At What Age Should Your Child First Visit the Dentist?
It comes as a surprise to many parents that children should visit the dentist by the time they’re a year old. In fact, their first dentist appointment should be as soon as their teeth begin to emerge, which is often around six months. Official guidance from the CDC recommends: First tooth or first birthday, whichever comes first!
The AAPD (American Association of Pediatric Dentists) offers the same guidance, along with a wealth of other, age-specific resources. You’ll find tips there about the holidays, back-to-school time, facial protection, food choices, cavity prevention, and so much more.
Why Do Babies and Toddlers Need to Go to the Dentist?
You’re not alone. Many parents ask this question. They wonder: If my child has just one tooth, or only a few, why is it important for them to see a dentist? If you’re also curious about this, consider the following:
- More than 23% of children between ages 2 and 5 in the United States have had at least one cavity.
- This portion rises to more than half for children 6 to 8 years old.
- Cavities are the leading cause of chronic disease among children.
- Primary (baby) teeth are more susceptible to decay than permanent teeth.
- Applying dental sealants to back teeth prevents 80% of cavities.
What is Their First Dental Home?
Another compelling reason to bring your child to the dentist early is to establish a dental home, or a dental practice where they’re established as a patient. One very important reason to have a dental home is that you’ll have somewhere to take them should a dental emergency arise. Once your child is established with us, we’ll have all their records on hand, and you can get in to see us quickly if something urgent comes up.
Dentist Visits Can Prevent Tooth Decay
Seeing us regularly can help your child prevent tooth troubles and avoid painful dental treatments. For example, catching a cavity early may allow us to skip drilling altogether.
Additionally, we’ll be with you every step of the way to support you in taking great care of your kiddo’s teeth. At every visit, we’ll provide you with stage-appropriate guidance and resources to help keep them on track.
Make it Fun and Fear-Free
A dental home is also valuable to your child’s level of comfort and ease. The earlier and more often they come to see us, the more comfortable they’ll be. And if they do ever require something unpleasant like a filling, it will be just one of many otherwise easygoing visits. They’ll be less likely to associate going to the dentist with pain or nervousness in the future. We strive to make every visit–even the “scary” ones–great.
Why Do Baby Teeth Matter?
If the baby teeth are going to fall out anyway, why does cavity prevention and treatment matter? Baby teeth are important, because they set the path for the permanent teeth to come in later.
But, perhaps more importantly, cavities in baby teeth left untreated can cause decay or infections in the underlying permanent teeth. The permanent teeth can get cavities before they even erupt!
Your child’s baby teeth are the only ones they have for the time being, so those chompers are important for proper chewing and speaking. If baby teeth are damaged and not functioning correctly, it could cause your youngster indigestion, pain, or speech problems.
And, last but not least, childhood is a crucial time in self-image development. We want to give your beloved baby their best chance at confidence and a healthy sense of self.
What Happens at Baby’s First Dentist Appointment?
The first thing you’ll be happy to know about your baby’s first dentist appointment is that you’ll be right next to them the whole time. We’ll never take them into another room without their caregiver or ask you to stay in the waiting room. This first dentist appointment is really about getting a look at their first toofers and getting them comfortable with visiting the dentist.
We’ll do a quick exam and cleaning. Our staff is so sweet–they keep the kiddos entertained and parents informed. We will let you and your child know step-by-step what we’re doing. If
anything scares them, we can quickly take a different tack. For example, if the interdental brush scares them, we’ll happily switch to a children’s toothbrush. This visit, along with all of your child’s visits with us, is meant to be comfortable and fun.
Make Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment
Reach out to Soul Dental Kids NYC today to ask any questions at all, or to set up your kiddo’s first dentist appointment. We can’t wait to start them on the path to lifelong oral health!