When Should Your Child Start Going To The Dentist?

The dentist in face mask inspects female patient teeth with mirror and probe

While it may not seem important to take your young child to the dentist, it is recommended that you begin taking them by six months of age, preferably by 12 months. At this stage of growth, dentists specializing in children’s dentistry can look for multiple problems and provide information to ensure your child’s oral health. 

The most common things your dentist will look for when examining your child’s mouth are signs of bottle decay, thumb and pacifier-sucking habits, feeding habits, and general mouth cleaning. 

Preparing Yourself and Your Child 

Before your child’s first dentist visit, you should prepare yourself and your child by asking your dentist questions and knowing exactly what to expect when you come in. If you suffer from dental anxiety, try not to share that with your child, as children can pick up on their parents’ fears in a dental examination room. 

Scheduling a morning visit can help things go more smoothly as children are often more alert and fresh during the morning. Slightly older children should have what the dentist is and what a visit entails explained to them so they are ready and not afraid of the dentist. 

Child dental behaviors based on age:

  • 10 – 24 months: Securely attached children may have trouble being separated from their parents during an examination, even for a brief period. 
  • 2 – 3 years old: Securely attached children may be capable of separating from their parents during an examination after being told “no.”
  • Three years old: The child can not remain separated from a parent during a procedure like a cavity filling. 
  • Four years old: Children and parents can separate during preventative care and examinations with their parents in another room. 

The First Visit 

A child’s first visit to a dentist is to get acquainted with the dentist and to help them feel more comfortable. During this first visit, which typically lasts between 30 – 45 minutes, the dentist may perform a complete examination depending on the child’s age. Around 12 months of age, the dentist will examine the child’s bite, jaws, mouth tissue, teeth, and gums. 

If needed, a gentle cleaning may occur, in which the dentist will remove any plaque or tartar buildup to prevent cavities. While baby teeth do fall out, it is important to avoid cavities to ensure the health of adult teeth. 

Dentists rarely do x-rays on young children as the baby’s teeth will fall out as they grow older. If absolutely necessary, though, such as for diagnosing tooth decay or seeing if a baby tooth is preventing an adult tooth from coming up, x-rays may be done. 

Visit the Dentist Early For Lifelong Good Oral Health

Taking your child to the dentist when they are young can help ensure good oral health follows them as they transition from childhood to adulthood. If your child is ready for their first dental visit, Savannah Dental Solutions is here to help the process go smoothly. Contact us at our Savannah, GA, office or book an appointment online. 

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