Most American children don’t see their family dentist until they are well over 2 years old, which is far later than dental and medical professionals recommend.
Once those mini-pearly whites start popping up in your child’s mouth, it’s definitely time to make your little guy or gal their first dentist appointment. The ideal time for a child’s first dentist appointment is by age 1, or within six months after the first primary teeth erupt.
Some children don’t show teeth until after age one, in which case your rule of thumb should be “Dentist by 1.”
Who: Consider taking your child to a pediatric dentist — someone who has additional training in caring for children’s oral health.
What: The dentist will check your child’s teeth, gums, jaw and bite. They may also clean your child’s teeth, apply fluoride, and go over your child’s oral hygiene routine.
When: Within about six months of your child’s first tooth’s arrival or by the time they turn one.
Where: A baby’s first visit usually takes place at the pediatric dental office or your family dentist if he or she treats young children. The child may sit in the parent’s lap during the examination.
Why: An early introduction to the dentist will help prevent your child from any fear later in life. It will also help reinforce the necessity of visiting the dentist.
Make sure to be positive when it comes to the dentist and let your child enjoy their first dental visit. They may even walk away with a sticker!