As soon as your child’s first tooth appears, schedule his/her first visit. Children should visit the dentist before their first birthday. Treat the first visit as your would a well-baby checkup with the child’s pediatrician. It’s best to meet the dentist when your child is having no dental problems – don’t wait until an emergency comes up.
Having a well-baby checkup at this age connects your child to a dental home. This is a “home base” for dental care, a place where you can take your child from year to year. This helps the dentist get to know your child’s and your family’s specific needs, so he or she can provide the best care.
During the first visit, your child’s dentist can do several things,
– Learn your child’s health history
– Give a complete oral exam to check growth and development, oral hygiene, injuries, cavities or other problems
– Tell you if your child is at risk of developing tooth decay
– Clean the teeth and provide tips for daily care
– Find out whether your child is getting enough fluoride to prevent cavities
– Review feeding practices that may lead to tooth decay
– Discuss teething, pacifier use, or finger/thumb sucking habits
– Talk with your about common dental injuries and what to do if one happens
– Discuss treatment if needed and schedule the next check-up