First Dental Visit Of My Child: When, Why and How?

Ever wondered when exactly should you take your child for the first dental visit??

Due to the lack of awareness of dental health and hygiene, we as parents do not stress much on the dental visits. Until and unless there is pain or discomfort with both ourselves as well as our kids, we try to avoid as much as possible. Dental fear and anxiety is one of the main reasons for avoiding dental visits.

But this definitely should not be the case. Delaying a dental visit leads to a prolonged and invasive treatment, more discomfort and also more cost is involved.

When should be the child’s first dental visit?

It should be either at the child’s first birthday or within 6 months of the eruption of the first tooth, which ever is early.

Many parents feel that it is not necessary to get the teeth examined.

What possibly can go wrong with the kids teeth?

But, what we need to be aware about is, Early Childhood Caries (ECC). ECC is one of the most common dental problems in children and it can start as soon as the first tooth erupts in the baby’s mouth.

The American Academy of Pediatric dentistry also agrees that the dental visit of a child should be no later than 12 months of age. It also posses a lot of benefits towards the health of the child.

first dental visit should be by the child's first birthday

Why is the first dental visit so important?

Detecting Cavities

Your pediatric dentist might be able to detect any cavity that your child might be having at an age as early as 1 year. This will help in preventing any further cavities. It might be possible to get the cavity filled, in case the child is not co operative at least the other cavities can be prevented as your dentist will tell you how proper brushing techniques, what food to avoid and other things related to good oral hygiene. Your dentist might ask you a number of questions which will help in coming to a conclusion for the reason for the cavities.

Oral Habits

Though oral habits like thumb sucking, lip biting, finger sucking etc. are regarded as normal till the age of 3 years, but earlier the habit is broken the better it is. Your dentist can help you in detecting the habit and also tell you ways how to stop the habits, without disturbing the child at such a tender age.

Teething

Teething is one of the most important milestones your child will achieve. And at the age of one year your child either might be having few teeth or will be getting the teeth soon. You can ask questions pertaining to teething to your dentist.

Tongue Tie

Tongue tie if not detected early can go undetected for a long time. At the age of 1 year when you visit a dentist your dentist can diagnose a tongue tie if your child is having. It is nothing to worry about. If there is no problem you can leave it as it is. If there is any kind of problem the child is having pertaining to the togue tie a simple procedure called frenectomy can help in relieving it.

Craniofacial Development

Your pediatric dentist would check the child’s craniofacial development, i.e. the development of the extraoral structures like the jaws, the cheek bone, the muscles around the fac etc. Any problem that the parents might have missed can be delt with at an early age. Also any other problem related to the tooth bearing region or the gums can be identified.

Related: Who is a Pedodontist?

How to plan for the first dental visit?

prepare yourself for the first dental visit

Morning Visits

Morning visits when the child is active the most is the best for the first dental visit and even the subsequent visits. Never take an appointment during the nap time of the child. If you do so, the child will be irritable, anxious and defiant and would not open his or her mouth, or would not co-operate. So, best is to take the appointment when the child is most active, like the mornings when the child is fresh.

Take an Appointment

Always take an appointment from your pedodontist before visiting. This will help in reducing the waiting time. Waiting time is some times not very pleasant for the child as it would be the first time the child would be visiting the clinic. So, always take an appointment so that the child is comfortable, and your dentist can start with the examination asap.

Feed before the Visit

Feed your baby well before the visit. Otherwise also, the rule is applicable to the adults as well. Always eat well before going to the dentist. If the baby is hungry, he or she will again be cranky and not co-operate. Already it is a new environment and experience for the child. So, the child should be the most comfortable.

Stay Calm

It is just a dental visit, so stay relaxed. If you are not relaxed and calm and are worried your child will be anxious too. So, stay relaxed as your pedodontist will only be checking your child’s teeth and oral structure and will not do anything until and unless you ask them too. They would be very gentle with your little one. So, there is nothing to worry. Yes, your child might cry a bit, but it is completely normal. Start talking to your child a few days in advance of the visit. Tell that that a doctor would ask them to open the mouth so they can check their teeth. The child might not understand everything but definitely understand that it is safe and there is nothing to worry about.

What to expect during the first dental visit?

  1. Your dentist will examine the jaws, teeth, gums and all the other oral tissues and let you know if anything is wrong.
  2. Your dentist will check for any decay, and advise you a fluoride application in case required.
  3. Your dentist will inform you if any of the dietary habits of your baby needs to be changed.
  4. Your dentist will advise you regarding the oral habits which your child might be having.
  5. Your dentist will help you understand how to maintain a good oral hygiene for your child.

During the dental visit your child might cry due to fear or stranger anxiety or any of the other reasons. But, this is totally fine and you just need to console your child and work it out with your dentist.

When should your child’s second visit be?

The second visit of the child should be after 6 months from the first visit, or as directed by your pediatric dentist. Some dentist even ask you to visit after 3 months if there is some concern and your dentist wants to check again. Follow your dentist’s advise and do visit when recommended.

A dental visit is as important as a visit to a pediatrician for vaccinations and routine examination. Dental health is as important as the overall health and you should not wait for a problem to be there to visit a dentist.

Happy Parenting!

To book an appointment with us: www.32sparklets.com

Dr. Garima Verma

Dr. Garima Verma is a dentist and an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. To spread information regarding dental health and parenting she started this blog, where authentic information is provided after a detailed study from the most know websites like, FDA, WHO, IDA, etc. and a gist with accurate and complete information is shared.

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