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A Child's First Dental Visit

expectations of a child's first visit to the dentist

A CHILD’S FIRST DENTAL VISIT

Newborn children are accompanied by lots of questions about how to care for them. One of the many things that parents wonder is: “When is the right time for my child’s first dental visit?”

It’s really never too early to bring a child in for his or her first dental visit, but we typically recommend that children come in between 6 months and one year of age. The first teeth to come in are the lower front teeth (incisors) and they usually start to appear around 6 months of age.

At this first appointment, the dentist will typically spend a few minutes examining the child’s mouth to confirm normal development, then spend the rest of the visit talking to the parents about how to care for the child’s teeth and what to expect in the future. Starting dental visits early in life helps to establish a relationship between the dentist, parents, and child. If problems exist, they can be discovered and corrected early.

Before the first dental visit, you can care for your child’s teeth and gums by wiping them with a damp cloth. Once the first teeth come into the mouth, you can brush them gently with a soft toothbrush and water. Toothpaste can be used when the child becomes old enough to spit after brushing. A bit of toothpaste the size of a grain of rice is all that should be used, because the child is likely to swallow a large portion of the toothpaste. When you bring your child to his or her first visit, the dentist and staff can help to demonstrate these techniques and answer any questions.

The sooner you bring your child in for his or her first visit, the sooner you can put them on a path to a lifetime of good oral health.