Children should visit the same dentist consistently—preferably a pediatric dentist who specializes in the oral health of children and adolescents. Early childhood dental visits help a child acclimate to the dental environment and become comfortable with his or her oral care provider.
By attending appointments on a regular basis, children learn to put a value on oral care and establish healthy habits that can last a lifetime. The first dental appointment for your child will be unique from any other, depending on their age and overall oral health.
When Should My Child Visit the Dentist?
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child’s first dental visit should occur within six months after the eruption of their first tooth or by age one. Despite these recommendations, the majority of children in the US do not have a first dental appointment until long after age two. Unfortunately, waiting has its consequences. As children get older, their risk of tooth decay increases—something that is easily prevented with early oral care.
What to Expect
The first dental appointment for your child begins with questions about your child’s medical and oral health history. You will also be given an opportunity to discuss any questions you have as a parent or any symptoms your child may have been experiencing. During your child’s first dental visit, depending on their age, the dentist may visually examine the teeth and/or gums for signs of decay or other complications. Older kids may have their teeth cleaned and x-rayed for closer examination.
Dentists often use the first dental visit as an opportunity to speak with parents about proper oral hygiene habits, including brushing, flossing, and the importance of fluoride. It is also the time when pediatric dentists speak with parents about teething, preventing accidents, and the importance of limiting foods and beverages that contain sugar. Your child’s dentist may also recommend dental sealants to help keep your child’s teeth protected.
Tips for Choosing Your Child’s Dentist
Parents must be selective in choosing a dentist for their child’s first dental visit. Though any dentist is capable of caring for your child’s teeth, a pediatric dentist specializes only in the treatment of children and adolescents. Pediatric dentists know how to relate to children and how to make them feel comfortable in the dental chair.
It may not seem like much, but your child’s initial impression of their dentist has a significant effect on how they’ll view visiting the dentist as they get older. Making sure that your child is cared for by a friendly pediatric dental team will help establish a healthy, lifelong relationship with oral care.
Do I really need a pediatric dentist? What about my family’s dentist?
We strongly believe children should see a dedicated pediatric dentist. These dentists have specialized training and years of experience treating children and adolescents. They have the expertise to help young people feel comfortable in the dentist’s chair.
Why should my child come in after their first tooth or at 1 year old? Why not at 2 years old?
Visiting the dentist young has many benefits! Your dentist has time to build a foundation of oral health for your child, including early cavity prevention. It also helps cement the dentist as a fun, relaxing place for your child, helping to reduce anxiety about dentist visits later in life.
I’m nervous about my child’s first visit. How can I make sure they don’t pick up on it?
It’s normal for any parent to be nervous about a “first” for their child. The most important thing is to model positive behavior for them. Avoid any negative talk about the dentist e.g. “I hated going to the dentist when I was young, I hope it’s different now!” Emphasize how proud you are of your child, and that going to the dentist is a big important step in growing up.
I have a special needs child. Will they be okay on their first visit?
Yes! At Tooth Fairy Pediatric Dental, we believe all children deserve welcoming, high-quality dental care. We have years of experience working with children with special needs. You’re welcome to give us a call about your appointment with details about how we can accommodate your child’s unique needs.
Do you accept insurance?
Absolutely. We’re happy to accept most forms of insurance, including Medicaid.
Make Sure to Schedule Regular Appointments
After a child’s first dental visit, kids with healthy mouths and teeth typically need to see the dentist every six months for routine check-ups and preventative care, such as cleanings and fluoride treatments. However, after the first dental appointment for your child, their dentist may recommend an alternate schedule that better accommodates your child’s needs.
At Tooth Fairy Pediatric Dental, our pediatric dentistry team is well-equipped to guide you and your child through the first visit into a lifetime of proper oral care. To make an appointment for your child, contact us today to visit us at any of our convenient locations in the Reno, NV area.
Call 775-800-4117 to Book Your Appointment