Pediatric Dentistry |5 min read

When should my child go to the dentist for the 1st time?

If you do not live under a rock then you probably have heard that Chrissy Teigen is under scrutiny, yet again, over a recent social media post she made documenting her 3-year-old Luna’s first trip to the dentist.

Actress Chrissy Teigen with her daughter at the dentist for her first dental visit

People were quick to shame Teigen, with over 1,884 comments to date on the post, and tell her she should have been bringing her daughter since she was much younger. So, what is the ideal age to take your little one for their first dental visit?

Read on to get the answer….

An infant girl having her first dental visit at Green Hills Pediatric Dentistry.
Taking care of your baby’s teeth is VERY Important.

Use the Rule of 1 When Deciding When to Begin Dental Appointments for Your Child

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), it is recommended that your child see a pediatric dentist “by the time they are 1 year old or within a year of the eruption of their 1st tooth.” I find that it is a reasonable goal to try to have your child seen by the time they are 2 years old. Some children are seen younger than that and some parents choose to wait until their child is older.

Don’t Let Anxiety Prevent You from Taking Your Child to the Dentist

One of the most common reasons parents put off that first dental visit is because they do not think their child will do well. Especially if brushing is a challenge at home, it is perfectly understandable that a parent would think it would be no different at the dentist’s office.

However, most of the time parents are pleasantly surprised by how great their child does for their first visit. As your Nashville pediatric dental specialists, we are trained to treat little ones and we have all kinds of tricks up our sleeve to help them warm up and feel comfortable. One of the most valuable things we have to offer is patience. We do not rush a child or force them to do anything. We use kid-friendly terminology and we make their visit FUN! It also helps that they get a balloon and a prize at every visit.

What Are the Benefits of Seeing a Pediatric Dentist?

Below are some of the benefits of establishing a dental home early in your child’s life. But, keep in mind, the age recommendations are just that, recommendations. It is never too early to bring your child to a pediatric dentist. I have seen babies as young as 1 week old for lip and tongue ties, so, just because your infant doesn’t have any teeth yet, does not mean they can not benefit from the expertise of a pediatric dentist.

A young child with freckles and curly red hair and a beautiful smile as she has been seeing her pediatric dentistry regularly.
It is a good idea to establish healthy dental habits early on.

Fewer Cavities

Children that see the dentist at a young age have fewer cavities, and the studies prove it. That is a powerful thing! If that is not reason enough to convince you that early dental visits ar beneficial, keep reading.

Establishes Familiarity & Trust

Many young children and a lot of adults as well have a fear of the dentist. This is understandable. The earlier a child starts coming to our office the quicker it will become a familiar place to them, they will know what to expect and you will be setting a healthy precedent for future dental visits throughout your child’s life and into adulthood.

Get Your Questions Answered Regarding Your Child’s Oral Health

By bringing your child for his or her first dental visit, you are providing an opportunity to ask all of the questions you have been wondering about your child’s teeth. Should I be using an electric toothbrush? Should I be using toothpaste with fluoride? Should I be brushing twice a day? Establishing trust and report with your pediatric dentist is just as beneficial to you as it is to your child.

Brushing and Teething Tips

We will give you a wealth of helpful tips on teething, brushing, toothbrushes, toothpaste and everything in between. Not sure how to brush your child’s teeth? We will demonstrate for you on your child and give you the opportunity to practice and make sure you are comfortable before you leave. It is easy to brush your own teeth but navigating a toddler’s small mouth can be intimidating. We can help.

Preventative Plan

The sooner preventative measures can be implemented the better chance your child has of staying cavity free. Preventative measures include in-office fluoride application as well as a discussion about your child’s daily fluoride exposure from sources like water and toothpaste. It also involves recommendations for fluoride substitutes such as xylitol.

Plan for Acute Dental Trauma

Kids fall all the time, especially when they are toddlers, and the number one area that is injured is the mouth. I give each parent an emergency preparation sheet that goes over tips for the most common dental emergencies. I am happy to share this emergency sheet with anyone who would like a copy. Simply send me an email or a message and I will happily share.

Dietary Counseling

We will go over your child’s diet to see if there are any recommendations we can make to help keep your child cavity free. Limiting juice and watering down what juice they do get is just one way to decrease your child’s sugar exposure. Sticking to natural sources of sugar such as fruit and avoiding sticky gummy snacks is another way to help decrease your child’s risk of cavities.

Peace of Mind

One of the biggest benefits for a parent from that first dental visit is giving a parent peace of mind after their child’s exam so they know if there is anything going on in their child’s mouth.

I hope this helps! Every child is different so feel free to reach out to me if you have any specific questions about your children. If you are ready to schedule your little one’s 1st visit we have super easy online scheduling.

Dr. B

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