The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommend that your child’s first dental visit be within 6 months of the first tooth erupting, and no later than 1-2 years of age. Typically the first tooth begins to erupt around 6 months of age.
What to Expect at Your Child’s First Dental Visit
Generally your child’s first visit to see the dentist at our Wheat Ridge dental office is not about any dental work being done. Instead it is meant to introduce your child to and familiarize your child with the dentist. This should be a fun visit, where your child is allowed to explore the dental office, have a look at the different instruments used and take a ride up and down in the dental chair. Once your child is comfortable the dentist can take a quick look in his or her mouth.
You could even bring your child with you to your dental check-ups so they can see the dentist looking in your mouth and become familiar with the whole process. Initially the dentist will only do a quick look in your child’s mouth, checking for any decay, also checking your child’s gums, jaw, and bite, watching for bottle caries, frenum issues, or other problems that may affect teeth and speech patterns.
How Often Should I Take My Child to the Dentist?
It is recommended that your child visit the dentist every 6 months for a check up, unless an issue comes up that needs to be dealt with. You can expect the dentist to build upon each subsequent visit. At the first visit, the dentist will probably only do an oral exam. At the next appointment the dentist may “count” your child’s teeth and then polish them, possibly adding a fluoride treatment at the visit after that.
Depending on your child’s comfort level, you may be asked to hold you child on your lap for the first few visits. After the first few visits, you may be asked to step outside so your child can gain some independence and confidence and have the opportunity to visit with the dentist on their own.
By the time your child is 3 years of age, they should be having full dental appointments. Around age 5 the dental staff may try (if your child is comfortable and able) to take x-rays of your child’s teeth to check for any decay hiding under the surface.
It is important to keep your child’s primary teeth healthy. They help your child chew properly to maintain good nutrition, they play a role in speech development, and they help save space for the permanent teeth to come in. Teaching your child to develop good oral hygiene habits during their childhood will set the stage for a healthy smile throughout their lifetime.
Contact your dentist at the Primary Dental office in Wheat Ridge to schedule the next appointment for you and/or your child.