big milestone. Not only is it a sign that a baby’s growth and development is staying on track, but it’s also a sign that the baby’s fussiness and discomfort from teething are over. 

But what happens after your baby’s first tooth emerges? When should you schedule your baby’s first appointment at Perfect Smiles Dental

In this article, Nupur Gupta, DDS answers common questions, including when you need to bring your child to the dentist and how to keep those pearly whites clean between dentist appointments. 

When should children start seeing the dentist?

The American Dental Association recommends that children see the dentist within six months of their first tooth emerging or by the age of 12 months 一 whichever comes first. 

During your child’s first appointment, Dr. Gupta will examine your baby’s mouth, count any teeth that have emerged, look for signs of decay, and provide you with instructions for cleaning your baby’s gums and teeth. During this time, Dr. Gupta answers any oral care questions you have, including which products are best for your baby as well as discussing dietary and fluoride needs.

Even if your child doesn’t have any teeth yet, you can keep your baby’s gums clean. You can wipe them down with a damp cloth, or use a special toothbrush designed for infants.

There are times, however, when a baby may need dental care even before s/he has teeth. Tongue (or lip) ties and oral thrush infections are common in babies, but these conditions can be easily remedied with dental care. If you suspect your baby has a lip tie or oral thrush, don’t hesitate to seek dental care.

How to prepare your child for his or her first dentist appointment

New experiences can be exciting, but for some children, new experiences can be scary. Sometimes, knowledge about upcoming events is enough to squash “fear of the unknown.” Below are a few tips to prepare your child for a trip to the dentist:

If your child is old enough to talk, ask if s/he has any questions about the dentist or teeth.

Setting up healthy habits for life

Because tooth decay can develop as soon as a tooth has emerged, oral care is just as important whether your baby has one tooth, three teeth, or 20 teeth. 

In addition to monitoring for signs of decay, your baby’s first few dental appointments serve another important purpose: acclimating your baby to dental appointments. Establishing oral care routines 一 including brushing teeth daily and receiving regular dental exams 一 demonstrates that dental care is important even before a problem (like a toothache) arises.

Between dentist appointments, you can continue to help establish oral routines in fun ways. To teach your child that toothbrushing should last two full minutes, play an upbeat children’s song. When the song is over, toothbrushing is done. Other fun ways to establish oral habits include:

To learn more about pediatric dentistry or to schedule an appointment for your child, call or click to make an appointment today.

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