You’re a new parent and there are so many ‘firsts’ that you’re planning: your child’s first birthday, their first haircut and nail trim, and teaching them their first words! Just as these ‘firsts’ are important to any parent, we want to stress the importance of your baby’s first dentist visit. Yes, new teeth coming in is a scary and unsure time for you and your baby. But, with these helpful tips, we hope to relieve most of your fears about taking your child to the dentist for their first time. After all, your child’s first dentist visit is so important when it comes to preparing them for their next ‘firsts’ in life. Your dentist can provide you with many meaningful preventative care options that will help you map out your child’s oral health options.
Let’s take a look at when you should book your baby’s first dental appointment!
How Old Should My Baby be For their First Dentist Visit?
Your child’s oral health is of the utmost importance. You want them to be ahead from the very beginning by giving them the best healthcare possible. Since you’re keeping track of your baby’s ‘firsts, this tip is easy to remember. In short, take your child in for their first dentist visit no later than their 1st birthday. Another rule of thumb to remember is to take your child in for their first visit by the time their first tooth (or teeth) come(s) in.
There isn’t much to worry about when the first visit rolls around. Usually, the dentist just wants to orient your baby with being at the office while educating parents on the best dental care measures. There is usually no need for concern and more than likely no treatments will happen on this day. However, your dentist will possibly talk you through some type of wellness plan that will help guide you and your baby through best oral health practices.
What Should I Expect at the First Dentist Visit?
This visit will be brief and straightforward, even though it’s definitely one of the most important visits your baby can attend. In the exam room, relationship and trust-building are very important, especially if this dentist will be with your child for a long period of time. Parents may be asked to sit alongside their infant depending on the age and temperament of the child.
The dentist will typically begin by checking any existing teeth that may be coming in (or attempting to come in) to make sure they are coming in nicely and as painlessly as possible. A bite check may also be prepared for your child to look for any potential problems with the gums, jawline, or other oral tissues. If your child is making it to the dentist with existing teeth, they may proceed with a routine, simple cleaning to see if your child will need any fluoride treatments.
After the exam, the parents are educated on what to expect in the coming months and years of their child’s life. Some topics they may cover include:
- Best dental hygiene practices for the child’s teeth and gums
- Fluoride needs and help with cavity prevention
- Addressing any bad oral habits (thumb sucking, teeth grinding, lip biting, or sucking)
- Teeth development stages
- Teething resources and expectations
- Best nutrition recommendations
- Wellness plan schedule for future dentist visits.
Protect your Child’s Teeth at Home
There are many practices that you can do for your baby at home, even before their first teeth start to come in. Here are some healthy habits and recommended tips to begin before and after your baby’s first dentist visit:
- Clean your baby’s gums with a small, damp cloth before their teeth start to come in.
- Begin brushing with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and a tiny amount of toothpaste (smaller than a grain of rice) when your child’s first tooth appears. Ask your dentist at your first visit if fluoride toothpaste is recommended.
- Prevent tooth decay from your baby’s bottle. Try not to give your baby a bottle of milk or any sweetened drink at bedtime.
- Until your child is around the age of 8 (or is showing independent, healthy dental habits), assist your child with brushing their teeth. A fun way to bond with your kid is brushing your teeth alongside them so they can watch what-to-do and not do.
- Limit sugary, tasty treats to help prevent tooth decay. Rather than sweets for a treat, try offering them fruits as snacks when they’re young. As they grow up, they won’t start to crave the sugar in juice boxes and candies.
Are You Prepared for Your Child’s First Dentist Visit?
Your baby’s first dentist visit should be just as exciting and rewarding as all the other ‘firsts’ they’re getting to experience. Make sure you notify your dentist ahead of time about any known allergies or health conditions that your child has. Once the first visit is done, your baby will be on their way to developing healthy oral habits and keeping a beautiful smile.
To set up your child’s first dentist visit, contact our professional and pleasant staff here at Mountain View Dental. If you have questions or want to schedule an appointment, give us a call today at 385-324-3557!