If you’re a new parent, it’s important to recognize that your child’s first visit to the dentist should occur when their first tooth appears. That’s usually between the ages of six months and one year of age. This article addresses what typically happens at your child’s first dental visit and how you, as a parent, can help set your child up for a lifetime of good oral care by establishing a positive relationship with your family dentist.
What to Expect at the First Visit to a Dentist
You might not remember your first dental visit. Typically, the first visit is actually just an opportunity to meet the child and let them enjoy exploring and growing comfortable with the family dental office. You will be asked to fill out a medical history on the child.
When you come into the exam room a variety of techniques can be used to make the child more comfortable. One technique that works well is for the parent to sit in the exam chair and hold their child, letting them grow more relaxed around the sounds, smells, and sights of the modern dental office.
This is a great opportunity to talk about creative techniques for teaching your child about brushing and flossing. Feel free to ask the dentist and his or her team any questions you have about your child’s oral health. Some of the topics you may talk about include:
- How to establish good oral hygiene practices for your child.
- When and if to have fluoride treatments.
- Thumb sucking, nail biting, or other oral fixations.
If the child is a little older or has several teeth that have already come in, the dentist will typically do a gentle oral exam to look for any problems with how the new teeth are coming in.
From the first visit onward, the dentist will typically schedule your child, and you, for that matter, for a six-month checkup. These visits are crucially important for monitoring the bite and formation of new teeth while remaining ever vigilant around cavity prevention and gum health.
When Should My Child Get an X-Ray?
Unless the child has a serious dental problem such as a cleft palate, x-rays aren’t usually taken until age five or six. It’s at that age that the permanent teeth start to come in. Dental x-rays help the dentist see what’s going on with the alignment of the new teeth under the surface. That way they can spot spacing or crowding problems, and potentially, refer the child to an orthodontist for braces as they grow.
Dr. Hadley and his talented team remain committed to your entire family’s oral health. Contact us to set your next appointment or for a referral to a specialist. We’re here to help!