In accordance with the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, we recommend a child first sees a pediatric dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his or her first birthday. You can expect your child’s first tooth to start to erupt between 6 and 12 months of age.
Many parents ask us why we recommend coming in at such a young age, and the answer is quite simple: prevention, prevention, prevention. Unknown to many, dental decay is the most common chronic disease in children. By educating parents early on best dietary and hygiene practice for their children’s teeth, we hope to greatly reduce their risk of decay. Other topics discussed at first appointments may include:
– Oral habits (thumb sucking, pacifier use, lip sucking)
– Fluoride needs
– Proper nutrition
– Developmental milestones
For infants, we recommend having them sit on the parent’s lap in the dental chair to allow us to most easily examine and clean their teeth.
If this is your child’s first visit to the dentist and he or she is beyond the recommended age to first see a dentist, do not be alarmed; we are happy and excited they are now here and will accommodate education to both you and them, as is age appropriate. For all our children above infancy, we like to utilize the Tell-Show-Do technique as they become familiar with going to the dentist. That is, we first Tell them what we will be doing, using simplistic child friendly terms; we Show them what we are going to do in a non-threatening manner; and then, lastly, we Do the task. The Tell-Show-Do technique resonates with children and allows us to complete treatment with ease.
After your child’s first visit, we recommend they come back every six months to build your child’s comfort level in visiting the dentist, to monitor the development of his or her teeth, and to promptly treat any developing problems should they arise.
Our goal as pediatric dentists is to work with you and your child to ensure a positive and fun first experience that they look forward to coming back to!