Cheerful Baby Boy

Ideally, your child should first visit the dentist about six months after the first baby tooth appears. Don’t leave it any later than her first birthday. The reason for this is that even with the advances in modern dental care and oral hygiene, it is possible for children to get cavities at an early age. In fact, tooth decay in children as young as two is not unheard of.

It can be fun!

The first appointment doesn’t have to be a stressful occasion for either the child or the parent. In fact, it can even be fun! Your child can ride up and down in the dental chair, and get an idea of what the various tools are for. You can make the appointment part of a fun outing that includes other activities.

This is a good time for a “getting to know you” type of interaction between your child and dental personnel. The dentist will, of course, want to look at the child’s teeth, but properly prepared, this doesn’t have to be perturbing to the child. If the child is amenable, this might also be a good time for a first cleaning.

The first visit will also help you to learn about how to maintain your child’s oral health, and to determine if any special conditions are present that may require monitoring or early treatment. A lot of dental problems are more easily dealt with if they’re caught early.

Pediatric dentists

Some dentists are not overly comfortable dealing with children. If you suspect that this is the case with your usual practitioner, you could ask for a referral to a pediatric dentist. Pediatric dentists can offer specific advice on how to care for the mouth of an infant or a toddler, and can also give you tips on how to discourage undesirable oral habits like thumb sucking. Further visits can be scheduled according to your child’s particular needs following a risk assessment.

When selecting a dentist for your child, you might consider making a “trial visit” to the office or clinic before bringing your child. You’ll know right-off whether it’s right for you and your child. If the clinic is child-friendly, it will be obvious, and staff will be more than pleased to answer your questions and make sure that you and your child both feel welcome and well cared for. This is a very important first step on the road to your child’s oral health.