Although the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that children start seeing the dentist around the age of 12 months, many parents wonder if this is really necessary. What can a dentist even do when a baby only has two teeth? Isn’t it better just to wait until all of the baby teeth have come in? The truth is that these early visits are about more than your child’s teeth—they’re about establishing our practice as your family’s dental home and laying the foundation for a lifetime of healthy smiles.
What Happens During a First Dental Visit
Your child’s first dental visit is as much about you as it is about them! Since they can’t talk, we’ll ask you questions about your child’s teeth, diet, and habits. We’ll also discuss age-appropriate oral hygiene practices and answer any questions you might have. Before you leave, we’ll provide you with some essential tools to keep your child’s teeth healthy at home, including a baby-size toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.
When it comes to the dental exam and cleaning, we follow your child’s cues. It’s important that these early experiences at our office are positive because your child’s comfort with our team helps us provide the best possible care. We examine the teeth, jaw, and soft tissues and, if possible, we gently clean the teeth to remove any plaque and get your child used to what a dental cleaning feels like. Topical fluoride is applied to keep teeth strong and cavity-free.
With each subsequent visit, your child will be more at ease in our office. They’ll learn that it’s a safe place for them, full of friendly faces and fun. As they get older, they’ll also come to understand the important role we play in keeping them healthy.
Why Dental Care Is Important in the First Year
Children’s teeth are most susceptible to tooth decay in these early years, but there are simple and painless early interventions that can prevent cavities and reduce the likelihood of other dental issues. Without preventive dental care, your child is at risk not only of cavities, but also infection, tooth loss, dental emergencies, and costly restorative treatments. Frequent dental issues can be painful for children, impact their overall health, and make them feel embarrassed about their smiles when they’re older.
In decades past, baby teeth were treated as unimportant, but now we know better. Baby teeth aren’t simply placeholders for permanent teeth—they play a critical role in your child’s health and development by allowing them to eat the nutritious foods they need to thrive and by aiding speech. They need to be taken care of the same way you’d take care of your child’s adult teeth.
Learn More About Your Child’s First Dental Visit
Would you like to schedule an appointment for your child’s first visit with us? Do you have additional questions about what to expect when you come in for your visit? Contact us today to learn more or talk to Dr. Shenkin.