As a new parent, you’re told over and over about the importance of check-ups and regularly scheduled doctor appointments from the moment your child is born. Dental care is just as important to the overall health of your child – but determining the best time to take your child to a pediatric dentist isn’t as clear cut.
When should I make the first appointment?
The general rule of thumb for determining when your child should first visit a pediatric dentist is by the time he or she celebrates their first birthday. Although every child will have their own, unique dental timeline, the point of the first visit is to get your child comfortable in the dentist’s chair. At this time, your dentist will also educate you on your child’s teeth and what to expect for the future. There will also be a quick examination for any decay.
However, if your child is still on a bottle and hasn’t begun to snack/drink in the middle of the night, then you may decide to wait until year two before making their first appointment. After your first appointment, most pediatric dentists will recommend a routine 6-month check-up – unless there are any early issues that need correcting like lisps, mouth breathing and teeth grinding.
What to expect
As we said previously, expect a quick examination of your child’s mouth, as well as a rundown of how to care for their teeth in the upcoming years. Additionally, because the purpose of the visit is also to get your child comfortable with the dentist office, you might be asked to hold them in the chair and hold their mouth open during the exam.
It is not till year 3 that your child will have full dental appointment or exam. X-rays typically won’t be taken until your child is 5 years old and feels comfortable with the process and the entire dental office and staff.