With most babies sprouting their first teeth anywhere between 4 and 7 months of age, many parents are left wondering when they should take their little ones to see a dentist.
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, a child should have that first dental checkup when the first tooth appears or by his or her first birthday, whichever comes first. To ensure a smooth experience, the AAPD recommends choosing a pediatric dentist who specializes in treating children.
This may seem like a surprisingly young age, but there’s a reason behind it—in today’s fast-paced, high-sugar world, more than 25% of children in the U.S. get their first cavities before the age of 4. A dentist can help determine a little one’s likelihood of getting cavities, and make recommendations for preventing them.
The first visit is less about actual dental work and more about acquainting the child with the experience. The dentist will have the child get into the chair, demonstrate the tools and equipment that are used in a typical appointment, and talk about the important reasons for visiting the dentist. For younger toddlers who aren’t yet capable of understanding, the dentist will speak to the parents about the best ways to clean and care for baby’s teeth. Common discussion points include proper hygiene, fluoride use, the impact of diet on oral health, the effects of thumb-sucking and pacifiers, and ways to prevent accidents that could damage teeth.
Starting at age 2, you should make dental appointments for your child twice a year, unless you have any issues or concerns that necessitate more frequent visits. In most cases, the first X-rays are taken somewhere between 4 and 6 years of age. As the child grows older, the dentist will monitor the changes that occur as the baby teeth fall out and are replaced by permanent teeth.
Still have questions about your child’s dental care? Contact us for more information.