Your Child’s First Dental Visit
One of the most commonly asked questions we get is “How old does my child have to be to come in?” and we love this question. Not only because we love meeting these cute babies, but also because as professionals we know that being proactive about your child’s dental health today can help keep their smile healthy for life. The American Dental Association recommends the first dental visit should occur when your baby’s first tooth appears, but no later than the child’s first birthday.
On average, we end up seeing children between their first and second birthday where we do what we call a “Happy Visit”. During this visit, we will have you sit in the dental chair with your child on your lap, if your child isn’t able to — or doesn’t want to — sit in the chair alone. Dr. Rigby or Dr. Cohen will check for mouth injuries, cavities or other issues, which we call “counting” their teeth. If they are cooperative, we will try to clean their teeth. If they are not, it’s OK! We let them pick a new tooth brush and a prize to create a positive experience that will help it not seem so scary when they come back for their next visit.
Tips for a Positive Dental Visit from the ADA
· To get your child ready for the visit, talk to him or her about what’s going to happen and be positive.
· Have your child practice opening his or her mouth to get them ready for when the dentist counts and checks their teeth.
· Reading books or watching videos about first dental visits may help your child be less fearful and more confident. (See our Patient Education Center for some great videos!)
· Schedule your child’s first dental visit before his or her first birthday.
· If possible, schedule a morning appointment when children tend to be rested and cooperative. Avoid scheduling during nap time.
· Stay positive. Don’t show any anxiety that you might feel about dental visits. If you are nervous about going to the dentist yourself, try not to let it show.
· Never bribe your child to go to the dentist or use the visit as a punishment or threat.
· Make your child’s dental visit an enjoyable outing. Teaching your child good oral hygiene habits early can lead to a lifetime of good dental health.