It’s Time for Your Child’s First Dental Visit!

 

So, It’s Time to Schedule Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment

Cute baby boy sitting in a dentist chain at Newtown Dentistry with a big yellow stuffed dog mascot.

Your baby’s first year is full of milestones, from rolling over and sitting up to their first smile—and their first tooth. And once your little one starts getting teeth, you likely have a lot of questions. Should we be brushing? Can they eat solid foods? Are their teeth coming in as they should?

You can get answers to these and other questions during your child’s first dental visit. The American Dental Association recommends that children see a dentist for the first time after their first tooth appears, but no later than their first birthday. It might seem early, but there are some good reasons to make an appointment for your baby to see a dentist in their first year.

Why Dental Care Should Start Early

You might wonder why it’s so important to schedule your child for a dental appointment when they only have a few teeth.

There are several reasons:

  1. Prevent tooth decay. As soon as your child has a tooth, they can get cavities. Dental care helps keep baby teeth healthy, which is important to proper chewing and speaking. Healthy baby teeth also create a clear pathway for healthy permanent teeth.
  2. Identify potential issues. Starting exams early helps the dentist identify potential issues early on. Infants and toddlers cannot receive in-office treatments for cavities or other problems.While older kids and adults can receive nitrous oxide (laughing gas) or other forms of sedation in the office, infants require general anesthesia for dental procedures. Regular dental care helps prevent or slow the progression of dental disease in young children, so they do not need surgery.
  3. Build comfort. Going to the dentist can be a source of fear and anxiety for kids, especially older children who have never been before. Starting dental visits early in life helps establish more comfort with the appointments, preventing trauma later on.
  4. Get answers to your questions. As a parent, you likely have questions about your child’s dental health. The first dental visit is the ideal time to get answers about pacifier use, thumb sucking, teething, diet, and anything else you have concerns about.
  5. Apply fluoride varnish. If your child’s pediatrician has not yet applied fluoride varnish on your baby’s teeth, the dentist may recommend doing so. The clear varnish helps prevent or slow tooth decay and is typically applied beginning at six months and every 2-4 months afterward until age five. The dentist will also answer any questions you have about fluoride.
  6. Learn oral hygiene tips. Parents are encouraged to start brushing their baby’s teeth as soon as the first one erupts. During the first dental visit, the dentist will show you the proper technique for brushing baby teeth and gums and answer your questions.

What to Expect at the First Dental Visit

 Newtown Dentistry is a welcoming, kid-friendly environment for little ones of all ages.

Your baby’s first dental visit will be similar to a typical visit for older kids (and adults). Usually, parents hold their child while sitting in the dental chair. It’s totally normal and expected that little ones will wiggle around a bit. The dentist will examine your baby’s mouth and jaw to ensure they are developing properly. They’ll also look at your baby’s teeth and gums, checking for signs of cavities, injuries, or other issues that need to be addressed.

Once the exam is completed (which only takes a few moments) the dentist will clean your baby’s teeth, apply fluoride varnish if needed, and discuss questions or concerns with you.

How to Have a Successful Pediatric Dentist Visit

Although older children benefit from preparing to see the dentist with books, videos, or role-playing, those techniques aren’t effective with babies.

However, you can still make the experience a pleasant one for you and your child with these tips:

  • Avoid scheduling appointments during naptime. Newtown Dentistry offers convenient scheduling options so you can make an appointment for a time when your child is alert and happy.
  • Feed your little one (and clean their teeth afterward) before the appointment, so they aren’t hungry and cranky.
  • Bring a favorite toy or blanket as a comfort item. Newtown’s pediatric dentistry team is skilled in working with kids and making them comfortable (and even use toys and puppets to help keep them comfortable) but often their familiar favorite blanket is the best option.
  • Write down your questions beforehand, so you don’t forget to ask them.
  • Fill out paperwork before you arrive to speed up the check-in process. You can find Newtown’s registration forms here.

Choosing the right pediatric dentist can make your child’s first dental visit a breeze and set the stage for a lifetime of oral health. Newtown Dentistry offers welcoming and kid-friendly dental care, so if it’s time for that all-important first visit, request an appointment today.

  • AUTHOR

    Newtown Dentistry

  • DATE

    September 24, 2021

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