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When Should My Child Have Their First Dental Exam?
March 5, 2018


Child smiling at dentist during first dental exam
When is the right time to introduce your child to the dental office?

As a new parent, there is a long list of milestones your child will achieve throughout their first year of life. You may not even realize one of the most important ones until you get a notification from your baby tracker app – first dentist appointment!

As a general guideline, the American Academy of Pediatrics Dentistry and Pediatricians agree that children should visit a pediatric dentist by the age of 1.

What to Expect At Baby’s First Dentist Appointment

The idea of taking your tot to the dentist at such a young age may be surprising, but the real truth is many kids are getting cavities as early as the age of 2, and 1 in 4 children in the United States has at least one cavity by the age of 4.

In order to better equip you as a parent, we will help guide you through how to prevent early childhood cavities by discussing:

  • How to care for an infant’s mouth properly
  • The proper use of fluoride and when to use it
  • Your child’s oral habits including sucking on fingers, pacifiers and bottles
  • Ways to prevent accidents that can damage your child’s teeth
  • Teething developments and how to help relive soreness
  • Your child’s diet and how it affects their teeth

Finding A Pediatric Dentist

Let’s be realistic – the thought of anyone trying to peek inside your little one’s wild mouth to get a good look at anything probably brings an immediate smile to your face. In recent years, most dental schools have prepared new graduates to provide care to young children, but many more established dentists are less familiar and less comfortable with infants and toddlers.

In order to find a dentist that cares for young children, here are some steps we recommend you take:

  1. Call your current dentist office and ask them what age their office recommends children be seen for their first dental appointment. The answer you’re looking for from them is that a child be seen by their first birthday.
  2. Specifically ask your current dentist if their team cares for young children and infants.
  3. If your current office does not offer pediatric dentistry, ask them who they recommend
  4. Ask for references from other parents in your area with small children who have more than likely already done the research for you
  5. Search for a pediatric dentist in your area on www.aapd.org and click on the link “Find a Pediatric Dentist”

How to Prepare Your Tot For The Dentist

Don’t expect for your little one to have a first dentist appointment that resembles your cleanings and checkups. The purpose of the age 1 dentist visit is to better educate you as a parent on your child’s oral health and how to best care for your child’s teeth before any problems occur.

Be sure to ask questions such as:

  • How to care for your child’s mouth and teeth
  • Help in relieving teething pain without damaging gum tissue
  • What to do in case of an accident or dental emergency
  • When to schedule their first cleaning
  • Factors that affect the risk of cavities, such as diet and hygiene habits

Benefits of Early Dental Visits

Many dental problems during child development can be prevented or more easily treated in the early stages of life. As your child grows, our dental team can help you learn how to prevent common oral problems.

Scheduling dental exams for your child every six months helps to keep your child comfortable with the dental office and our staff. It also helps your child see dental visits as positive experiences. If you wait to schedule your child’s first dentist appointment until the age of 2 or 3, your child is more likely to already have a cavity that will require general anesthesia for treatment.

At Hinsdale Dentistry, we will help you to take better care of your child’s teeth from the very beginning. Avoiding cavities by scheduling regular dental exams will help you child view the dentist’s as a pain-free and positive place.