You already know how important clean, healthy teeth and gums are to your overall health and why establishing good habits regarding brushing, flossing, and preventative care are essential. Because you know this, you’re most likely already teaching your children about good dental habits, but did you know children can start adopting those habits as soon as the first baby teeth start poking through? It’s true!
So, if dental care starts as soon as teeth are present, what about checkups and cleanings – when should your child start going to the dentist?
To help you properly plan and schedule your child’s first dental visit and know what to expect during those first few appointments, we are sharing some tips about pediatric dentistry in Cary and Holly Springs for babies and small children.
Scheduling Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment
While many children don’t see a dentist between the ages of two and three, the American Association of Pediatric Dentistry recommends parents schedule the first appointment around their baby’s first birthday. This is because keeping primary teeth, or “baby teeth,” healthy and in place until they are ready to fall out naturally is important for your child’s health and development. Primary teeth help babies learn to chew properly and are integral in speech development and it’s important to avoid decay and cavities as soon as possible.
What to Expect at a Pediatric Dentist Office
Your baby’s first dental appointment at 12 months old is much different than an appointment for a six year old child. After you get checked in and are in an exam room, you, or another parent or guardian, will sit in the dentist’s chair with your baby on your lap since your baby won’t be able to, or want to, sit in the chair alone.
The pediatric dentist will have you lean your child down so the dentist can get a good look inside their mouth to look for cavities, decay, how teeth are coming in, and any other issues. It’s generally a quick, simple exam with no x-rays required. The exam is followed by the dentist providing a teeth cleaning and then speaking to you about any concerns and provide you with tips for continued dental care.
Preparing for Your Child’s First Dental Appointment
It’s normal to be nervous about your baby’s first appointment and want everything to go smoothly. To make the experience pleasant for yourself and your child, here are some tips that will help:
Fill Out Forms Early
When you schedule an appointment, you can also see about filling out any paperwork ahead of time, that way you’re not trying to do it in the waiting area while trying to watch a toddler.
How often have we had questions for a medical practitioner only to forget them when we’re being seen? If you have questions about teething, thumbsucking, using a pacifier, or healthy eating habits, or anything related to dental health, write them down so you don’t forget. Your pediatric or family dentist will be happy to answer them for you!
Preparing Your Child for an Exam
- Make sure you’re regularly brushing your baby’s teeth with a baby-safe toothbrush and toothpaste, using only an amount about the size of a grain of rice.
- Reading stories and watching kid-friendly videos about going to the dentist (Sesame Street has great ones!) will help make it fun and get them comfortable, especially if your child is a bit older for their first visit.
- Avoid scheduling the appointment around a nap time or meal times.
- Eat and brush teeth before the visit so they aren’t hungry.
If your child does fuss a bit, don’t worry about it! That’s perfectly normal and any good pediatric dentist will be understanding.
Contact Us for Pediatric Dentistry in Cary and Holly Springs
If your child hasn’t had their first dentist appointment yet, we can help! Whether they are just now cutting teeth or they’re closer to preschool age, we can provide a safe, comfortable experience that will start your child on the road to good dental health as they grow! Contact us today by calling our Cary office at 919-467-2203 or Holly Springs office at 919-600-6262.