Your child's first dental visit can be a time of both anxiety and excitement. While it might be a bit nerve-wracking to take your child to the dentist, it is also a special rite of passage that signifies your little one is really leaving babyhood behind. Read on to find out what you need to know before your child's first dental visit.
The Age For The First Pediatric Dentist Visit
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children visit a pediatric dentist for the first time after their first tooth breaks through the gums. In the event that your child doesn't have at least one visible tooth by their first birthday, they should be taken to the pediatric dentist at that time.
While it might seem like one year old is young to have dental problems, it is entirely possible for very young kids to have tooth decay. In fact, around 4 million preschool age children experience some degree of tooth decay today. Therefore, the earlier that you see the pediatric dentist, the sooner you can halt the development of cavities in its tracks.
Dental Education at The Pediatric Dentist
While part of your child's first dental visit will be a checkup, the other major component of this initial visit is oral healthcare education. The dentist may not be able to actually teach proper dental habits directly to your child yet since they are so young. However, the pediatric dentist can give you some very helpful tips about oral healthcare.
You can then practice these habits at home with your child as they grow. Your pediatric dentist will educate you on things such as:
- Proper brushing habits for children
- Choosing the right toothpaste for children
- Correct toothbrush choices for children
- Tricks to get your child interested in brushing their teeth
- Use of fluoride rinses, if prescribed
Ongoing Dental Care For Your Child
During the first visit to the pediatric dentist, you will typically discuss what type of regular dental care schedule should be followed in the future. Your dentist will usually recommend that your child gets a check-up twice a year. Since your child is growing and developing so rapidly during the toddler years, it is vital that you keep up with these regular visits at the pediatric dentist.
As a parent, a large part of your child's oral health lays in your hands, but your pediatric dentist is an essential part of this equation as well. When you go for this all-important first visit, be sure that you choose a pediatric dentist that you (and your child!) truly like and trust to get the best results. For more information, speak with experts like Kids First Pediatric Dentistry.