Your Child’s First Visit to the Dentist: When Should It Take Place?
Did you know that toddlers—and even babies—can get cavities? In fact, as soon as your child gets his or her first tooth, that tooth can begin to decay. As such, it’s imperative to schedule a dental checkup for your child as soon as you notice that very first tooth beginning to take form.
Specifically, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends—at the earliest—you schedule your child’s first visit to the dentist:
- When you see that initial tooth appear (or, at the latest, within the first six months of seeing it)
- Your child’s first birthday
During this visit, the dentist will be able to give you information on the following:
- Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
- Infant Feeding Practices
- Mouth Cleaning
- Pacifier Habits
- Finger-sucking Habits
- And More!
Does bringing your child to the dentist so early in life seem kind of strange to you? Consider this statistic from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: More than 21 percent of American children between the ages of 2 and 5 have cavities, and children who visit the dentist by their first birthday may be less likely to have tooth decay than children who wait until they’re older.
The First Check-Up: What to Expect
During your child’s first dental appointment, the pediatric dentist will examine your baby’s teeth, looking for signs of tooth decay as well as any conditions that may require special care. It’s recommended that, if possible, you schedule a morning appointment so that your child will be more alert.
This initial visit often lasts between 30 and 45 minutes. Depending on your child’s age, the dentist may examine his or her teeth, jaws, bite, gums, and oral tissues. This will allow for an accurate gauge of growth and development.
Additionally, you can expect to be asked about your child’s eating habits, and you’ll learn how certain foods and drinks—even for babies—can affect oral health.
There are myriad ways to protect your child’s teeth at home, such as:
- Before teeth come in, clean the child’s gums with a damp cloth
- Avoid giving a child a bottle of milk, juice, or sweetened liquid at bedtime or before a nap
- Limit the amount of time the child has a bottle (usually five to six minutes at a time is best)
- Limit treats and foods that promote tooth decay (hard candies, white bread, sweetened drinks)
Further, the sooner you bring your child to the dentist for a check-up, the quicker he or she will feel more comfortable with the teeth examining and cleaning process.
Contact Kids First Dentistry for an Appointment
If it’s time for your child’s first dental appointment, contact Kids First Dentistry today! Simply call (904) 423-1377 to get started. Our entire team believes it’s important to put your child’s smile first! We look forward to meeting you and your kid!