When is it Time to Schedule my Child’s First Dental Visit?

child at the dentistParents often wonder when their child’s first dental visit is needed. This appointment – which is recommended earlier than you may think – can help your child get a good start on dental health that can help benefit them for years to come.

In this blog, the pediatric dentists at Park View Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics in NYC explain more about your child’s first dental visit:

When should my child’s first dental visit occur?

Your child should visit a dentist after he or she has their first tooth, or no later than their first birthday. That’s a bit earlier than many parents think, but as soon as your child has teeth, he or she can get cavities. In fact, studies have found that more than 1 in 4 kids in the U.S. have at least one cavity by age 4. They can often get cavities as early as age 2.

In addition, making sure your child’s baby teeth are kept clean and are in the proper position helps set the stage for healthy permanent teeth.

What can I expect at my child’s first dental visit?

Your child’s first dental visit starts with choosing the right dentist. Skill is important, of course, and many parents prefer that their child see a pediatric dentist, who has additional training in treating children’s dental issues. This type of dentist is also more likely to have a child-friendly office that can help put kids at ease. Since pediatric dentists specialize in young patients, they and their entire staff are comfortable with relating to little ones and helping the visit go smoothly.

During the visit, you can sit in the dental chair with your child on your lap, and the dentist will examine your child’s jaw and teeth. He or she will make sure these elements are developing as they should and also check for problems such as cavities or mouth issues.

The dentist may professionally clean your child’s teeth and apply fluoride, and he or she will offer tips for at-home dental care. You’ll receive information about your child’s development and answer questions you may have. A follow-up appointment can also be made.

How can I prepare for this visit?

The following tips can help this first visit go as smoothly as possible for you and your child:

  • Don’t schedule an appointment during naptime, which could make your child feel more tired and cranky.
  • Before your visit, read your child a positive book or let him or her watch a DVD about a first dental visit.
  • If you can, access and print patient forms in advance online so your visit can proceed more quickly.
  • Feed your child and help brush their teeth before the appointment so they won’t get hungry and their teeth will be clean.
  • Make a list of questions you may have, including those about at-home dental care, teething, thumb-sucking, or pacifier use.
  • Don’t be embarrassed if your child cries during the first visit. This isn’t uncommon, and your dentist can help try to calm him or her down.
  • If your child has special needs, try to find a pediatric dentist that frequently treats a variety of patients, including those with special needs.

If you’re looking for a pediatric dentist for your child’s first dental visit, make an appointment today with Pediatric Dentistry & Orthodontics in NYC. Founded in 1986, our practice is one of the first in Manhattan to be devoted exclusively to children’s dental care. We’ve led the way in gentle dental care that combines experience and expertise with an encouraging manner and fun-filled office to help put children at ease. Call (212) 879-6518 today or fill out the form on this page to request an appointment.

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