When should my child’s first check-up be?
One of the most important visits to get right is the first visit to the dentist. You, as a parent, need to make sure you make this as fun and stress-free as possible, so that your child has no fear of going to the dentist in the future.
When is the best time?
Some parents believe it best to leave it until their child has a full set of teeth however dentists do recommend a visit when the first tooth comes through or when the child is 6-12 months old. This would be more so that advice can be given for teething but also the dentist can check on the general oral health of your child.
The dentist will take the opportunity to examine your child’s mouth and jaw, ensuring everything looks normal and is developing as it should. It is a good time to check for any problems but also ensures teeth are clean and no cavities forming – tooth decay can begin at any age and in the US 1 in 5 children under the age of 5 has tooth decay.
General discussion on health and diet
The dentist will want to know what kind of diet your child has, especially if many sweet foods or treats are included. They will also talk about the use of pacifiers and/or thumb-sucking and how to break these habits. X-rays are usually only taken on older children to see if there are any issues, but they may need to take an x-ray on younger children if there is any cause for concern.
Preparing to visit
If you prepare your child well in advance of the appointment, they won’t mind any future appointments. It is therefore important that your child isn’t too sleepy or hungry before the visit. Take something distracting with them such as a favourite toy or game. After the appointment, plan something as a treat, regardless of how the visit went.
Paediatric dentists specialise in growing children and also have experience with making visiting the dentist a fun one. Their examination room will be brightly coloured with a theme for young children; the waiting area may well have toys and games to keep your child amused whilst waiting. They may have smaller-sized dental equipment too, specifically for young and little mouths.
If your child is frightened of sitting in the dentist’s chair, the dentist will more than likely let you hold your child to prevent them from fidgeting and possibly hurting themselves. It is an ideal opportunity for you to discuss any concerns you may have about your little one’s emerging teeth.
A follow-up appointment may be made 6 months or even 3 months after the initial appointment. This ensures your child gets into a good oral hygiene habit very early and isn’t afraid to visit the dentist in the future.