As vital as good dental health is for our children, it’s common to be unprepared and uncertain about what to do when that first tooth erupts. We know that it’s crucial to schedule a dentist appointment before an infection or a cavity forms. At the same time, we want to make sure that our little ones are ready for their first visit.
So, when do you schedule the first visit to your children’s dentist? Is it possible to schedule it too early? How late is “too late”?
As your trusted Lexington pediatric dentist, we are here to answer those questions and more. In this article, we will discuss the best time to schedule your child’s first dentist appointment and what to expect from your visit.
When to Schedule Your Child’s First Dentist Appointment
Baby’s first tooth will usually emerge from the gums between 6-12 months old. Most, if not all, of their baby teeth will grow in by age three.
Of course, everybody is different, so don’t get overly concerned if your child’s teeth come in a little later. Whenever that first tooth does finally appear, it’s time to start thinking about scheduling an appointment at the local dental office.
An exposed tooth is subject to damage from acids and sugars in the meals and drinks your child enjoys throughout the day. Without proactive maintenance, you increase the chances of an infection or tooth decay.
To reduce the risk, your child’s first dentist appointment should be within six months after their first tooth erupts. No matter when your child’s teeth start coming in, make sure to schedule their dentist appointment before their first birthday.
It’s critical to get your child to the dentist early, before any problems arise. Doing so gives them a chance to clean the teeth and identify any potential trouble spots.
An early visit also gives your child’s dentist a chance to educate you on proper preventative maintenance. Every child has different dental needs. By detailing appropriate habits, your dentist can ensure your child will not have long-term issues with their baby or permanent teeth.
What to Expect At the Dentist
A child’s first dentist visit can be scary, both for them and their parents. Fortunately, you can rest assured that your Lexington pediatric dentist approaches every first visit with pain-free, non-intrusive care.
The first visit is primarily an exam lasting 30-45 minutes. The dentist will exam the teeth, jaws, gums, and bite to assess their development. They check for any growth issues and emergent tooth decay.
After examining the teeth, the dentist will often gently clean your child’s teeth. This can involve light flossing and polishing to remove stuck-on plaque and other buildups. Your dentist may also apply a fluoride varnish or other sealant for added protection.
Unless there is advanced deterioration or other severe issues, the dentist will not perform any X-rays. This is one major reason to make the first appointment as early as possible — healthier teeth make it much faster and less nerve-wracking for your child.
During the visit, you will be sitting alongside your child. If they are particularly anxious, the dentist may have you sit in the chair with your child on your lap.
It’s perfectly normal for children to wriggle and squirm at least a little during the first visit. Don’t worry too much about the anxiety. Pediatric dentists deal with a ton of first visit nerves, so they are prepared to help put your child at ease.
The appointment will end with the dentist reviewing appropriate daily hygiene practices with you. This is an excellent time to ask questions about any concerns or habits related to your child’s dental health.
Future Dentist Appointments
Follow-up dentist visits are much simpler than the first appointment. The dentist will establish a regular checkup schedule based on your child’s needs. With your paperwork all finished, all you need to worry about is reminding yourself about any upcoming visits.
Future appointments are easier for your child as well. By taking care of your first visit right away, you will begin to foster a positive relationship with your local dentist. You and your child will become more comfortable as your dentist understands your child’s unique needs.
Tips for a Great First Dentist Visit
Here are some helpful ways to set you and your child up for the best pediatric dentist appointment possible.
Start brushing as soon as the first tooth erupts. Regular daily cleaning will get your child used to brushing and reduce the potential for unexpected problems at the dentist appointment.
Talk to your child before the appointment. If your child is a little older, try to set expectations. They may be excited, worried, or upset, so do your best to manage their anxiety.
Be positive when talking about the dentist. Help them get in the right mindset by staying excited about how great their first dentist appointment will be. You may also consider a special reward or treat for a good visit.
Contact your Lexington pediatric dentist for new patient forms. Having these completed ahead of time will save you time and energy on the day of the visit.
Schedule the appointment with your child’s naptime in mind. Morning appointments are usually the best. You want to make sure your child is fed and well-rested to reduce their irritability during the visit.
Don’t hesitate to contact your dentist in Lexington. It’s important for you to be prepared for the first visit as well, so be sure to call with any questions ahead of time.
Schedule a Lexington Pediatric Dentist Appointment
By following our helpful tips, you can ensure that your child leaves their first dentist visit happy and healthy. Contact your Lexington pediatric dentist to schedule your child’s dentist appointment as soon as their first teeth start popping in.
At Pediatric Dentistry of Hamburg, our mission is to be the best pediatric dentist in Lexington, delivering quality care and advice for the sustained health of our communities. If you have any questions about dental hygiene habits or scheduling your child’s first dentist appointment, contact our team today.