How important is your child’s first dentist appointment?

Probably more than you think.

According to research more than 25% of children in the U.S. get a cavity before the age of 4, with many as early as 2. Despite this fact and recommendations from dentists, 40% of parents wait until after age 2 to take their child to the dentist for the first time.

When Should Your Child’s First Pediatric Dentist Visit Be?

Your baby’s first pediatric dentist appointment should be when their first tooth appears or before their first birthday. As soon as teeth begin appearing, the risk of cavities and other oral health issues is present.

Your infant’s primary teeth will typically begin to come in at 6-months old. This makes it even more important to see a pediatric dentist before your child is one-year-old to ensure those teeth are growing in correctly, identify any issues early and answer any questions.

What to Look For In Your Pediatric Dentist

Your child’s first dentist appointment is just as much an opportunity for you to meet with your children’s dentist and choose whether or not they are a good fit. Before visiting a dentist you should choose the best dentist in Columbia, MD by checking on recommendations from friends and family and reviewing their online reputation. Once you’ve found a reputable dentist that specializes in pediatric dentistry, there are other things to look for during the first dental visit:

  • Does your pediatric dentist answer all your questions and concerns?
  • Is your child’s dentist gentle with your child during the examination?
  • Does your pediatric dentist tell you about next steps in your child’s oral development?

What to Expect At Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment

Now that you know what your goals should be going into your child’s first dentist appointment, what can you expect from the visit?

The initial pediatric dentist visit will be a less formal visit that is more about sharing information and setting up an oral health plan. Your child’s dentist will generally examine your infant’s mouth while your child sits on your lap. During this visit, the primary goals are to:

  • Identify any potential oral health issues
  • Go over your child’s history
  • Give advice for proper oral care at home and walk you through cleaning your child’s teeth
  • Discuss oral development such as teething, biting, and sucking
  • Work with you to create a schedule for follow-up dental visits

Preparing for Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment

While you should be prepared to answer any questions about your child’s diet and oral development, this first dentist appointment is more of an opportunity for you to have your questions addressed. Be sure to come with any:

  • Questions About Home Care
  • Questions About Pediatric Dentistry Care
  • Additional Concerns You May Have

It’s also important to be available during the entire visit. Try to avoid bringing other children if possible so you can give your infant your full attention during the appointment.

Your child’s first dentist appointment is an extremely important step in their overall oral health, but it shouldn’t be something you are apprehensive about. As long as you’re able to find the right pediatric dentist, this should be a chance to learn and prepare for your child’s oral future.