Life with a newborn is filled with many firsts: First words, first meals, first doctor’s appointments. However, there is one first that many parents put off for far too long and that is a first dental appointment.
There is a mistaken belief among some parents that dental and oral health is not important for babies and toddlers. Even if primary or baby teeth do fall out, it is critical to your child’s oral health and habits to start going to the dentist early. Preparing for the first visit and getting your infant’s dental health off to a strong start is critical for their health in the future.
The Benefits of Focusing on Early Dental Health
Dental health is a lifelong commitment and it starts with establishing habits and discipline when it comes to taking care of your teeth. The American Dental Association and The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry agree that your baby should see a pediatric dentist for the first time soon after their first tooth sprouts. This can be as early as six months but if not, then your baby should see the dentist around their first birthday.
There are a number of benefits to starting visits early for both you and your child:
- Reduce Anxiety About Dentists – Starting dental visits early allows your child to know that they are a simple part of life. This allows them to deal with it comfortably and not be anxious or scared about going to the dentist.
- Early Hygiene Habits – Making dental visits and oral care routine early in life helps kids establish things like brushing and flossing as necessary and easy routine steps.
- Catch Developmental Issues Early – Some problems babies might have can be caught easily and others are not as visible to the untrained eye. Going to a pediatric dentist early can help catch any potential issues before they grow into serious problems. This can help babies avoid periodontal issues or more serious oral health problems in the future.
What to Expect at Your First Dental Appointment
Pediatric dentists are specialists who are used to working on babies and children. Typically, dentists who treat kids will have offices and experiences that are smoother and more friendly for children. This can include toys, games and staff who are better with children and more experienced in this regard.
Starting around six months to a year old, soon after your child’s first tooth, you can schedule their first appointment at Hassey Dental. There are a few things you need to have to prepare.
- Insurance Information – Bring insurance cards and other information for you and your child.
- Prepare Paperwork – If you can prepare paperwork in advance, please do so online. Otherwise, many clinics will walk you through the intake paperwork.
Once this is all complete, your pediatric dental team will bring you and your child back to the office and go through the intake check up. This will include the following steps:
- Walk Through the Process – Many kids want to know what’s about to happen and what to expect. Your hygienist will walk you through the steps.
- Initial Evaluation – This includes a visual inspection of your child’s mouth and teeth, as well as any imaging necessary like X-Rays.
- Professional Cleaning – Your hygienist will clean your child’s teeth and gums as needed.
- Dental Consultation – Your pediatric dentist will walk through any potential problems as well as educating you and your child about how to take care of their teeth and gums.
Ultimately, starting down the path of oral care and health is important regardless of age. The best time to schedule your child’s first dental appointment is after they’ve had their first tooth. If they haven’t seen a dentist at all yet and they have teeth, schedule something sooner rather than later.
At Hassey Dental, our convenient online scheduler can help you and your family get into our office quickly, and efficiently. Our experienced staff will walk you and your children through everything they need on their journey to good oral health.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment or ask questions!