When Should My Child First See a Dentist?

Your child’s first visit to the dentist should happen before his or her first birthday. The general rule for scheduling your child’s first visit is shortly after eruption of the first tooth. Taking your child to the dentist at a young age will aid in the prevention of problems such as tooth decay and can help lead to a lifetime of good oral care habits. It also acclimates your child to the dental office, therefore reducing anxiety and fear, which will allow for stress-free visits in the future.

How do I prepare my child and myself for the visit?

Before the initial visit, talk with your child about what to expect. Build excitement as well as establish understanding about the upcoming dental office visit. Bring with you any records of your child’s complete medical and dental history. Arrive 15 minutes early to allow your child to become familiarized with the new environment.

What will happen on the first visit?

This visit will serve as an introductory icebreaker to acquaint your child with Dr. Rose and The Pediatric Dental Studio. Patience and calmness in addition to reassuring communication from the parent is very important on all dental visits but especially during the first visits. Short, successive visits are designed to build the child’s trust in the dentist and the dental office, and it can prove to be invaluable if your child needs to be treated later for any dental problems.

The first visit often lasts between 15 and 30 minutes and may include the following, depending on age/cooperation:

  • A gentle but thorough examination of the teeth, jaw, bite, gums and oral tissues to monitor growth and development and observe any problem areas
  • If indicated, a gentle cleaning, which includes polishing teeth and removing any plaque, tartar buildup, or stains
  • Assessment for the need of X-rays
  • A demonstration on proper home cleaning
  • Assessment of the need for fluoride

Dr. Rose will answer any questions you may have and will do all that is possible to make you and your child feel comfortable throughout the visit. The entire dental team will provide a relaxed, non-threatening environment for your child.

What is the difference between a pediatric dentist and a family dentist?

Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry. A pediatric dentist has two to three years of specialty training following dental school and limits his/her practice to treating children only. Pediatric dentists are primary and specialty oral care providers for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health needs.

Are baby teeth really that important to my child?

Primary, or “baby” teeth are important for many reasons. Not only do they help children speak clearly and chew naturally, they also aid in forming a path that permanent teeth can follow when they are ready to erupt.

How can parents help prevent tooth decay?

Parents should take their children to the dentist regularly, beginning with the eruption of the first tooth. Then, the dentist can recommend a specific program of brushing, flossing, and other treatments for parents to supervise and teach to their children. These home treatments, when added to regular dental visits and a balanced diet, will help give your child a lifetime of healthy habits.