If you’re familiar with the Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) and the American Dental Association (ADA) guidelines for early dental care, you’re probably aware of the recommendation that children should see a dentist for a comprehensive oral evaluation at the age of 12 months (or within six months of the eruption of their first tooth). But what about their first dental cleaning? Like many things in life, and certainly many things in parenting, the answer is: it depends!
The First Dental Cleaning
When your child comes in for their first dental visit, our primary goals are to make sure they’re comfortable with us and to ensure that their teeth are erupting without any abnormalities. We want to make this initial visit to our office a positive experience for your little one and make sure you have time to meet us and have all of your questions answered.
Many young children do great but even children who are upset or afraid usually will come to see our office as a safe, comfortable place and they’ll allow us to perform a dental cleaning.
It is important for the parents and child to establish a dental home, a place you can come for routine care but also for questions and emergencies.
What Else Happens During a First Dental Visit
Because your child is likely just learning to speak at the time of their first checkup, this visit is just as much about you as it is about them. We’ll ask you about your child’s teeth, their diet, their medical history, and any oral habits they may have, like thumb sucking. Your child’s dentist will discuss age-appropriate oral hygiene habits with you, as well as provide education and answer any questions you may have concerning your child’s oral health. Your child will be given a toothbrush, floss, and fluoride toothpaste to help keep their teeth and gums healthy.
During a first appointment, your child’s dentist will check the teeth, jaw, and soft tissues to evaluate their health. Once this is done, we administer topical fluoride, which is an important mineral that keeps toddlers’ teeth free of decay.
Why Dental Care Matters in the First Year
In their toddler years, children’s teeth are more prone to cavities, which is why routine dental visits are critical. To prevent tooth decay and other oral health disorders, we can use painless, non-invasive procedures like sealants and supplemental fluoride treatments when necessary.
Your child is more likely to develop tooth decay, infection, dental emergencies, and early tooth loss if they do not receive preventative dental care. Children’s dental problems can be painful and embarrassing for them, and they may even have an impact on their overall health. Primary teeth aid in development by allowing children to communicate clearly and eat nutritious meals. They should get the same level of attention as adult teeth!
Schedule Your Child’s First Dental Visit
If it’s time for your child’s first dental visit, contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our dentists.