As a new parent, you are always thinking about what is best for your child and when the best time might be to start scheduling regular appointments and checkups. What about your child’s oral health? When should you start scheduling your child’s first dental visit? What should you do to prepare so your child can have a positive experience?
It’s important to get those questions answered before you take your child to the dentist. Once that time comes, you should be able to help your little one feel comfortable. Below, you’ll find a list of things to expect when you schedule your child’s first visit to their pediatric dentist in Pomona.
Scheduling the First Appointment
What is an appropriate age to start scheduling dental appointments for your child? Some parents are surprised to learn that children should have dental checkups as early as 12 months old – or 6 months after their first tooth starts to come in. Early tooth development leaves the mouth prone to decay and other conditions that could result in major health issues later in life.
Your Child’s First Dental Visit: Knowing What to Expect
During this initial appointment, your child’s dentist will likely give a short and gentle exam to your child. This lasts no more than 30-45 minutes depending on the state of your child’s oral health.
Depending on what’s needed, your little one may also go through a round of X-rays and a short cleaning. The dentist can teach your child about proper brushing and flossing as they get older.
Preparing Your Child
You will want to sit down and talk with your child about going to the dentist for the first time. Prepare them as best as you can for what to expect. Talk about how a nice adult is going to look into their mouth and possibly touch their teeth for a minute. You can practice this by giving your child an initial dental exam at home.
If your child is scared, you can sit in the dental chair and have your child lay on your lap during the appointment.
Protecting Teeth at Home
Before and after your child’s first dentist appointment, you will want to help them practice a routine of good oral hygiene. Daily brushing and flossing are required to prevent plaque and harmful bacteria from building up on the teeth.
Here are some other helpful tips to practice together:
- Start with a soft toothbrush. Invest in ultra-soft bristles and start helping your child brush their teeth as more of them grow in.
- Before the age of 8, limit sugary foods. Sugar increases the chances of tooth decay, especially in younger children who are still learning how to brush.
- Be aware of bottle tooth decay. Baby bottle tooth decay is a common symptom in babies who spend too much time with a bottle throughout the day.
- Use a wet cloth to clean gums before teeth grow in. Your child’s oral health is still very important even before all of their teeth grow in; make sure to give their gums a gentle cleaning every day.
- Teach your child to brush. As they grow older, they should learn how to properly brush all of their teeth. They should be able to independently brush by age 7.
It is important to start keeping an eye on your child’s oral health as early as possible. As their teeth start to grow in, you may want to be on the lookout for the increased risk of oral health issues and seek prevention as quickly as you can.
Start Your Child on the Right Path to Oral Health!
It is never too early to start investing in your child’s dental health. You should start scheduling appointments by the time your child is 12 months old, or when they are growing their first tooth. You should be aware of all of the same oral health concerns that adults must be aware of. If you have additional questions or you want to start scheduling a dental appointment for your child, get in touch with our dentist in Pomona today!