One of the most common questions we get from parents is: “When should I bring my child to the dentist?” Read on to find out what age is recommended for a first dental visit, and how to prepare for it!
First Dental Visit by 1st Birthday
– The Canadian Association of Pediatrics, Canadian Dental Association, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and the American Association of Pediatrics all recommend “establishing a dental home” by 12 months of age (or 6 months after the first tooth erupts).
How to prepare yourself and your child for their dental visit:
– Schedule a morning appointment and plan around naps.
– Use books to prepare your child for what a trip to the dentist might be like.
– Get a dentist kit to play with (Play Doh Drill n’ fill, and others can be found on Amazon). Model for your child and then have your child pretend to be the dentist.
– Once you have the date set, give your child a heads up 1-2 days beforehand and help them get excited about going to the dentist.
– If you think it would be helpful, you can bring your child with you to your own dental visit, another family members’ visit, or just stop by the office to take a look around before their own visit.
– Don’t project your own dental fears/anxieties onto your child.
– Be prepared with any questions or concerns you may have about your child’s oral health.
– Bring a full medical history/list of medications/allergies your child has.
– Don’t feel pressured to have your child sit in the dental chair and do not feel guilty if they cry or are scared. If your child becomes upset during the visit, stay calm and work with the dentist to create a positive experience.
– Take it one step at a time.
– What to expect: a ride in the chair, “counting teeth” with the dental mirror and explorer (tooth counter), age appropriate cleaning.
– The most important part of dental visits at a young age is to establish a positive dental home and education for the family.