At What Age Should My Child First See A Dentist?

If you’ve seen (or experienced) children visiting the dentist, you may have seen very upset and unhappy children. So when it comes to your own child, you may be wondering how long you can delay the inevitable first dentist visit.

When it comes to especially young children without all their teeth, it can seem unnecessary to bring them in to see the dentist until all their teeth have emerged.

However, the basic guideline is that your child should see a dentist 6 months after their first tooth has erupted. A child’s first tooth generally comes out by the time they are 6 months old, but if your child’s teeth developed late, visiting the dentist at the 1 year mark is the recommendation of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry.

Children And Baby Teeth

A child’s primary (baby) teeth are important to their overall health and development and can have a lasting impact on their adult life. Here at Taylor’s General & Cosmetic Dentistry, we know the value of healthy teeth at every age.

Some of the side-effects of damaged primary teeth are:

  • Unable to chew correctly and miss out on nutrition that is only obtained through chewing.
  • Poor speech patterns from missing or damaged teeth distorting their speech.
  • If primary teeth are missing, permanent teeth can erupting in either the wrong spot or crowd out other teeth.
  • Having damaged teeth can affect your child’s self-esteem as they see other children with undamaged teeth.

If at all possible, a child’s primary teeth should remain intact and in place until the permanent teeth pushes them out. There are options if the teeth are damaged beyond saving, so be sure to consult with your dentist to make sure you know all your available avenues.

Get Your Child For Their First Dental Visit

Since you want your child’s teeth to stay health and don’t want them terrified of their first dental visit, there are some steps to take to get your child ready for their first dental visit.

  • Start brushing early – Part of what makes dental visits scary for children is that the children aren’t used to having cleaning tools in their mouths. Parents should use soft toothbrushes and begin brushing their baby’s teeth even before the first tooth erupts. This will discourage bacterial growth in the infant’s mouth and keep their gums healthy.
  • Talk them through – If you talk your child through what happens at the dentist, and how their own visit will go, this can lessen the fear for your child. When they have an idea of what to expect, it can be less terrifying. You may need to do this several times before visits as they likely not remember the initial talks.
  • Speak positively – Many people casually talk of their hate of the dentist, but all this does for children is teach them that the dentist is someone to fear. Keep your language and tone positive, as this is likely what your young child will pick up on.

In some cases, your child may be apprehensive no matter what you do. But if you bring your child to the dentist young and help them keep up their dental health, the dentist won’t stay a scary place for them.

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