Your Child’s First Trip to the Dentist

Children need healthy dental check-ups as much as adults do. Oral hygiene must be taught and practiced with children regularly and at an early age to prevent the many dental issues that can arise. Doctors suggest that healthy brushing habits must begin at age 2 or as soon as the teeth have grown in.

However, oral hygiene doesn’t only mean brushing and flossing. Regular dental checkups are equally important. Dentists examine oral health and give professional cleaning whenever needed.

What is the ideal time for a child’s first visit to the dentist?

Teething is a very exciting time for both parents and the child himself. Usually, children start teething at six months of age. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, it is ideal to take your child to the dentist at one year of age. This is because most children start teething within the first year of life, making them eligible for their first visit to the dentist. It is good to develop early oral hygiene routine and address early teeth problems in kids like bottle feeding tooth decay, prolonged thumb sucking, etc.


Should I make any preparations for my child’s first visit?

Children are unpredictable. It is good to make little preparations before you take your little one to the dentist for the first time. On setting up an appointment, you can discuss your queries with your baby’s dentist to avoid surprises. This will help bring your expectations to a realistic level and makes the actual visit smooth and uneventful. You will have to provide birth and medical history record of the baby on the first visit. We recommend morning appointments or when your child is active and fresh. Keep excitement on your face so that your child doesn’t suffer anxiety. Lifetime dental can help you to have elaborated idea of your child’s first visit.


What should be my expectations on the first visit?

The first visit of a child generally aims to make him familiar with the environment at the clinic. Children at this age exhibit stronger anxiety and tend to be reluctant at the new place. Pediatric dentists make acquaintance with kids at their first visit mostly.

If the baby gets comfortable with his doctor, his preliminary examination begins with looking at the oral cavity, teeth, gums, jaws, palate and general oral anatomy. Gentle cleaning and polishing may also be considered depending upon the age and response of the child. Dental X-rays are done to know any bony defect, cysts or tooth deformity.

The second visit can be scheduled at this time, and it is dependent on the outcome of the first visit. If the first visit is complete and uneventful, the next appointment is usually after six months.


How can I take care of my child’s oral health?

Parents play a vital role in the oral hygiene of their babies and their dental hygiene routine for the rest of their lives. If parents introduce dental cleaning and brushing in early life, it positively affects their routine. Finger brushes with soft bristles are available and easily used by babies. It is an excellent way to introduce the oral care routine to the baby initially. Kids love it and have fun with too. Proper nutrition and feeding habits also have an important part to play in the oral hygiene of kids. Bottle feeding is sometimes harmful to developing jawline and palate. It is recommended that mothers try to breastfeed their babies initially and then feed through specially designed bottles, or cups.


Is it necessary to have a child’s dental X-ray on the first visit?

Pediatric dentists suggest dental x-rays in case a child suffers from congenital defects of jaw and palate; have a history of chronic thumb sucking or bottle feeding. He can also consider x-rays in case of teething problems and other related complaints by the mother. If there is no history or risk factor, X-rays are not needed on the very first visit.


What are the risks associated with a delayed or missed visit to the dentist?

It is believed that oral hygiene begins not just before tooth eruption; it begins before birth. However,  when the first tooth appears, it is time for the first visit. If parents neglect the first visit to a dentist, they run the risk of making their baby prone to poor oral hygiene and poor general health as a result. Many congenital problems can be overlooked, and a lot of bad oral habits continue for life without intervention by a pediatric dentist in time. You are putting your child’s health at risk by delaying or missing his dental visits.


What if your child shows teeth at birth?

Natal teeth are very rare. They appear in 1/1000 births. It can be quite shocking for the parents to see their baby born with a tooth or two. They are usually present in the gum line and associated with some medical conditions or syndromes– for example, Sotos syndrome and Pierre Robin syndrome. So, you must visit your child’s dentist whenever you notice teeth before age in your child.

Can I take my toddler for the first visit if I missed in the first year of life?

As soon as you realize, you must take your child to the dentist and get his examination done. A toddler sometimes proves to be a bit difficult to handle at first visit. But you can always prepare your baby before you plan a visit. Toddlers can communicate better, so you can counsel him for dental examination and x-ray if needed. But, missing a dental visit is not a good choice. Visit as soon as you feel the need. It is not too late at this age, but once the bad oral hygiene habits develop, they are difficult to curb. And that will do no good to them.

Your child’s teeth are as important to us as your child is to you. If you want to know more about Pediatric Dental Health, feel free to Visit us or Call us Today!

Dr. Barry is part of a Columbus tradition of dental comfort and care. His outstanding education and training forms the foundation which enables him to treat all of your dental needs with confidence and trust providing the best care possible. Dr. Barry received his BS from Ohio State University in 1976, he also received his DDS from Ohio State in 1980.He is continually educating himself and his staff on the newest dental techniques and approaches in order to provide you with cutting-edge, comfortable, personalized, and antiseptic dental care. Dr. Barry is educated in the following areas – Reconstructive Dentistry, TMJ, Cosmetic Dentistry, Lumineers, Invisalign, Endodontics, Botox, Juviderm, Pediatric Dentistry, Geriatric Dentistry.

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