When Should I Take My Child To The Dentist?
When should I take my child to the dentist? If you are asking this question then first know that you are not alone. Most parents are not sure exactly when is the perfect time to schedule their child’s first dentist appointment. Should your child wait and go after the first tooth comes in or maybe after all their teeth come in? According to the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, your child’s first scheduled dental visit should occur within six months of the first tooth erupting, but no later than by age two.
“If my child only has a few teeth, why the need to go so early?” This is a very common question parents also ask dentists.
Their first appointment generally is more for learning about their teeth and the importance of taking care of them versus an actual examination. Typically your dentist will not do an actual exam. They may peek inside your child’s mouth so they can make sure the teeth are coming in properly and there is no bottle rot, but generally, this visit is more about building trust and awareness. Your child’s dentist will often explain all of their tools, what they are for, and why they are important. Establishing trust and building a relationship with the dentist often helps the child overcome dental fears later on as they grow and have actual appointments, or even avoid dental anxieties all together.
What Happens After a Child’s First Dental Visit?
After your child’s first visit, it is highly recommended they visit the dentist every six months, unless there is a health concern. Common concerns that call for a visit early include a lisp, teeth grinding, and mouth breathing. Once your child is ready for their second visit, this is where your dentist will begin to work on your child’s teeth. Typically, the second dentist visit will include counting the child’s teeth and brushing them with cleaning paste. Dentists often introduce treatments in stages for two reasons, one, they may not have all of their teeth and be quite ready for advanced treatments, and two, to slowly build trust and ease fears. It generally isn’t until the third visit, or after the age of three were they start receiving more advanced treatments, such as fluoride treatments.
When Does My Child Receive Full Dental Exams?
By the age of three, your child will begin receiving full dental exams. As previously mentioned, they may begin fluoride treatments. They also will learn the importance of flossing and brushing their teeth thoroughly. Here, parents are typically asked to participate so they can help their child properly brush at home. The dentist will show parents how to help floss a child’s teeth in addition to teaching them helpful techniques to ensure a child brushes thoroughly. Dentists recommend that your child brushes their teeth for at least two minutes twice a day. Your dentist may recommend a toothbrush that has a built-in timer or light that flashes when done. Or, they may recommend some fun songs and games you can play with your child to help them reach their two-minute goal. After a few more visits, by age 5 your child will be old enough to receive X-rays.
Don’t be hesitant to bring your child to the dentist. Even if you feel they are a bit young. A great way to ease easily dentist fears is when you bring your child to one of your dental exams. When they see the dentist working on your teeth, it can help ease fears. Remember, it is never too early to begin proper oral care.
If your child popped that first tooth and is ready to visit the dentist for the first time, let us help start you and your child down the path of good oral health. Schedule an appointment at any one of our 14 Chicagoland locations.