Many parents have a lot of questions about their child’s first dentist appointment – everything from when they should schedule that first trip to the dentist to what to expect when they get there. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Here is everything you need to know about your child’s first time to the dentist.
When Should I Take My Child to the Dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentists (AAPD) recommends that a baby’s first dentist appointment be within six months of their first tooth erupting or by their first birthday. It is suggested that children begin regular dental check-ups at a young age so that they become comfortable going to the dentist and so that they get into a routine of good oral hygiene.
What Type of Dentist Should I Take My Child To?
For your child’s first dentist appointment, he can be seen either by a regular practicing dentist or by a dentist who specializes in administering care to children known as a pediatric dentist. The main difference between a dentist and a pediatric dentist is that a pediatric dentist has had two years of additional training beyond dental school focused on the specific treatment of children. While either type of dentist can provide oral care to your child, a pediatric dentist’s office is usually specifically decorated and geared toward children which can help create a more comforting atmosphere for them. If your child seems particularly anxious about his first trip to the dentist then taking him to a pediatric dentist may help make the experience easier for him.
What Should I Expect At My Child’s First Dentist Appointment?
Your child’s first time to the dentist will be about building a relationship with your child’s dentist and making a plan to manage your child’s ongoing oral care. There are several things the dentist will go over with you on the first trip to the dentist.
- How to properly care for your child’s teeth at home
- The need for fluoride treatments
- Whether your child has any oral habits he/she should know about, such as thumb-sucking
- What developments to expect with your child’s teeth over the next six months
- How to manage teething symptoms
- How proper nutrition effects your child’s oral care
- Schedule of routine oral care appointments
Your child’s dentist will do a quick exam of your child’s teeth and gums and a cleaning may be performed, if necessary.
For your baby’s first dentist appointment there will most likely be paperwork that needs to filled out so you should plan to arrive a little early. Also come prepared with all insurance information.
Will the Dentist Want to Take X-Rays At the First Appointment?
Whether or not x-rays are taken during your child’s first trip to the dentist will most likely depend on age. X-rays are usually not taken on a baby’s first dentist appointment, when only one or two baby teeth are present – but should be expected if the child is 5 or 6 at his first time to the dentist. This is the age when x-rays normally begin to be taken since it is when the first adult teeth begin to come in. Taking x-rays of your child’s teeth around this time will be an important tool to allow the dentist to ensure that the adult teeth are coming in properly as well as to aid in assessing overall gum and teeth health.