Q. How old should my child be before I make his first dental appointment?
A. You should take him in by the time he celebrates his first birthday.
First visits are mostly about getting kids used to the dentist’s chair and educating parents about how to care for the baby’s teeth. If your child has transitioned from the bottle to cup and doesn’t snack or drink in the middle of the night, you get a one-year pass, until age 2.
That’s when the standard every-six-month dental visit recommendation kicks into gear. When your child is between ages 4 and 6, expect your dentist to take a first set of X-rays to check for cavities lurking between the teeth.
Prevention is the name of the game between ages 6 and 12, when baby teeth give way to permanent teeth. Your child’s dentist will probably suggest a sealant, a plastic resin that bonds to teeth’s chewing surfaces, between ages 7 and 9.
Cavity-prone molars are the most likely site for treatment. The resin keeps cavity-causing bacteria from getting into the grooves and valleys of teeth.
Also, when your child is around age 7, his dentist will likely suggest an orthodontic evaluation.
Most kids will wait until their early teens for braces, but orthodontics is about modifying jaw growth, so identifying skeletal causes of crooked teeth early helps ensure a beautiful smile later on.
In the end, it’s the basics — brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and getting regular dental checkups — that have the most impact on a kid’s smile.
Among children who have never visited the dentist or who have not seen a dentist in the last 12 months, the most frequently mentioned reason (62%) was that “the child is too young” or “doesn’t have enough teeth yet.” Lack of insurance coverage was cited by 12% of the caregivers.
it is very important to keep primary (or “baby”) teeth in place until they are lost naturally. The primary teeth are important for many reasons including:
Many people don’t understand how important their children’s baby teeth are to lifelong oral health. There’s a continuing need for more education to teach practices, such as proper techniques for brushing and flossing, that will ensure lifelong oral health. The first dentist visit is a great opportunity for parents to learn how best to care for their children’s teeth.
If you begin taking your children to the dentist around the time the first tooth erupts, then they are probably too young to be nervous. But if you’ve waited until your child is older (for example, 2 years), then he or she may have some anxiety at the time of the first visit.
What’s the best way to prepare your child for the whirring machinery, sharp instruments and a stranger telling him or her to “open wide”?
We love our patients and love to help them form healthy dental life that will last them a lifetime. For more information call us today to answer all of your questions so get an appointment today.