Children’s oral health starts at a very young age, from the emergence of those very first baby teeth around six months old! While a first dental visit may seem insignificant when your child is still so young, it’s an important first step in your child’s positive journey with pediatric dentistry. Let’s sink our teeth into the importance of caring for your kiddo’s teeth, starting with their first dental visit.
What Happens at a Child’s First Dental Visit?
Many parents are surprised to learn that their child’s first dental visit should occur around 12 months of age. At this point, children have typically cut several baby teeth, and their oral health should start being monitored by a pediatric or family dentist.
At Rhoades Family Dentistry, we call this first dental visit a “Happy Visit,” because the goal isn’t so much an inspection and cleaning as it is a chance for us to get to know your child better—and for them to get to know us! We spend our time together talking, learning about oral health in a fun and playful environment, and ensuring a positive first impression of dental appointments for both parents and children.
This first visit can happen as early as your child’s first birthday, though some children may not have their first appointment until closer to two years of age if they’re not quite ready. Some parents may bring their child along to their own check-ups once or twice before their child tries their first official visit.
Benefits of the First Dental Visit
The first dental visit sets the tone for the rest of your child’s oral health journey. Here are five benefits of the first dental visit that make it an essential experience for both parents and children:
1. It Helps Children Feel Safe and Comfortable
We want the dentist to feel like a safe, familiar place for your child. The first dental visit may not involve extensive cleaning, fluoride treatments, or x-rays, but it’s still just as important as these more in-depth dental check-ups that will come later. Bringing your son or daughter to a child-friendly dentist for their first dental visit will help them build a positive relationship with their dental care team, building trust that will set the foundation for all future care.
2. It Creates a Familiar Routine and Detailed Records
Going to the dentist every six months is a common routine for children, and starting it from a very young age makes it even more familiar. Beginning this routine early can also help parents to get into a rhythm of good dental care for their children and for themselves. It also gives your child an extensive dental history, with records they can take to any future dentist.
3. It Provides Preventative Dentistry for Children
Preventative dental care is essential for people of all ages! In early dental care, check-ups for preventative dentistry help stop problems before they even occur. Since even the newest of baby teeth are susceptible to cavities and other dental health issues, it’s important to have regular appointments with a professional family or pediatric dentist who can identify at-risk areas to improve dental habits.
4. It Catches Dental Problems Early
While prevention is ideal, dental problems like cavities can still slip through the cracks. Even on baby teeth, cavities still need to be treated, and having a dentist monitoring your child’s oral health can save you a lot of costly treatments or procedures down the line, ensuring any issues are caught early.
5. It Educates Children on Healthy Dental Habits
Because the first visit is more of a conversation than a cleaning, it gives your child a chance to learn more about good dental hygiene and how to take the lead in caring for their teeth! A child-friendly dentist can teach your child the best methods for brushing and flossing their teeth and advise parents on how to encourage healthy dental habits and what problems to look out for that may require further attention.
Make Dental Check-ups a Family Event!
Going to the dentist doesn’t have to be scary! And the first dental visit can set the tone. Visiting the dentist is something to be celebrated, as your child starts to experience key milestones of growing up. When you take your child to a family dentist for their first dental visit, it allows you to make it an event for the whole family! Your child can see that their dentist is your dentist, and know that going in for check-ups is something Mom and Dad are doing too.
If it’s time for your child’s first visit, or if you’d like to bring them along to your next cleaning so they can learn the ropes, book your check-up online or give us a call at (913) 782-8900 to learn more about what you can expect for your child’s first visit.