When Should You Start Taking Your Child to the Dentist?

Child smiling after pediatric treatment

It’s a common question among new parents about when to take a child to the dentist for the first time. When they first get their teeth, they seem too small to sit in a dentist’s chair! 

However, the dentist is a great place for children to learn good oral health hygiene from a young age. Even just watching their parents get their check-up will help kids take their tooth-brushing seriously, and hopefully see that visiting the dentist doesn’t have to be scary. 

So, when should you begin bringing your baby in for their own check-ups? Read on to find out more from our family dentistry team. 


When to Schedule an Appointment 

Early introduction is crucial. Not only will it help your child be more comfortable in the dentist’s office early on in their life, but it will also allow the dentist to check for any issues that could already be forming in your child’s growing mouth. 

Most dental professionals agree that you should start bringing your child to the dentist as early as the first tooth coming in. We definitely recommend that you at least bring your child in within their first year. 

Although it may seem silly, it’s important to get their teeth checked while they’re so young to ensure everything in the mouth is forming properly and there are no early signs of oral health problems. 


Common Oral Health Issues in Young Children 

Your dentist can give you important information on common oral health problems that often affect young children. This is essential for you to be able to identify certain signs in your child. 

For example, they could develop baby bottle tooth decay, or pacifier and finger-sucking habits that can have an adverse effect on their teeth and gums into adulthood. 


Helpful Tips 

Prepare Your Child 

For younger children, it is helpful to schedule an appointment in the morning so that they can be alert and fresh while this new experience is going on. 

For older kids (preschool and up), it’s often helpful to tell them exactly what to expect to happen at the dentist and build excitement about it early on. 

How your child feels about the dentist can often be a direct response of the energy that was surrounding their visits as young children, so make sure to keep a positive and fun attitude. 


Prepare Yourself 

If you are someone who has dental anxiety, be careful not to let that be felt by your child. As their parent, you are a model for how they behave in certain situations, so if you let any of your fears or anxieties show, they may pick up on that.

To prevent this anxiety and to better prepare for your appointment, come up with a list of the questions that you have for your dentist about your child’s teeth. This will help you get all of the information that you came to the dentist for without forgetting to ask about something that’s been on your mind but forgotten in the heat of the moment.


Prepare Your Dentist 

If your child is showing signs of nervousness in the waiting room, or might become upset in these situations, it can be helpful to warn your dentist ahead of time. 

It’s important for your dentist to know what to expect and look out for in your child so they can make the experience as positive as possible for your child. Paediatric dentists are specially-trained to know the best ways to make kids comfortable, so don’t worry too much!


Protect Their Teeth at Home 

Your dental visit with your child will go a lot smoother if there is no need for painful cavity fills or other dental procedures that might upset them. So, it’s essential to practice healthy oral hygiene at home from day one. 

Once your child starts developing teeth, brush their teeth morning and night. As they get older, help them learn to do this themselves. This will prevent cavities from forming in your child’s mouth at a young age. Always supervise them when brushing, and be sure to check that they aren’t missing any spots in the mouth. 


So – When Should I Book an Appointment for My Child? 

Overall, the right time is to take your child to the dentist is as soon as possible! 

Start healthy habits with your child when they’re young. This will give their teeth a great start in life, and hopefully will help prevent a fear of the dentist’s office. 

To book your child’s first appointment and visit our lovely family dentistry team, contact us at Hamptons Dental today!

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