At What Age Should Children Begin Going To The Dentist?

At What Age Should Children Begin Going To The Dentist?

Children will reach many milestones during their first few years of life, from crawling to walking to talking and more. Their first visit to the dentist is another of these important steps, but many parents are confused as to when they should first take their child to the dentist. Dental care for kids doesn’t have to be confusing or mysterious! Don’t worry, we’ll shed some light on when little ones should have their first dental appointment.

Early Dental Care is Crucial for Lifelong Good Health

Early dental care builds the foundation for good dental health for the rest of a child’s life. When children learn at an early age to properly care for their teeth and gums, they will continue those good habits throughout adolescence and adulthood and hopefully avoid costly dental procedures like braces. Having their teeth examined and cleaned early and regularly in life will help prevent cavities, plaque buildup, and tooth decay, which make up the most common chronic disease in children in the United States. Dental disease can bleed into other areas of the child’s life, causing self-esteem issues, trouble concentrating, lower grades in school, and chronic pain. Poor dental care can also cause chewing or speaking problems, further affecting the child’s social-emotional development.

First Tooth or First Birthday, Whichever Comes First

The American Dental Association recommends that children have their first dental visit when their first tooth begins to emerge, but no later than their first birthday. This visit is mainly focused on educating the parents and/or caregivers on how to properly care for the child’s emerging teeth and soft tissues of the mouth. This visit may include advice on how to brush baby teeth and gums, activities that can cause cavities, and nutritional guidance. Dental x-rays are not typically a part of the first dental visit, unless there are already potential dental problems that require further investigation. The exact flow and topics of this visit will vary from family to family, depending on their existing knowledge and current needs.

Frequently Asked Questions About a Child’s First Dental Visit

After the first visit, how often should my child visit the dentist?

After their initial visit, most children should visit the dentist twice each year for an examination and cleaning. For children with dental problems, more frequent visits may be required.

How do I prepare my child for their first dental visit?

The best way to prepare your child for their first dental visit is to clearly explain what the dentist visit is for, who the dentist is, and what they might see or hear while in the dentist’s office. There are many YouTube videos that do a great job introducing young children to what to expect at the dentist. You may also want to use toys that look like dentist tools to play “dentist” with your child (older siblings can be a big help here).

Pediatric Dental Care in Levittown, NY

A child’s first dental visit is an important milestone that sets them up for not just good dental health, but also good physical, social, and emotional health for years to come. For children in the Levittown area of Long Island, My Town’s Little Dentist Pediatric Dentist & Orthodontist is ready to help with all dental needs, including the all important first visit. Schedule an appointment with our caring and compassionate staff by calling 516-226-7337 or contact us. Together, we can guide you and your children on how to establish good dental habits early and continue them for life.